SDHS 2011 Proceedings

The 2011 SDHS conference, “Dance Dramaturgy: catalyst, perspective, + memory,” was held June 23–26, 2011, at York University and the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Each presenter at the conference was invited to contribute to the Proceedings. Those who chose to contribute did so by submitting pdf files, which are assembled here. There was minimal editorial intervention — little more than the addition of page numbers and headers. Authors undertook to adhere to a standard format for fonts, margins, titles, figures or illustrations, order of sections, and so on, but there may be minor differences in format from one paper to another.

Presenters’ affiliations and biographical information are shown as they appeared in the conference program book, which was compiled in June, 2011.

Individual authors hold the copyrights to their papers. The Society of Dance History Scholars is not legally responsible for any violation of copyright; authors are solely responsible.

Published by the Society of Dance History Scholars, 2011.

Note: access to pdfs is restricted to current members of SDHS. You must be logged in to the SDHS site to enable links to Proceedings pdfs.


Entire Proceedings: [PDF (17MB)]


Individual Papers in Proceedings:

Author and Title (Link to PDF shows approximate file size. Author’s name links to abstract and bio.)Page
Alterowitz, Gretchen Process, Bodies, and Contemporary Ballet [PDF (4.3MB)]1
Bauer, Bojana Enfolding of the Aesthetic Experience: Dramaturgical Practice in Contemporary Dance [PDF (181KB)]11
Brooks, Bonnie Dance Presenting as Dramaturgical Practice [PDF (115KB)]19
Farrugia, Kathrina Caravaggio, Creative Catalysts and Choreographic Dramaturgy: Reading Performativity, Theatricality and Narrativity in Mauro Bigonzetti’s Caravaggio (2008) [PDF (193KB)]25
Fitzsimmons Frey, Heather Why Are They Dancing? Dramaturgical Implications of Dance in TYA [PDF (230KB)]31
Goletti, Christina In the Garden of Eden, Dance Dramaturgy and the Dance Dramaturg Already Existed: A More Expansive History of the Role of Dramaturg and Dramaturgical Thinking in Dance [PDF (230KB)]39
Hamp, Amanda Score as Catalyst, Memory as Creative Act: Connecting the Work of Tatsumi Hijikata, Kazuo Ohno and Stephanie Skura [PDF (161KB)]45
Heisler, Wayne Dancing Richard Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) [PDF (2.0MB)]53
Kattner, Elizabeth Diaghilev: Ballet’s Great Dramaturge [PDF (503KB)]69
Kitahara, Mariko ‘Ballets Russes’ Works Created in Japan during the Prewar Period : A Historical Example of Dance Transmission [PDF (380KB)]77
Kolb, Alexandra Contemporary Dance and the Politics of Form [PDF (192KB)]85
Langley, Elizabeth The Role of the Dance Dramaturg: The Practical Necessities [PDF (96KB)]93
Lee, Jean Between Meaning and Significance, and Beyond [PDF (254KB)]99
Lenart, Camelia Martha Graham and Bethsabee de Rothschild — an Artistic Friendship in the Service of Modern Dance [PDF (287KB)]111
McMains, Juliet and Parfitt-Brown, Clare and Robinson, Danielle Current Problems and Methods in Dance Reconstruction: Focus on Cross-Cultural and Social Dance Reconstruction [PDF (2.1MB)]123
McNeilly, Jodie New Methods for a Digital Dramaturgy [PDF (242KB)]141
Mylona, Stefania Curating Dance: Dramaturgy as a Multiplicity of Perspectives [PDF (821KB)]157
Nakajima, Nanako Dance Dramaturgy as the Process of Learning: koosil-ja’s mech[a]OUTPUT [PDF (629KB)]167
Ochi, Yuma (Not) Dancing with Capitalism: A Study of Jérôme Bel’s The Show Must Go On [PDF (240KB)]175
Osweiler, Laura The Introduction of Middle Eastern Dance into the United States [PDF (874KB)]181
Pierce, Ken Using a Dance Historian’s Approach as a Guiding Concept in Stage Direction [PDF (136KB)]193
Preston, Sophia Music as Dramaturgy for Dance [PDF (264KB)]203
Roberts, Andrea Dancing Between The Lines: “Teaching” Interpretation In A Post-Secondary Setting [PDF (125KB)]211
Stjernholm, Johan Moving through the Virtual: A Dramaturgy of Choreographic Practice and Perception [PDF (471KB)]217
Stolar, Batia and Sacchetti, Clara Representations of Multicultural Dance in Photographic Images [PDF (2.8MB)]229
Trencsényi, Katalin When the Angels Danced with a Dramaturg: Two Case Studies from the Company of Angels, London [PDF (202KB)]241
Uytterhoeven, Lise Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Fractured Postcolonial Dramaturgy [PDF (224KB)]249
Winerock, Emily F. Staging Dance in English Renaissance Plays [PDF (410KB)]259
Wu, Yi-Chen The energetic lines in performance: the case of CHANCEFORMATION of life: wind, flowers, snow and moon [PDF (120KB)]267

Index by Session:

To place papers appearing in the Proceedings within the context of the conference as a whole, a complete list of sessions is shown below, followed by a detailed list showing papers in each session. Session titles provide links to the detailed listing.

  • Opening Plenary Panel: Dance Dramaturgical Paradigms — Odom, Klein, Bauer
  • Signature Panel: Cultural Adaption or Appropriation: The Role of the Dance Dramaturg in a Global Village — Pada, Badu-Younge, Zarif
  • Panel #1: Nationalism, Embodiment, and Legacy: Twentieth-Century Concert Dance in Mexico — Kosstrin, Reynoso, Sherman
  • Panel #2 (roundtable): Twentieth Century American Icons — Harris, Sparling
  • Panel #3 (roundtable): The Dramaturgy of the Research Interview: Oral Histories as Fragments — Doolittle, Flynn, Thompson
  • Panel #4: Postcolonial Issues — Jones, Dodds, Choi
  • PERsentation #1: Soundwalking Interactions: S. Lee, McCartney, Sinclair
  • Signature Panel: Dance Dramaturgy and the Historical Body: Reconstructing History Through Dance — Pierce, Daye, Tomko
  • Panel #5: Then, Now, and the Image — Rudakoff, Fitzsimmons Frey, Nixon
  • Panel #6: Dramaturgical Perspectives on Digital Media, Space, and Music in Dance — McNeilly, Vriend, S. Preston
  • Panel #7: Ethnic Dance and American Modern Dance in the US — Scolieri, Rossen, Kowal
  • PERsentation #2: In the Rock Garden — Maguire
  • Panel #9 (roundtable): Dramaturgy between the Disciplines: Art and Dance, 1890–1930 — Bellow, Andrew, Funkenstein
  • Panel #10: Transcultural Perspectives: Sexuality and Dance — Mehra, Avaunt, Sandlos
  • Panel #11 (roundtable): Dramaturgical Reports from the Field — DeFrantz, Profeta, Wilks
  • Panel #13: Dancing Communities: Perspectives — Meglin, Brodhead, Anderson, Stolar, Sacchetti
  • PERsentation #3: Improvisational Practices and Dramaturgical Strategies — Midgelow
  • Early Dance Workshop: — Daye
  • PERsentation #4: Skinner Releasing Technique™ (SRT), Session #1 — Sasso
  • Panel #14: Judson Church — Goldstein, Andrews, Wolf
  • Panel #15: American Icons II — Callahan, Lenart, Das
  • Panel #16: Economics — Cook, Bonin-Rodriguez, Ochi
  • Panel #17: Postcolonial Perspectives — Seetoo, Uytterhoeven, Morejón
  • Panel #18: Bringing Dance Dramaturgy to the Ballet — Farrugia, Fisher, Alterowitz
  • PERsentation #5: Locally Sourced Dances — S. Lee, Norman
  • Early Dance Workshop: — Pierce
  • Cultural Dance Workshop: — Pada, Zarif
  • Guest Panel: Artists from the National Ballet of Canada discuss the Company’s new Christopher Weldon Ballet: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • Panel #19 (roundtable): Current Problems and Methods in Dance Reconstruction: Focus on Cross-Cultural and Social Dance Reconstruction — Parfitt-Brown, Robinson, McMains
  • Panel #20: Perspectives — Chávez, Wu, Heisler
  • Panel #21: Shimmy, Sense, Study: Seeking Models for Embodied Scholarship and Pedagogy — Berson, Pullen, Simpson
  • Panel #22: History of Dance Dramaturgy in Ballet — Kattner, Schwartz-Bishir, Goletti
  • Panel #23: The Role of the Dance Dramaturg — Trencsényi, Gough
  • PERsentation #6: Healing Water: Dramaturgical Strategy in a Collaborative Process — Odhiambo, Maupin, Figueroa, Clayton, Smith, Stoner
  • Early Dance Workshop — Tomko
  • Panel #24: Archeology, Appropriation, Appreciation: Cooking the Archive — Clare, La Rue, Winerock
  • Panel #25: Methods of Generating Dramaturgy — Barr, Grace, Baldwin
  • Panel #26: Whiteness and Jazz — Templeton, Peters, Monroe
  • PERsentation #7: Ohno Stands: A Case Study in Auto-Ethnography and Research-Based Practice — Sakamoto
  • Keynote Address: The Role of the Dance Dramaturg: The Practical Necessities — Langley
  • Panel #27: Ballets Russes — Sabee, Bory, Kitahara
  • Panel #28: Philosophical Perspectives — Kolb, J. Lee
  • Panel #29: Dance Dramaturgy of Audience Perception and Reception — Nakajima, Brooks, Stjernholm
  • Guest Panel: Funding Dance in Canada: The Toronto Arts Council, the Canada Council, and the Ontario Arts Council
  • PERsentation #9: Skinner Releasing Technique™ (SRT), Session #2 — Sasso
  • Panel #30: Dance Dramaturgical Approaches: Interpretation, Digital Processing, and Curated Visualization — Roberts, Davidson, Mylona
  • Panel #31: Intercultural Dynamics — Meftahi, Osweiler, Witherspoon
  • Panel #32: Recovering Race in Choreographic Histories of Melodrama, Myth, and Plot — V. Preston, Scott, Witherspoon
  • Panel #33: Scripting Spectatorship/Community: Dramaturgy as Practice, Dramaturgy as Metaphor — Croft, Elswit
  • PERsentation #10: Paulette Brockington Session
  • Panel Discussion Following PERsentation #9 — Sasso
  • Panel #34: Sleeping Beauty and Scheherazade — Fleming, Ryman, O’Brien
  • Panel #35: Dance, War, and Identity — Larasati, Cavazzi, Chang
  • Panel #36: Dancing Nostalgia, Scores, and the Body — Chang, Tzu-Ting, Hamp
  • Panel #37: Restaging/Copyright — George, Hwang
  • Final Plenary Panel

Session Details:

THURSDAY, 23 JUNE, 2011 — 2:00 – 3:30 PM
THURSDAY, 23 JUNE, 2011 — 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
FRIDAY, 24 JUNE, 2011 — 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
FRIDAY, 24 JUNE, 2011 — 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
FRIDAY, 24 JUNE, 2011 — 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
FRIDAY, 24 JUNE, 2011 — 4:45 PM – 6:15 PM
SATURDAY, 25 JUNE, 2011 — 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
SATURDAY, 25 JUNE, 2011 — 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
SATURDAY, 25 JUNE, 2011 — 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
SATURDAY, 25 JUNE, 2011 — 4:45 PM – 6:15 PM
SATURDAY, 25 JUNE, 2011 — 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
SUNDAY, 26 JUNE, 2011 — 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
SUNDAY, 24 JUNE, 2011 — 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Alphabetical Listing of Conference Presenters, with Abstracts and Biographies

Abstracts and biographies for all conference presenters are shown below, in order of presenters’ last names. Individual presenters hold the copyrights to their abstracts and bios. Links are provided for papers appearing in the Proceedings.

Jump to presenter: Alterowitz Anderson Andrew Andrews Avaunt Badu-Younge Baldwin Barr Bauer Bellow Berson Bonin‑Rodriguez Bory Brodhead Brooks Callahan Cavazzi Chang Chang Chávez Choi Clare Clayton Cook Croft Das Davidson Daye DeFrantz Dodds Doolittle Elswit Farrugia Figueroa Fisher Fitzsimmons Frey Fleming Flynn Funkenstein George Goldstein Goletti Gough Grace Hamp Harris Heisler Hwang Jones Kattner Kitahara Klein Kolb Kosstrin Kowal La Rue Langley Larasati Lee, J. Lee, S. Lenart Maguire Maupin McCartney McMains McNeilly Meftahi Meglin Mehra Midgelow Monroe Morejón Mylona Nakajima Nixon Norman O’Brien Ochi Odhiambo Odom Osweiler Pada Parfitt‑Brown Peters Pierce Preston, S. Preston, V. Profeta Pullen Roberts Robinson Rossen Rudakoff Ryman Sabee Sacchetti Sakamoto Sandlos Sasso Schwadron Schwartz‑Bishir Scolieri Scott Seetoo Sherman Simpson Sinclair Smith Sparling Stjernholm Stolar Stoner Templeton Thompson Tomko Trencsényi Tzu‑Ting Uytterhoeven Vriend Wilks Winerock Witherspoon Wolf Wu Zarif

Alterowitz, Gretchen
(UNC Charlotte)
Process, Bodies, and Contemporary Ballet
Deborah Lohse, artistic director of ad hoc ballet, creates contemporary ballets using theater, performance art, and film. This paper concentrates on Lohse’s choreographic process and the relationship between the performing ballet body and the ballet body as a choreographic tool. I query the contradictions that might arise as Lohse challenges ballet’s past while endeavoring to maintain aspects of the form that establish its look. Using interviews and rehearsal and performance observations, I investigate how such conflicts feed her work, and how they are potential catalysts for contemporary ballet choreography that eschews the proscenium in favor of informal performance spaces and film.
Gretchen Alterowitz is Assistant Professor of Dance at UNC Charlotte, where she teaches ballet, pointe, and dance history. Her contemporary ballet choreography has recently been presented by the eleventh annual Women on the Way Festival in San Francisco, the Emerging Choreographers Showcase in Monterey, and the North Carolina Dance Festival. Alterowitz’s research interests lie in the performance of identity, the relationship between performer and spectator, and the connections between identity and choreographic practice.
Anderson, Mary Elizabeth
(Wayne State University)
Choreographed Spontaneity: The Flash Mob’s Hypothetical Mobilities
As the flash mob’s function has migrated from the DIY reclamation and renegotiation of public space towards an explicit product- and marketing-orientation, commercial event producers have endeavored to create within their spectacles an “as if” effect of hypothetical mobility. Using evidence from cognitive science to analyze the popular interpretation and valuing of these events, I illustrate the way in which a fundamental cognitive function within visual and auditory reception partially accounts for the perception of mobility in these performances.
Mary Elizabeth Anderson is Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit. Her writing has been published in About Performance, Australasian Drama Studies, and African Theatre: Diasporas. With Dr. Doug Risner, she is currently working on an international study of teaching artists in dance and theatre, entitled Transforming Urban Centers through Community-Based Performing Arts: A Qualitative Study of Teaching Artists in Dance & Theatre.
Andrew, Nell
(University of Georgia)
Embodying the Absurd: Sophie Taeuber and Zurich Dada
Dada was launched in 1916 neutral Switzerland with Cabaret Voltaire, Galerie Dada, and the journal, DADA. Among its members was artist Sophie Taeuber, whose Laban-informed dance played a role in each of these now-mythic venues. In despair and outrage, the Zurich artists sought the possibility of expression after the inhumanity of WWI. I argue that Taeuber, neutered under absurd and clumsy costumes by Hans Arp, articulated most viscerally the tragic-comic sentiment particular to wartime Dada by divesting the body of the institutional and moral controls of language, gender, gesture, and pleasure that led a passive world into total war.
Nell Andrew is Assistant Professor of Modern Art at the University of Georgia. Her research highlights the intersection of avant-garde dance, early cinema, and the development of abstract painting in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe. Publications can be found in Art Journal (Summer 2009) and in the forthcoming anthology, Museum Without Walls: Film, Art, New Media (Palgrave, 2011). She is currently at work on a book manuscript on dance, film, and the origins of modern art.
Andrews, P. Megan
(York University)
Theorizing the Somato-Sensory Performance State through Deborah Hay’s At Once
Space, time, imagination, memory . . .  From recent writings I completed during the four-month practice and performance of Deborah Hay’s solo At Once, which I learned during her Solo Performance Commissioning Project in August 2009, I present a preliminary theorization of the somato-sensory state that I aim to experience in Hay’s work. I have been working through a methodological process of moving and writing, which I provisionally describe as “auto-ethno-phenomenology.” This approach is supported by my background in Laban Movement Analysis, and draws on phenomenological description. Philosopher Luce Irigaray’s writing about language, relationality, and embodied presence seeds my discussion.
P. Megan Andrews is a dance artist, teacher, and freelance writer/editor originally from Vancouver. She has been Publisher and Founding Editor of the Canadian dance magazine The Dance Current since 1998. Megan has taught studio and seminar courses in dance at York University and has written for many publications. Her solo performance work derives from improvisation-based practice. She is a Certified Laban Movement Analyst and a PhD candidate (ABD) in Communication and Culture at York University.
Avaunt, Casey
(Taipei National University of the Arts)
Embodying the Spirits: The Function of the Body in Sang Hyang Dedari
During sacred Balinese performance rituals, visible and invisible worlds interact within the body. Commonly known as the “little girl trance dance,” Sang Hyang Dedari is a lucid example of the function of the body in trance-possession occasions. While Western constructions of the embodied self are highly individualized, Balinese concepts inherently allow for the possibility of multiple identity structures thus creating openness for the body to be inhabited through possession. In this paper, I investigate the function of the body and movement and the boundaries between the Balinese embodied self and external influences during the Sang Hyang Dedari ritual.
Casey Avaunt is an American dancer, choreographer, and dance researcher. She graduated from Colorado College in 2005 with a BA in drama/dance. The same year, Casey received funding from the Chin-Lin Foundation for Culture and Arts to research meditation, dance, and philosophy in Taiwan. For the past five years she has been collaborating and touring internationally with Taiwanese 8213 Physical Dance Theater while receiving her MFA in choreography from Taipei National University of the Arts.
Badu-Younge, Zelma
(Ohio University)
Cultural Appropriation, Cultural Sharing, and Ownership Through the Eyes of a Contemporary African Dancer-Choreographer in North America
Dance is a medium through which Africans articulate and interpret their philosophies of life. It is a manifestation of socio-cultural experiences shown through artistic representative movements, which are enriched by complex music systems including, but not limited to, intricate polyrhythmic textures and tonalities and other cognate art forms such as drama and visual arts. When African dance forms are removed from their traditional contexts and transplanted to new environments by dancers/choreographers of African decent, should the process be considered cultural appropriation? Can a dancer/choreographer of African descent, who is born, raised, and trained in western (American dance aesthetics) learn, borrow, or take from indigenous African dance cultural practices, including those of her own heritage, be labeled as a cultural appropriator? Or should the dance artist claim full ownership of her/his said culture as it informs her work? This paper discusses the dilemma faced by dancers and choreographers of African descent who are frequently called to address issues of cultural appropriation, cultural sharing, and ownership of their works.
Zelma Badu-Younge, Associate Professor of Dance at Ohio University, is a recipient of the Ohio Arts Council Individual Creativity Excellence Award Grant for choreography, and NAACP Image Award for Excellence in Faculty Academics and Research. A scholar, professional dance artist and teacher, Dr. Badu-Younge has sat on committees for the Congress on Research in Dance, the American Society for Theatre Research, and the Canada Council for the Arts. She has been invited as a guest speaker for Princeton University’s third Annual International Symposium on the Music of Africa, has served as Canadian Heritage’s Artistic Assessor for the National Arts Training Contribution Program, and is a member of the Ohio Dance Board of Trustees and the Ohio Department of Education’s Committee for Arts and Innovative Thinking. Zelma has instructed, lectured, performed, given workshops or choreographed throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Italy, Germany, and Ghana.
Baldwin, Neil
(Montclair State University)
The Dancer as Spectator: Practice and Theory in “Danceaturgy”
During the past three years, I have worked with “danceaturgs” drawn from the ranks of BFA dancers to help them cultivate reflective observational writing techniques. In so doing, I have discovered that their writing has been most effective when they have been encouraged to become complicit spectators. In this talk, I reference student danceaturgs’ insightful essays about their repertory, and their responses to my follow-up prompts. I then apply scholarly theories of dynamic observation and evaluative inquiry. I am most inspired by the sensibility of Laurence Louppe in this regard; her vision of dance as a “field of action” resonates with my expertise in modernist poetry and reader-response criticism. There is a vibrant connection to be explored between the “poetics of space” and the bodily (and written) vocabulary of dancers.
Neil Baldwin, PhD, author and cultural historian, has published many works of nonfiction and biography over the course of his career. As Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Montclair State University, he has created a new course, Introduction to Dramaturgy: The Questioning Spirit, and a new critical discipline he calls “Danceaturgy,” through which — in collaboration with Dance Division faculty and BFA students — he explores the arc of the annual repertory, and shares his curatorial expertise as “Talk Back” moderator. He is Founding Director of the virtual Creative Research Center (www.montclair.edu/creativeresearch).
Barr, Sherrie
(Michigan State University)
Community Dance—The Dramaturgy Within
As notions of collaboration begin to permeate contemporary dance, hierarchical roles played by choreographers and dancers have become increasingly blurred. Dancers have, in many ways, become co-choreographers. This is most directly the case in community-based projects involving non-dancers of a variety of ages, from whose lived experience the creation of movement is motivated. By examining such projects, in particular “ . . .  we wore our Sunday best . . . ,” the ways in which dramaturgical practices can be utilized as tools of engagement can also be examined. Elders become participating witnesses, engaging in dance making.
Sherrie Barr, MFA, CMA, is Associate Professor and Director of Dance in the Department of Theatre at Michigan State University. She has also taught at American University, University of Oregon, and Potsdam State College. In 1999, she was the recipient of a Fulbright Lecturing Award at The Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal. MSU recently awarded her the “Emerging Progress Toward Excellence in Diversity Award.” Her scholarship focuses on the juncture of pedagogy and contemporary choreography.
Bauer, Bojana
(FCT-Mctes, Portugal / Université Paris 8, France)
Enfolding of the Aesthetic Experience: Dramaturgical Practice in Contemporary Dance
One of the main tasks of the production dramaturg is to give “feedback”: to describe, comment, and interpret. The words that the dramaturg offers after seeing dance “material”—gestures, movements, actions —form a re-flexion, as the dramaturg both gives back and flexes the proposed dance material. In my analysis of different modes of dramaturgical feedback, I examine the perceptive and emotional attitudes of the dramaturg in relation to language and the knowledge apparatus that she brings to the work. In so doing, I question the idea of the “mute utterance,” i.e. the aesthetic experience as inherent to the choreographic process, and examine the consequences of this enfolding.
Bojana Bauer, born in Belgrade, is a dance theorist and dramaturge based in Paris, and currently a PhD candidate at EDESTA-Paris 8 University. She lectures in institutions such as the National Academy of the Arts-Bergen and DasArts-Amsterdam. As a dramaturg, she collaborates with choreographers and performance artists Latifa Laâbissi, Mário Afonso, Vera Mantero, and Pedro Gomez-Egaña, amongst others. Her writings have been published in Repères, Mouvement.net (France), Performance Research (UK), The Walking Theory, and Scena (Serbia).
Bellow, Juliet
(American University)
Auguste Rodin and Loïe Fuller: Bodies in the Space between Sculpture and Dance
This paper investigates the complex interchange between the sculptor Auguste Rodin and the choreographer/performer Loïe Fuller. During the years of their acquaintance, each artist drew on, and reframed, aspects of the other’s work in ways that radically shifted traditional practices in the domains of visual art and dance. For Rodin, the desire to embed movement within a sculptural object—a desire inspired by Fuller’s work—forced him to confront the limits of his medium. Conversely, Rodin’s experimentation with bodily fragments led Fuller to imagine a dance without the coherent, whole body at its core.
Juliet Bellow is Assistant Professor of Art History at American University. Her scholarly research, which focuses on the relationship between art and dance in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, has been published in Art Journal, Dance Research Journal, and the Cambridge Companion to Ballet. Her book Modernism on Stage: The Ballets Russes and the Parisian Avant-Garde, 1917–1929, will be published by Ashgate Press in 2012.
Berson, Jessica
(Harvard University)
Live Nude Girls: Kinesthesia as Autobiography
While still suspect in some disciplines, autoethnography has recently gained currency as a valuable methodology in sociology and performance studies. As an alternative to more traditional modes of inquiry, autoethnography can offer a grounded perspective that reveals new understandings of complex theoretical concerns. However, this methodology becomes more problematic when the researcher’s “lived experience” is necessarily embodied: what is the relationship between individual kinesthetic sensation and ethnographic reportage? This paper addresses my own use of kinesthetic experience as an essential aspect of autoethnographic methodology in my research on striptease performance and the integration of “insider” and “outsider” information.
Jessica Berson is Acting Director of Dance at Harvard University, where she is also a Lecturer in Dramatic Arts, teaching courses in Dance and Performance Studies. Her book project, The Naked Result: How Corporations Stripped Exotic Dance, forthcoming from Oxford University Press, examines the recent trend of corporatization and mainstreaming of striptease performance and the concomitant degradation of striptease’s potential for generating modes of female erotic subjectivity. Jessica’s work on community dance and popular performance has appeared in TDR, Staging Age, Bodies in Commotion: Disability and Performance, and The Community Performance Reader.
Bonin-Rodriguez, Paul
(University of Texas at Austin)
The Breadth of a Creation: Dance Commissions and the National Performance Network
To what end do the guidelines articulated in a commissioning contract influence a choreographer’s ambitions, the new work’s dramaturgy, and the production team’s make-up? How do these guidelines negotiate emerging and mid-career artists and recession-era performance spaces? Drawn from arts policy studies, program instructions, and interviews with dance artists Lin Hixon and Matthew Goulish, Charles Anderson, and Dayna Hansen, as well as commissioners MCA (Chicago), On the Boards (Seattle), and The Painted Bride (Philadelphia), this paper examines how a grant introduced in 2010 by the National Performance Network posits dance commissioning as a process of deepening dramaturgical investments.
Paul Bonin-Rodriguez, formerly a dancer and writer-performer, is now Assistant Professor in the Performance as Public Practice Program at the University of Texas at Austin. His research examines grassroots cultural policies, namely the ways in which artists, organizers, and communities working together create cultural opportunities. He is currently working on a book, Re-making the Artist: Artist-Producers in US Cultural Policy and Practice, which examines the effects of recent arts initiatives on artist identity and practice.
Bory, Alison
(Davidson College / Queens University of Charlotte)
Conjuring the Faun: Representing, Revising and Re-Imagining Nijinsky in the Autobiographical Works of Mark Dendy and Jennifer Lacey
In this paper, I explore the nuances and resonances of the references to Vaslav Nijinsky present in Mark Dendy’s semi-autobiographical Dream Analysis (1997) and Jennifer Lacey’s reflective Two Discussions of an Anterior Event (2001). Through a close reading of the choreographies, I suggest that, in each work, the conjuring of Nijinsky’s image serves as a powerful invocation, informing the choreographers’ own physical representations, revising their own modern dance histories and re-imagining their own articulations of identity.
Alison Bory is Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance, with a joint appointment at Davidson College and Queens University of Charlotte. Both her choreographic and academic research investigates the possibilities and complexities of contemporary autobiographical dance performance forms. She holds an MA from the University of Surrey, and an MFA and PhD from the University of California, Riverside.
Brodhead, Richard C.
(Temple University)
Crystallina, or Ballet as an Expression of the Ethos of a Community
In spring 2011, Crystallina, A Modern Dance Ballet premiered as part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. Commissioned by Temple University in honor of its 125th anniversary, Crystallina was created through the collaboration of over 100 faculty and student artists from dance, music, and visual arts. From the perspective of librettist/dramaturg (Meglin) and composer (Brodhead), this presentation explores the freedoms and limits of the dialogical process of collaboration across mediums, focusing on the “not-me” as a creative stimulus and the translational tasks between musical and kinetic-kinesthetic understanding among participants.
Richard C. Brodhead’s music has been praised as “wondrously sculpted and paced” (Philadelphia Inquirer), and “an extended moment of intense contemplation, where meditative calm and emotional anguish merge” (CRI Records). His compositions include works for symphony orchestra, dance, voice, and a wide variety of solo instruments and chamber ensembles. Brodhead is Associate Professor of Music Studies, Director of Graduate Studies, and Director of the New School Institute at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance.
Brooks, Bonnie
(The Dance Center of Columbia College, Chicago)
Dance Presenting as Dramaturgical Practice
Dance presenting can be, in itself, an act of social dramaturgy. By curating a season of dance and performance works for spectatorship and public consumption, the dance presenter undertakes the assemblage of a series of events designed to invite and provoke meaning, stir discourse, and enrich the spectator’s experience. The crossroads of artist-presenter engagement necessitates shared power and complex negotiation. This paper attempts to track, through case study, these relationships, and in the process examine the political and fluid nature of passivity and action in their attempts to animate community.
Bonnie Brooks recently completed twelve years as Chair of the Dance Department at Columbia College Chicago, where she continues as a tenured associate professor. Her work there includes co-curation of their nationally recognized dance presenting series. She was Visiting Assistant Professor in the World Arts & Cultures Department at UCLA (1996–99), and has held several administrative jobs in the dance field, including eight years as Executive Director of Dance/USA.
Callahan, Daniel
(Columbia University)
Absolutely Unmanly: The Music Visualizations of Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers
This examination of the music visualizations of Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers (1933–40), including silent film that I have newly synchronized with its score, reveals that Shawn defined “music visualization” rather broadly and, furthermore, that the group’s choreographies did not always involve hypermasculine posturing. Visualizing “absolute music” (the autonomous play of pure sonic form) provided critics neither “absolute dance” nor a major stylistic development. It did, I propose, legitimate performances of an unconventional masculinity that Shawn, closeted and conservative, otherwise suppressed both onstage and off.
Daniel Callahan is currently writing his dissertation, “The Dancer from the Music: Men, Modern Dance, and Choreomusicalities on the US Stage, 1910–2010,” at Columbia University’s Department of Music. He has presented papers at SDHS and American Musicological Society national meetings, and provided choreomusical assistance for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s 2008 revival of Second Hand.
Cavazzi, Deidre Marissa
(Saddleback College)
A New Home for Displaced Artists: Cabaret, Colonies, and Controversy on Swiss Stages during WWI and WWII
This paper discusses three influential arts movements within Switzerland in the first half of the twentieth century, all involving and heavily impacted by artists from other European nations: the Ascona artists’ colony Monte Verita, whose influential participants included Rudolf von Laban, Mary Wigman, and Oskar Schlemmer; the creation of Dadaism at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich in 1916, a revolt against traditionalism and formalism in art, and an avant-garde movement that embraced both the absurd and the relevant; and the Cabaret Cornichon, which was founded in Bern in 1934 and toured throughout the German-speaking region of Switzerland performing political satires.
Deidre Cavazzi received her MFA in dance from the University of California, Irvine, and teaches dance history and technique classes at several colleges throughout southern California. She is the artistic director and choreographer for ArchiTexture Dance Company, a site-specific and multi-media contemporary performance company based in Orange County. Deidre is also currently the co-chair of the Dance and Culture Area of the National Popular Culture Association, and is co-editing an anthology on science fiction and the body.
Chang, Eury
(Creative Dominion Society)
Asian Canadian Dance: Re-Constructing Cultural Identity On Stage
The dancer’s body is a site of cultural negotiation: a site fixed by a relatively stable, exterior skin, but which also expresses itself via transformation and physical change. Beginning with the premise that dance is a performer-centric, artistic form that allows artists to shift and challenge reference points for cultural identity, the presentation will address the transformative possibilities of theatrical dance: How is cultural identity formed in the performing body? What are the defining features of being a European/Asian, male/female, or eastern/western dancer? Which choreographic techniques and processes are being used by “diverse dance” artists and dramaturgs to either affirm, re-construct and/or challenge static notions of cultural identity and binary labelling?
Eury Chang is a contemporary theatre director and dramaturge based in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is Artistic Director of Creative Dominion (www.creativedominion.ca), a non-profit society which provides dramaturgy and direction to contemporary theatre, dance, and the performing arts. He is also the editor of Dance Central, a publication for BC’s professional dance community. Eury speaks regularly on topics related to global trends in arts and culture, creative process, and new performance creation.
Chang, Szu-Ching
(University of California, Riverside)
Nostalgia of The Body: Lee Chen Lin’s Choreography of Jiao (The Mirror of Life) and Its Double
This paper investigates how Taiwanese choreographer Lee-Chen Lin transforms both the local ritual and the dancing body in her dance theater work, Jiao (The Mirrors of Life). Situating Lin’s work in the debate between tradition and modernity, I explore how the Taiwanese body is choreographed in the sense of dual time(s) that integrate Taoist time in parallel with the time of modern theater. Drawing on scholarly discussions of nostalgia and modernity, I argue that Lin’s longing for a different body moves her choreographing of selective past(s), while offering alternative imaginations of the present and future.
Szu-Ching Chang is a PhD candidate in critical dance studies at the University of California, Riverside. Her research examines Taiwanese female choreographers’ incorporations of ritual and traditional materials and investigates issues of dancing and gender, cultural memory, nationalism, and global/local configurations. Chang holds an MA in performance studies from National Taiwan University of Arts. She has received a government scholarship of Taiwan, UCR Gluck Fellowships, and several research grants and awards.
Chávez, Brittany D.
(San José University)
Somatic Approaches to Performance Art: Performing Birth Across Borders
I explore how the creation of performance art work is imbued with the somatics of movement, which come from a dance background. I consider how dance can have a powerful presence in performance art through creating works grounded in movement and the body. An oral history performance art project, my work addresses undocumented Latina immigration through the eyes of women who migrated during pregnancy. I retell their stories through this piece, using my body as the glue that pieces together constituent elements of the women’s tales to create a powerful performative exploration of the immigration debate. This process, layered with installations, texts, and other elements, allows dance to become an integral component of performance art.
Brittany Chávez is just completing her MA in theatre arts/performance studies at San José State University. Her research and performance work focuses on issues of undocumented Latina migration through the lens of Chicana feminism and performance.
Choi, Won Sun
(University of California, Riverside / Korea National University of Arts)
Behind the Dance Scene: Korean Dance Theatre in the Early Twentieth Century
This paper will explore a particular structure, feature, and identity of Korean dance theatre through examining the dance life and work of Taek-won Cho, the father of Korean dance theatre (Muyong-geuk). Since the early twentieth century, Korean dance theatre has been developed along with the rush of foreign cultural influences from Japan and the West. It is in this sense that I discuss the socio-political power relationships between Korean dance theatre and Japanese and Western cultural imperialism, and their implications within Korean cultural contexts.
Won Sun Choi is a research fellow in the Body, Performance, and Dance Research Platform at University of California, Riverside. She currently teaches at Korea National University of Arts, Sejong University, and Hanyang University in Korea. She received her PhD in dance from University of California, Riverside, and is a CLMA (Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst). She also is the founder and artistic director of Born Dance Company, a Los Angeles-based contemporary fusion Korean dance group.
Clare, Carolyne
(University of Toronto)
An Economy of Dance Artifacts
The Canadian Indian Act of 1867 profoundly changed Kwakwaka’wakw communities, in part through inscribing potlatch objects with different political and economic value. Using Michel Foucault’s notion of disciplinary power and biopower, I trace how potlatch objects were incorporated into a colonialist economy, and how this violation of potlatch objects influenced Kwakwaka’wakw individuals. Furthermore, I study Kwakwaka’wakw writings about repatriation of potlatch objects by the U’Mista Cultural Society, to consider how dance objects currently animate this community. Brian Massumi and Elizabeth Grosz’s writings further help to clarify how dance objects activate decolonialization.
Carolyne Clare is currently a Metcalf Foundation intern with Dance Collection Danse. She recently completed a Master’s in museum studies with the University of Toronto. She has enjoyed summers cataloguing dance artifacts at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts. Her experience performing amongst the Banff Centre’s mountains and Bread and Puppet’s forests grounds her continued dedication to the performing arts.
Clayton, Eryka
(Dancer)
PERsentation #6 Healing Water: Dramaturgical Strategy in a Collaborative Process
This PERsentation involves the audience in analyzing a twenty-minute section of a dance about healing the LA River before participating in a dramaturgy workshop. The metaphor of the LA River and the healing properties of water each became a particular focus for creating dance movement. The dancers were challenged to conceptualize the LA River as a conduit of culture and connectivity. Its shoreline provides a potential gathering place, and water that runs through it is likewise a means of connecting different parts of the city. As the curator/choreographer slowly introduced and incorporated photographs and video of underwater life, found objects, and indigenous perspectives, musician Bennie Maupin rehearsed with and became inspired by the dancers, the choreography, and by our company members’ personal/cultural healing processes, many of which mirror water’s most adaptive properties. As the movement grew, the dancers respectfully listened to local, global, and indigenous perspectives on water, considering what lies both spatially and temporally downstream.
The dramaturgical strategy is connected to the movement/music creation process. After the performance, audience members are invited to participate as collaborators, and to contribute cultural perspectives that shape how people view and interact with water, be it as a commodity, a resource, a form of spiritual embodiment, a reminder of how all life on the planet is interrelated, and more. Some objects and stories from the LA River inform this dance “event,” but we also believe the piece adapts to each new environment. Together, we will explore the roles of culture and poetics in supporting a water-based ecology, using techniques honed in the choreography process to conceptualize a sensory experience of water’s potential.
Eryka Clayton grew up in New York, where her mother started her in dance classes at the age of two. By the age of eight, she was accepted into the prestigious Fedicheva Ballet under the direction of Kaleria Fedicheva, former Kirov Ballerina and partner to Rudolf Nureyev. It was there that she first danced her favorite role, Giselle. Fedicheva passed away in 1994, but Clayton continued to train in the Vaganova method. However, she simultaneously expanded her training to include R.A.D. and Cecchetti methods. Ms. Clayton attended the Cultural Arts Center in N.Y. for high school, working with many of the world’s most esteemed choreographers. When she was fifteen, the door opened for her to dance with Alvin Ailey’s Junior Repertory. After attending New World School of the Arts, Clayton moved to Los Angeles where she was asked to give master classes and choreograph. Since then, Clayton has been training ballet students in the Los Angeles area and guiding them to professional careers while working as a soloist with Asava Dance and getting her degree in dance at CSULA.
Cook, Susan C.
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Good Taste and Beauty: Shaping and Marketing Dance Practices Over Time
Founded in 1880, the Kehl School of Dance remains an active presence in its medium-sized, University town, located in the upper Midwestern United States. Through access to business papers and other primary materials, this "locality study" examines the changing roles of the school and its instructors as the curators and dramaturgs of local practices. While reflecting their Germanic heritage, the Kehls partook in national debates regarding professionalism and the contested place of “popular” dances, so often decried by credentialing bodies as lacking in refinement. This paper reveals the push and pull of individual consumers and local markets within larger structures of value.
Susan C. Cook is a musicologist on the faculty of the UW-Madison School of Music and also serves as Associate Dean for the Arts and Humanities in the Graduate School. A recipient of the Lippincott Prize for her essay “Watching Our Step: Embodying Research, Telling Stories,” she is currently working on a collection of essays on popular music and dance with Sherril Dodds, and is continuing her work on ragtime dance and culture.
Croft, Clare
(University of Michigan)
Moving From Form to Narrative, Exportation to Diaspora: "America" in Recent US State Department Dance Tours
In 2010, the Urban Bush Women sought to create an evening of, in their words, “uniquely American stories” for DanceMotion USA, a US State Department-sponsored tour, which reincarnated twentieth century dance-as-cultural-diplomacy initiatives. In this paper, I argue that the performance of “Walking with Pearl . . . Africa Diaries” instead of the originally programmed “Walking with Pearl . . . Southern Diaries”—a shift from a piece focused on Pearl Primus’s work in the American South to a piece about Primus’s work on the African continent—usefully illuminates a move away from identifying American forms toward identifying American stories as central to cultural diplomacy.
Clare Croft is a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Michigan and Assistant Professor of Dance. Clare is at work on a book project on US State Department-sponsored international dance tours as a form of cultural diplomacy. Clare’s writing on dance has appeared in Theatre Journal, Theatre Topics, and a variety of newspapers and magazines. Clare holds a PhD from the University of Texas-Austin.
Das, Joanna Dee
(Columbia University)
Preserving a Legacy of Activism: Katherine Dunham’s Performing Arts Training Center in East St. Louis
In 1967, choreographer Katherine Dunham opened the Performing Arts Training Center (P.A.T.C.), a large-scale experiment to produce social change through arts education in East St. Louis. This paper examines that experiment and argues that Dunham saw her artistic and intellectual ideas through to their furthest extension at the P.A.T.C. While transnational history has become popular in the past two decades, this paper reminds us to appreciate the local. In the case of Katherine Dunham, rootedness in the local community of East St. Louis allowed her to have the greatest influence and preserve her legacy as a socially conscious artist
Joanna Dee Das is a PhD Candidate in History at Columbia University. She received her MA in American studies from NYU in 2008 and her MPhil from Columbia in 2011. She has presented her work on the Argentine Tango and Katherine Dunham at several conferences and in public lectures, and is interested more broadly in the relationship between arts and politics in the twentieth century.
Davidson, Andrea
(University of Chichester, UK)
Digital Memory and Dance Dramaturgy
New configurations of choreographic practice that rely on digital processing for their conception, fabrication, and presentation are opening previously uncharted possibilities for dance dramaturgy and the reception of works. This paper focuses on the potentialities that digital memory as code (writing), flux (communication), and stockage (database), has in terms of enunciation, narrative, process, structure, and meaning. In considering a broad spectrum of interfaces as new viewing/sensing devices, the paper demonstrates that form, content, and meaning are not only intimately linked in these new choreographic expressions, but also that perspective itself is evolving as a new form of dramaturgy.
Andrea Davidson specializes in videodance and digital choreographic practices and is the author of the book Bains Numériques #1: Danse et nouvelles technologies and numerous articles on the subject of dance and new media. An award-winning choreographer-videographer and multimedia artist, her works have been recognized internationally in festivals, exhibitions, and art institutions, notably winning the UNESCO Grand Prix International Videodanse, the Prix Beaumarchais de l’Écriture Multimédia, and special mention at the Festival Napolidanza Il Coreografo Elettronico.
Daye, Anne
(Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, UK)
‘No Tongue, All Eyes, Be Silent’: Dance And Plot In Shakespeare’s Plays
Shakespeare’s The Tempest indicates a new place for dancing within a drama that had previously privileged words over spectacle. The different roles of social dance forms, vernacular forms such as morris and jig, and the new character dances of the Jacobean masque can be deduced from the play texts. This will raise questions about the role of dance within the dramaturgy: was dance intrinsic to the plot, or was it an interpolation? This paper also discusses the evidence in the music and text of the masques supporting the reconstruction of antimasque dances, which were then recycled into Shakespeare’s plays.
Anne Daye’s engagement with sixteenth- and seventeenth-century dance has spanned thirty years of teaching, reconstructing, researching, and writing, ultimately leading to a doctoral thesis on the Stuart masque in 2008. Currently she teaches twentieth-century dance history on the graduate and undergraduate programmes at Laban, and supports the reconstructions of key works of modern dance with contextual studies. She is Chairperson of the Dolmetsch Historical Dance Society, encouraging knowledge of fifteenth to nineteenth-century dance.
DeFrantz, Thomas F.
(Duke University)
(roundtable) Dramaturgical Reports from the Field
In this roundtable discussion, Thomas DeFrantz, Katherine Profeta, and Talvin Wilks examine the evolution, labor, questions, and discoveries of their longstanding collaborations with three visionary contemporary choreographers: Donald Byrd, Ralph Lemon, and Bebe Miller, all of whom have traveled extensively through the landscape of post-modernism, race, culture, and aesthetics. Taking into account their dual roles as collaborators in the rehearsal room and subsequent historians of process and practice, the roundtable participants consider how the dramaturgical process resonates with the choreographer’s expectations and the audience’s experience, as well as where else the resonance may lie when the dramaturgical investigation goes afield. Their discussion exposes moments of difficulty and unexpected communication, and in so doing, helps to sketch the limits and potential of the dramaturgical craft. Works to be discussed include The Sleeping Beauty Notebook (Donald Byrd, choreographer; premiere DTW 2005); Come Home Charley Patton (Ralph Lemon, choreographer; premiere Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 2004) and How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere? (Ralph Lemon, choreographer; premiere Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 2010); Verge (Bebe Miller, choreographer; premiere, 651Arts/BAM Harvey Theatre, 2001) and Landing/Place (Bebe Miller, choreographer; premiere, Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 2005).
Thomas F. DeFrantz is a Hoosier-born Professor of Dance and African American Studies at Duke University. His publications include Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance and Dancing Revelations Alvin Ailey’s Embodiment of African American Culture. His creative work includes Queer Theory! An Academic Travesty and Monk’s Mood: A Performance Meditation on the Life and Music of Thelonious Monk. He is the President-Elect of the Society of Dance History Scholars.
Dodds, Sherril
(University of Surrey)
‘There’s a Land That I’ve Dreamed About’: Envisioning Value at Sunday Serenade
The subject of this paper is Sunday Serenade, a British Caribbean dance club for the over-40s, located in Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre in Brentfield, North West London. In light of their multiple references to the ‘Jamaican homeland,’ the dancing bodies that congregate there are often read through a lens of national essentialism. In actuality, the club reveals the transnational production of this dancing community through its music and dance choices. I specifically set out to explore how the concept of value is mobilized at Sunday Serenade through critical race theory and diaspora studies of Bhabha (1990), Gilroy (1993), and MacMillan (2009).
Sherril Dodds is Head of the Department of Dance, Film, and Theatre at the University of Surrey and Director of Postgraduate Research. Her research centers on dance on screen and popular dance, and her new monograph Dancing on the Canon: Embodiments of Value in Popular Dance (Palgrave) is due out in June 2011. In collaboration with Professor Susan Cook, she is co-editing an anthology entitled Popular Dance and Music Matters.
Doolittle, Lisa
(University of Lethbridge)
The Problem of Long Arms and Short Sleeves: Dancing and Talking with Japanese Canadian Women
This roundtable is an opportunity for those dance researchers who conduct interviews and collect oral histories as part of their research methodology to discuss issues encountered in the process of engaging with a research subject. The convenors briefly discuss their own work, approaching the research interview through the lens of performance, and exploring the metaphor of dramaturgy to move towards a better interview process. An open discussion follows.
Lisa Doolittle is Professor in Theatre Arts at the University of Lethbridge. Her research and publications have focused on oral history and embodiment, performance for/as community engagement, and dance and identity in Canada. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council supported her work with Anne Flynn in investigating connections between Canadian multiculturalism, First Nations communities, cultural policy, and dance. Her recent community-engaged performance work has focused on local immigrant communities, and health promotion in rural Malawi schools.
Elswit, Kate
(Stanford University)
Present-ing Other Dance Pasts: Spectatorship Scripts for the Long Weimar Republic
This paper begins with the recent choreographic trend of engaging with historical German dances, and my work as dramaturg for Swedish choreographer Rani Nair’s second-order performances. In both, dramaturgy is a thing done, but also a way that dance recreations themselves frame history, reaching back to create something meant to stand for that past in the present. While there is a process of again-ness to such reworkings, they also betray particular investments in those pasts, reimagining “then” in the process of collapsing and reinscribing the distance between then and now, and using dance to theorize alternative relationships with time.
Kate Elswit became a Mellon Fellow at Stanford University after receiving her PhD from the University of Cambridge. She won the Gertrude Lippincott Award from SDHS for her 2009 TDR article, and the Biennial Sally Banes Publication Prize from ASTR for her 2008 Modern Drama article. Her book, Watching Weimar Dance, is under contract with Oxford University Press, and she keeps her artistic practice active as a choreographer, dramaturg, and curator.
Farrugia, Kathrina
(Royal Academy of Dance)
Caravaggio, Creative Catalysts and Choreographic Dramaturgy: Reading Performativity, Theatricality and Narrativity in Mauro Bigonzetti’s Caravaggio (2008)
This paper presents readings of Mauro Bigonzetti’s Caravaggio (2008), outlining transitory relationships between Bigonzetti’s choreographic endeavours, Renaissance paintings by Michaelangelo Merisi (1571–1610), also known as Caravaggio, and emerging discourse on choreographic dramaturgy within this commission by Staatsballett Berlin. Set to Bruno Moretti’s compositions on themes by Italian Renaissance composer Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643), Caravaggio (2008) depicts a choreographic dramaturgy heavily reliant on a series of paintings including The Calling of St. Matthew (1599–1600). A theory of vectorization colours the liminality across decoding/encoding the performativity, theatricality, and narrativity (Schechner in Pavis, 2004) within the emergent choreographic dramaturgy from Caravaggio (2008).
Kathrina Farrugia graduated from the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), and continued her studies at the University of Surrey, obtaining a Masters in Dance Studies (distinction). Her doctoral thesis, entitled “Transmodern Dance Practices: Angelin Preljocaj, Mauro Bigonzetti and revisions of Les Noces (1923),” was presented at London Metropolitan University (January, 2011). She set up three-fortyone dances in 2003, touring Fringe Festivals of Edinburgh (2004) and Brighton (2007) and is currently Lecturer in Dance Studies at the Faculty of Education at RAD.
Figueroa, Angel Luís
(Percussionist)
PERsentation #6 Healing Water: Dramaturgical Strategy in a Collaborative Process
This PERsentation involves the audience in analyzing a twenty-minute section of a dance about healing the LA River before participating in a dramaturgy workshop. The metaphor of the LA River and the healing properties of water each became a particular focus for creating dance movement. The dancers were challenged to conceptualize the LA River as a conduit of culture and connectivity. Its shoreline provides a potential gathering place, and water that runs through it is likewise a means of connecting different parts of the city. As the curator/choreographer slowly introduced and incorporated photographs and video of underwater life, found objects, and indigenous perspectives, musician Bennie Maupin rehearsed with and became inspired by the dancers, the choreography, and by our company members’ personal/cultural healing processes, many of which mirror water’s most adaptive properties. As the movement grew, the dancers respectfully listened to local, global, and indigenous perspectives on water, considering what lies both spatially and temporally downstream.
The dramaturgical strategy is connected to the movement/music creation process. After the performance, audience members are invited to participate as collaborators, and to contribute cultural perspectives that shape how people view and interact with water, be it as a commodity, a resource, a form of spiritual embodiment, a reminder of how all life on the planet is interrelated, and more. Some objects and stories from the LA River inform this dance “event,” but we also believe the piece adapts to each new environment. Together, we will explore the roles of culture and poetics in supporting a water-based ecology, using techniques honed in the choreography process to conceptualize a sensory experience of water’s potential.
Angel Luís Figueroa began his professional career as a percussionist at the Puerto Rican Conservatory of Music in Chicago, recording with the late great Mongo Santamaria. Since then he has performed with such musical greats as Herbie Hancock, Sting, The Temptations, Jeffery Osborne, Maxwell, Kenny Loggins, Prince, Sheryl Crow, WAR, and others. He served on the faculty of the USC Jazz Studies Department for nineteen years and is the founder/director of the Paws Music Institute Los Angeles, an organization dedicated to the teaching, performance, and preservation of Afro-Latin music.
Fisher, Jennifer
(University of California, Irvine)
Can Dramaturgs Help the Ballet World Evolve Beyond Its Biases?
The ballet world can be unaware when its hidebound hallmarks emerge in classical works, specifically those involving racial stereotypes. Examples include skin color bias in casting; black face characters in Bayadère and Petroushka; and Orientalism in 19th and 20th century ballets. One historical perception of the dramaturg, an “external authority” requesting changes despite existing traditions, might be seen as challenging established hierarchies in ballet companies. What sort of interventions or collaboration can take place to envision new ways of adjusting outdated ballets, while preserving the best aspects of the so-called “classics”? In this paper, I consider whether the presence of a dramaturg could result in the realization that some ballet traditions are more valuable to uphold than others.
Jennifer Fisher, Associate Professor at the University of California, Irvine, is author of Nutcracker Nation: How an Old World Ballet Became a Christmas Tradition in the New World (Yale, 2003), which won the Special Citation of the SDHS Bueno Prize, and co-editor, with Anthony Shay, of When Men Dance: Choreographing Masculinities Across Borders (Oxford, 2009). She is the founding editor of Dance Major Journal, a publication of student writing based at UCI.
Fitzsimmons Frey, Heather
(University of Toronto)
Why Are They Dancing? Dramaturgical Implications of Dance in TYA
In Canada, each year thousands of children are taken to see Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) productions, or the productions are brought into their schools: some of these performances incorporate dance. This paper stems from interviews with 16 TYA directors and choreographers from six different Canadian provinces. The participants commented on when and why they use dance in TYA, how they believe young people respond to dance in theatre, and what they believe are the particular issues regarding dance in TYA. Focussed on the words of the participants, the exploration is in no way an examination of the quality of dance performance in TYA, but rather, an exploration of the diversity, purposes, and multiple readings of dance in TYA in Canada. Besides contacting independent theatre directors and choreographers I spoke to artistic directors, youth and education coordinators, and producers, all of whom are listed in the acknowledgements.
Heather Fitzsimmons Frey is a director, dramaturge, and theatre educator currently in the first year of her PhD in Drama at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation will focus on Theatre for Young Audiences in Canada. Heather has directed and provided dramaturgy for physical theatre productions, devised theatre, dance theatre collaborations and productions that intentionally incorporate dance into theatre. She has published articles about circus theatre and dance theatre in Canadian Theatre Review and Legacy Magazine. Heather is not a dancer, but she is very interested in dance and the child. She attended the Dance and the Child International Conference in 1987 (London, England) with Alberta Children’s Creative Dance Theatre, with whom she danced for 13 years. Her teachers were Joyce Boorman, Sally Carline, and Ann Kipling-Brown.
Fleming, Margaret
(Independent Scholar)
Dramaturgy in Petipa’s Sleeping Beauty with reference to the Violente Variation
The fairy godmothers who feature in the fairytale, The Sleeping Beauty, also feature in Petipa’s ballet of the same name (1890), but their gifts in the latter are strikingly different. The example of the character of the fifth fairy, Violente, is examined for clues to this puzzle. Symbols from the design of her original costume lead towards an alchemical interpretation, which later plays out in the drama of the life of the Princess Aurora herself. Three Dance Forms animations of the Violente variation as notated over the past century (Stepanov, ca1890s-1918; Benesh, 1955, 1983) illustrate how the original symbolism has been lost.
Margaret Fleming is a graduate of Edinburgh University and the Benesh Institute, London. She spent many years teaching dance, but now, having retired, is writing a book on symbolism in nineteenth century ballets.
Flynn, Anne
(University of Calgary)
Relative(s) Understanding: When the Research Interview Involves Family
This roundtable is an opportunity for those dance researchers who conduct interviews and collect oral histories as part of their research methodology to discuss issues encountered in the process of engaging with a research subject. The convenors briefly discuss their own work, approaching the research interview through the lens of performance, and exploring the metaphor of dramaturgy to move towards a better interview process. An open discussion follows.
Anne Flynn is Professor in the Department of Dance at the University of Calgary, with a joint appointment in the Faculties of Arts and Kinesiology. Her research on Canadian women in dance, multiculturalism and identity, and dance in health promotion and education has been presented and published internationally and supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Since 2005 she has been Manager of Urban Dance Connect, a community/university dance project.
Funkenstein, Susan
(University of Pittsburgh)
Engendering Oskar Schlemmer
At the Bauhaus, Oskar Schlemmer’s choreographies presented the institution’s aesthetic principles writ large, with primary colors and grid-like spatial configurations. With respect to bodies, however, the issues were in part about form but more about the traumatic experiences of war, the legacies of classical ballet, and the politics of gender at this innovative art and design school. The coexistence of these disparate paradigms explain how two very different—and, seemingly, at odds—gendered discourses existed simultaneously both onstage and at the institution: an insistence upon clear gendered identities and well-defined separate spheres; and a performance of androgyny with a rhetoric of gender neutrality.
Susan Funkenstein researches depictions of dance in Weimar visual culture. Her essays have appeared in Modernism/Modernity, German Studies Review, Gender and History, Woman’s Art Journal, Women in German Yearbook, and the forthcoming New German Dance Studies, edited by Susan Manning and Lucia Ruprecht. At work on her book, Visualizing Weimar Dance: Gender, Body, Modernity, she teaches at the University of Pittsburgh.
George, Doran
(University of California, Los Angeles)
Propelled by Bewilderment: The Dramaturgy of Improvisation in the Re-Staging of Ishmael Houston-Jones’ Them
Ishmael Houston-Jones improvised dance-theatre work Them was originally staged in 1985 and re-presented in 2010. Houston-Jones’ dramaturgical and other working methods have often been ignored in favor of interpretations of his improvisation as spontaneous, charismatic brilliance. I argue that the dramaturgy inherent in the ‘scores’ for Them provides perspective on how the dance originally generated meaning and how that meaning was recuperated, transformed, and commented upon in the reconstruction. The communicative intention of the work is evident in the corporeal subject which Houston-Jones’ ‘real-time’ compositional strategy constructs: one of equivocal but vigorous intimacy propelled by bewilderment.
Doran George is a practicing artist attaining a PhD in dance, who presents in Live Art, Dance, Visual Art, and identity-themed contexts. Doran has received arts funding in the UK, Finland, Holland, and the US. Doran sustains a participatory arts practice, including a residency with the Alzheimer’s Association. Doran dances for diverse choreographers, and curates symposia and performance exploring identity-deconstruction. Doran is published in academic and art journals, and teaches in university and professional dance contexts.
Goldstein, Jennie
(Stony Brook University)
Collaboration, Movement, Projection: The Interdisciplinary Structure of Lucinda Childs’s Dance, 1979
In 1979, Lucinda Childs, Sol LeWitt, and Philip Glass combined their disparate mediums to create a multimedia performance work titled, simply, Dance. Childs’s current reconstruction of Dance reveals key aspects that gained prominence among the 1960s practitioners of interdisciplinary art and resonated in the outpouring of multimedia installation and performance-based work in the 1970s. These include collaboration, non-traditional forms of movement, the structuring grid, and the physical screen. A sustained exploration of the work’s individual elements reveals the hybrid form of this collaborative effort, one that is at once a historical performative object, and a contemporary work of art.
Jennie Goldstein is a doctoral student and Graduate Council Fellow in the Art History and Criticism program at Stony Brook University, State University of New York. She studies late modern and contemporary art with a focus on movement-based practices that operate within the visual art field. In 2010 she completed a Master’s Thesis on Lucinda Childs’s Dance (1979).
Goletti, Christina
(University of Colorado, Boulder)
In the Garden of Eden, Dance Dramaturgy and the Dance Dramaturg Already Existed: A More Expansive History of the Role of Dramaturg and Dramaturgical Thinking in Dance
In the past three decades, we have seen a growing interest in dramaturgical thinking within dance and movement performance. Usually we refer to Pina Bausch and Raimund Hoghe’s collaboration during the 80’s as a starting point for this enriching dialogue. In this paper I will challenge this notion and argue for a revised and more expansive history of dramaturgy in dance. I will look at “The Rite of Spring” to see how dramaturgy and even the role of a dramaturg were already present, although unstated, even in the early modern ballet. In order to do so I will compare the Nijinsky 1913 original choreography with the 2010 version by Xavier Le Roy.
Cristina Goletti trained at the London Contemporary Dance School and has been dancing and teaching across Europe, Mexico, Japan, and the US. She is the co-founder of Legitimate Bodies Dance Company, the dance company in residence at Birr Theatre and Arts Centre and supported by The Irish Arts Council. She is the director of I.F. O.N.L.Y., a festival dedicated to dance solos, and an MFA candidate at University of Colorado at Boulder.
Gough, Matthew
(University of Northampton, UK)
Dramaturgy of Minimalist Dance Works
This paper explores the role of dramaturgy in minimalist dance works. In 2010 choreographer Stephanie Schober devised a new work, entitled Counting Piece. Inspired by composer Tom Johnson, Schober used mathematical principles to create, order, and pattern movement materials. Because of Schober’s minimalist approach, a great deal of time was spent exploring ‘humanity’ and ‘density’ in the work. This paper will discuss the collaboration between Schober and myself (as dramaturg) to develop these qualities. The process of collaboration has lead to the development of a specific method of maintaining the work, and sharing the choreographic process through workshops.
Matthew Gough trained at Bird College (BA Hons) and the University of Limerick (MA). As a dancer and performer, Matt has worked with a range of choreographers including Charles Linehan, Lisa Nelson, Jodie Melnick, Keith-Derrick Randolph, Yoshiko Chuma, and Liz Roche. Matthew is a lecturer in dance at the University of Northampton (UK) and continues to perform and create works whilst publishing texts on dance improvisation and dance pedagogy.
Grace, Alicia
(Performer, Writer, and Dramaturg, England)
Shape-Shifting in the Studio Field: Dance Dramaturgy as Morphogenesis
Supporting post-modern notions of rupturing the "fitness landscape" of dance- making this paper considers a dramaturgy of movement based on ecological motifs. A morphogenetic field is a concept, used in qualitative science, which refers to “a process that is always engaged in making and remaking itself via life-cycles and exploring its potential for making new wholes.” Habit, environment and memory are key influences in this shape-creating process. As a dramaturg and amateur ecologist, I present the early stages of my research into dance dramaturgy as a process of fielding enquiries, with particular focus on adaption, relationships, and dynamics.
Alicia Grace is a performer, writer, and dramaturg, specializing in place-responsive, socially engaged, and improvisatory practices. In 2010 Alicia gained a Masters degree in Arts and Ecology from Dartington College of Arts. She currently works as a dance dramaturg, mentoring practitioners on a scheme funded by regional dance agency, Dance South West. As a writer she is currently commissioned to write new work on the hidden poetics of Devon for Aune Head Arts rural arts agency.
Hamp, Amanda
(Luther College)
Score as Catalyst, Memory as Creative Act: Connecting the Work of Tatsumi Hijikata, Kazuo Ohno and Stephanie Skura
Memory is artful, innovative, expressive. Neurologically, it is a connection between two neurons. More specifically, it is a connection that changes each time a memory is recalled. Thus, the process of remembering is itself a creative process, and the act of memory is a creative act. For butoh cofounders Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno, and contemporary US artist Stephanie Skura, these processes intersect in dance. In their work, the performing body transforms continuously, and the dance itself is continuously finding its form. These artists, from two distinct historical-cultural contexts, align in their influences, use of scores for performance, and access to ancestors and the subconscious.
Amanda Hamp is on the faculty at Luther College. She teaches in the dance program, which is centered around a Movement Fundamentals curriculum, and in the college’s Wellness and interdisciplinary Paideia programs. She continues with compositional and performance work, and is a certified teacher of Open Source Forms. Hamp holds degrees from Luther College (BA), the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance (Professional Diploma in Dance Studies), and the University of Iowa (MFA).
Harris, Andrea
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Lincoln Kirstein and the Production of American Ballet History
It is commonly acknowledged in American dance histories that George Balanchine brought Imperial Classicism to the US, where he transformed the once elite and hierarchical czarist ballet tradition into the very “reflection of a democracy.” The architect of this narrative was Lincoln Kirstein, whose historiographical and theoretical interventions re-set the stage of American ballet. For over four decades, Kirstein sought a ballet that could become not only a national style, but also a force for national change. This paper examines his fervent and fraught quest, a project that involved multiple appropriations of the rhetoric and aesthetics of a palate of international modernisms.
Andrea Harris (University of Wisconsin-Madison) is the author of essays in Interrogating America through Theatre and Performance; A tavola con Spadolini, le grand danseur; Discourses in Dance, and the forthcoming Avant-Garde Performance and Material Exchange. She is also the editor of Before, Between, and Beyond. Harris has taught at Texas Christian University, the University of Oklahoma, and the Universidad de las Américas. Her performance credits include the Martha Graham Dance Company.
Heisler, Wayne
(College of New Jersey)
Dancing Richard Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs)
My focus is on two ballets set to Richard Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder (1948): Maurice Béjart’s Serait-ce la Mort? (1970) and Rudi Van Dantzig’s Vier letzte Lieder (1977). These ballets are part of a post-1945 trend I term “song-ballet,” which problematizes the truism of words as anathema to dance in its twentieth-century historiography. Béjart’s and Van Dantzig’s engagement with Strauss’s songs witness the persistence of beliefs in syntheses of the arts, particularly Richard Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk (unified/integrated artwork). Despite vast differences, however, both Béjart and Van Dantzig linked music, text, voice, and movement into a kind of dance-centered music drama.
Wayne Heisler’s published work includes The Ballet Collaborations of Richard Strauss (2009), which appeared as part of the Eastman Studies in Music series published by the University of Rochester Press. Heisler is also the author of an essay entitled “Choreographing Schumann” for the collection Rethinking Schumann (Oxford, 2011). His current interests include post-1945 “song ballets.” Heisler is Associate Professor of Historical and Cultural Studies in Music at The College of New Jersey.
Hwang, Hye-Won
(University of California, Riverside)
Writing, Authorizing, and Copyrighting a Dance: Labanotation as a Dance Dramaturgical System
In my paper, I engage with Labanotation as a dance dramaturgical system for writing a history of dance. From critical dance/performance studies and socioeconomic perspectives, I discuss the issues and problems of writing a history of dance through Labanotation. I ask, what are the revealed and concealed components when framing a history of dance through Labanotation? How does the role of notator complicate a singular authorship of constructing a history of dance? Last but not least, how is the use of Labanotation as a dance dramaturgical system related to cultural-political hegemony and copyright market?
Hye-Won Hwang was born in Seoul, Korea, and is currently a PhD student in critical dance studies at UCR. She has studied and performed throughout Korea, Europe, and the United States. Hwang holds a BA in dance from Ewha Woman’s University and MA degrees in dance studies from Laban Center, London, and in dance education from NYU. Hwang is a Certified Movement Analyst (CMA), a Dean’s Distinguished Fellow, and a Susan Carol Hersh Scholarship recipient.
Jones, Adanna K.
(University of California, Riverside)
“Come Rain or Shine, I Goh Wine-up ’Pon Di Streets of LA”: Performing Caribbean Nationalities for the LA Carnival
In this paper, I use an autoethnographic approach to elucidate how winin’-Caribbean bodies mark their territory within the Diaspora, by Caribbeanizing spaces with each roll of the hip. The epitome of public space, these once unCaribbean streets become undone during the festivities of Carnival. As winin’-Caribbean bodies reveal discourses that layer the space with intimate tales of the private, a simultaneous clash occurs as Caribbeanness goes toe-to-toe with Americanness. My argument thus recognizes the streets as a discursive space that allows for vital exchanges of identity to occur, and ultimately teases apart the entanglements of winin,’ nationality, and sexuality.
Adanna Jones is a fourth year PhD student in critical dance studies at University of California, Riverside. She received her BFA in dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, and has since performed in professional dance companies based in NYC, including Julia Ritter Performance Group and Souloworks. At the moment, her research pursuits focus on the circumscriptive politics of the rolling hip dance of Trinidad, known as winin’.
Kattner, Elizabeth
(University of Michigan – Flint)
Diaghilev: Ballet’s Great Dramaturge
Diaghilev was not an artist of any kind, yet he was intimately involved in the creation of the Ballets Russes’ ballets. Can Diaghilev be considered the first dance dramaturge? This paper will examine the question of how he shaped the ballets created by three of his young choreographers, Vaslav Nijinsky, Leonide Massine, and George Balanchine, and how his involvement both benefited and interfered with the creative process. Finally, we will look at what present day dance dramaturges and choreographers can learn from his example.
Elizabeth Kattner completed her PhD at the Free University Berlin where the focus of her research was the early life and work of George Balanchine. She lived and worked in Berlin for ten years and performed all over Germany with various baroque dance ensembles. Currently, she teaches ballet, dance history, and dance education at the University of Michigan-Flint Department of Theatre and Dance.
Kitahara, Mariko
(Waseda University, Japan)
‘Ballets Russes’ Works Created in Japan during the Prewar Period : A Historical Example of Dance Transmission
This paper will reveal the dynamics of global transmission in the art of ballet during the first half of the twentieth century. By examining documents such as programs, reviews, and photographs of the stages inspired by the repertories of Ballets Russes, I will elaborate on how they were received in the Japanese entertainment world. The company never landed in this faraway country whose history of ballet had just begun around 1910, but still evoked the special interests of people in the field of stage and music through visual images, individual experiences abroad, and the appearance of some Russian artists in Japan.
Mariko Kitahara is a PhD candidate in Department of Theater and Film, Graduate School of Humanity, Waseda University, Tokyo and a member of the Japanese Society for Dance Research. Her research focuses on analysis of works and activities of Ballets Russes. This paper is mostly based on the historical materials of the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, in which she participates as a researcher of the Global COE Program.
Klein, Gabriele
(University of Hamburg)
The ‘Dramaturgical Turn’: A Political and Social Redefinition of Contemporary Choreography
Since the 1990s, the dramaturg has played a new and significant role in contemporary choreography, fulfilling the performative act of pointing. This historical shift can be traced back to the beginning of the 1970’s. But in post-1990s European contemporary dance, the “dramaturgical turn” reflects a radical reformulation of both the concept of choreography and the role of the dramaturg. Focusing on social repositioning of the performing arts, specifically of dance, the role of the choreographer, and the possibility of politically redefining what constitutes artistic work, this paper investigates how the “dramaturgical turn” can be interpreted in the context of a radical reconceptualization of modernity.
Gabriele Klein is Professor in Sociology of Movement and Dance at the Institute for Human Movement Studies at the University of Hamburg (UHH). She has been Visiting Professor at UCLA, University in Bern, Switzerland, the "Mozarteum" Salzburg/ Austria, Smith College (US), the University of Stellenbosch/ South Africa, and has served as Director of Performance Studies Hamburg, Director of the Institute for Human Movement Studies, and a member of the international board of SDHS.
Kolb, Alexandra
(University of Otago)
Contemporary Dance and the Politics of Form
This paper investigates how dance genres and choreographic forms have become intimately associated with political parameters in Western theatre dance, following the rise of postmodernism, globalization, and late capitalism. I apply theories from dance and performance studies, the visual arts, and politics to reveal and subsequently challenge the association of aesthetic form with political concepts. I argue that significant commonalities can be found in theatre dance developments across Western democracies, in terms of the interrelation between their form and political ideology. Case studies from several countries demonstrate the link between form and politics as part of a worldwide trend.
Alexandra Kolb is Senior Lecturer and Chair of Dance Studies at the University of Otago, having received her doctorate from Cambridge University. She is the author of Performing Femininity: Dance and Literature in German Modernism (2009) and the editor of Dance and Politics (2010). She has contributed to a range of international journals, including Discourses in Dance, Journal of European Studies, and About Performance, and her dance reviews have appeared in Theatreview.
Kosstrin, Hannah
(Reed College)
The Wandering Frog that Did Not Travel Well: Anna Sokolow’s Work in Mexico, 1940–1941
This study examines two works by Anna Sokolow that embodied post-revolutionary nationalist sentiments in Mexico City between 1940 and 1941, but did not easily transfer from Mexican to US audiences. Through analysis of El renacuajo paseador (The Fable of the Wandering Frog) (1940) and “Duelo”/Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter (1941), this paper argues that the tensions between the critical reception of Sokolow’s work in Mexico City and in New York not only highlight Sokolow’s political negotiation between the aesthetic and social values of both audiences, but also point to Sokolow’s ability to pass in different roles between these populations. Jose L. Reynoso (University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)) Embodiments of Class and the Folk in Eliticizing the Popular: Anna Pavlova in Mexico City (1919) Nine years after the start of the Mexican Revolution, Anna Pavlova visited Mexico City in 1919 as an already established universalized referent of high culture. This paper discusses how performances of her Europeanized ballet repertoire produced social spaces in which Mexican elites affirmed their identities as cultured, civilized moderns. In this context, I emphasize processes of eliticizing the popular that enabled Pavlova to re-choreograph a Mexican folk dance in such a way that it was embraced by Mexican elites, resonated with the Mexican government’s post-revolutionary nationalist project, and set precedents for modern dance practices initiated in 1940.
Hannah Kosstrin is Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. She holds a PhD in dance studies from the Ohio State University with a women’s history minor, MA and BA degrees in dance from OSU and Goucher College, and Labanotation Teacher Certification from the Dance Notation Bureau. Situated at the intersection of dance, Jewish, and gender studies, her research examines Anna Sokolow’s work from the 1930s-1960s.
Kowal, Rebekah
(University of Iowa)
"Dance Out the Answer": The Mid-Century Cultural Politics of La Meri’s Cross-Ethnic Dance
[This panel examines the formation of “ethnic dance” as a concept and a practice within twentieth-century American modern dance; interrogates the critical, aesthetic, and social significance of the term to artists, audiences, and critics; and explores the problems and possibilities that “ethnicity” posed to the development of American modernism. Collectively, we investigate how early to mid-century American dance artists invented unique processes of research, presentation, and education, and delineate the politics at play in staging ethnicity on the American concert stage.] An accomplished performer, founder of the Ethnologic Dance Center, and author, “La Meri” specialized in the performance and pedagogy of “ethnic art dance.” Although scant, existing scholarship on La Meri has focused on determining the “authenticity” of her work compared to exploitative precedents. Yet these studies gloss over the racial mechanics of her cross-ethnic embodiments as well as the cultural politics surrounding their reception. This paper examines the complicated cultural and aesthetic politics of La Meri’s approach to “ethnic” dance in American at mid-century, both as she embodied it in her performances, and as she institutionalized it at her school.
Rebekah Kowal teaches dance history and theory at the University of Iowa. A dancer and scholar, she forges interdisciplinary connections between dance theory and practice. Her book, How to Do Things with Dance: Performing Change in Postwar America, was released by Wesleyan University Press in 2010. Her current book-length project examines the impact of postwar international performance on the formation of American concert dance forms and in the context of US foreign relations, immigration, and trade policies.
La Rue, Donna
(Independent Scholar)
Approximating Each Full/Empty Point Along the Danced Continuum: The Use of Dance Iconography for Dance Historians and Dramaturgs
Like mathematicians estimating a limit, dance reconstructionists may approximate but never reproduce past dances. Earlier dance historians were often their own dramaturgs. In the case of pre-Renaissance dance scenes, intense pressure may be exerted to squeeze as much as possible from visual, verbal and visceral sources. Visual sources lacking resonant musical or verbal corroboration are especially vulnerable to overinterpretation. Artistic conventions determine how bodies, space, movement, connectivity, and gestural and postural tropes are rendered. Small- and large-scale case-studies of dance exempla could activate analytic and catalytic processes leading to a coherent interpretive schema by which to learn more about both dance and dances.
Donna La Rue (BA, Ohio State University; MA, Lesley University; PhD candidate, ABD, Boston University) is an independent scholar writing on the liturgical arts with a focus on liturgical dance history and historiography. She has taught art history at Suffolk University, the Arts Institute of Boston, and Northeastern University. From 2009–2011, she has presented work on liturgical processional reconstructions, liturgical drama, and medieval dance iconography in Boston, MA; Augusta, ME; Columbus, OH; and Paris, Sens, and Orléans, France.
Langley, Elizabeth
(Professor Emerita, Concordia University)
The Role of the Dance Dramaturg: The Practical Necessities
I am a practitioner, not a theorist. My experience has been gleaned during my professional life in contemporary dance and recent years in physical theatre. The role of dramaturg requires that you personify an alert, demanding audience member who has advance knowledge of the form, as well as a mature ability to edit observations and thought processes that are not constructively targeting the artist’s desires. As a dramaturg, I mostly work on original creations during rehearsals and production. Parallel to the survival and development of my own creativity, my dedication has always been to establish relationships with students and fellow artists, awarding them the same privileges that I would like others to bestow on me. I want my process and creation to be respected and I want to be encouraged and lead by my dramaturg to explore what is not being communicated to its fullest potential. The artist’s work has nothing to do with the creative ideas of the dramaturg and limiting access to content establishes and protects this fact. Rather, the questions asked and the verbal exchanges shared produce the desired results. Proof of success is when the artist is personally confident that what they want to communicate is strong and clear and, for the dramaturg, to sit in the audience and experience the full power of the work being performed.
Elizabeth Langley has worked professionally in dance since 1953. Born in Australia in 1933, she spent her formative years performing, choreographing, and teaching. She trained in the Martha Graham technique in New York before moving to Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) in 1965, where she worked in university programs and the community. In 1979 Langley moved to Montreal to design and develop the Contemporary Dance Degree Program at Concordia University. She retired in 1997 to develop her own style of physical theater in which she creates original one-woman-shows. She also works as dramaturge for companies and solo performers in Canada. Langley has also worked in the Netherlands, Turkey, Finland, and Cuba.
Larasati, Rachmi Diyah
(University of Manitoba)
The Catalyst: Staging Bodies of War
This paper proposes an alternative discursive methodology with which to look at violence and its consequences within society through understanding the body, its geopolitical mapping, and interconnected cultural politics. Looking at contemporary discourses on violence and emotion—where most work on violence and its effects focuses on “recovery” through bodily engagement such as dancing—as a means of detaching from specific violent memories, this paper suggests approaching not speaking/silence as a project of resistance rather than as a simple forgetting. I consider the return of memory through the act of dancing, which is often seen as a key step to “recovery” from the traumatic experience, and investigate the specific catalysts of dance and bodily movement during the occurrence of violence itself and in its aftermath. Through this project, I extend current discussions of citizens’ engagement and the bodily act as archival memory. This methodology maps the various possibilities of the study of emotion and aesthetic expression (dance) in response to a locus of identification for victims of violence. The research also explores how acts of recovery and remembrance through dance practices are altered by the regime of aesthetic and state control of those practices.
Rachmi Diyah Larasati is a dancer and scholar from Indonesia, who is currently working on a research project exploring the Global South’s cultural aesthetic representation, in relation to cultural exchange on the global stage. Through cultural missions, migrations, and tourism, Larasati explores the dancing National in response to neoliberal inclusions of the minority subject within globalization. Larasati is Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts and Dance, affiliate graduate faculty in feminist studies at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and guest faculty in critical global humanities at Brown International Research Institute, Brown University.
Lee, Jean
Between Meaning and Significance, and Beyond
This presentation explores discourses on ‘dance’ and ‘dramaturgy’ in terms of paradigm shifts towards new dramaturgy in the features of contemporary theatre and dance, and in the syntax of contemporary dance performance to uncover a link between dance dramaturgy and its philosophical reflections. Such exploration also raises several implicit questions: is ‘dramaturgy’ proper word for dance dramaturgy? Do we still need this name? What is challenging to contemporary dance? What do the phenomena reflect? Is dance understood or interpreted? Or is dance appreciating beyond interpretation? This paper does not offer another example of dance dramaturgy but elicits the personal thoughts of the audience on dance dramaturgy.
Jean Lee became a dance dramaturge by invitation from a Korean choreographer, Sam-Jin Kim when she started to lecture in the choreography department at Korea National University of Arts (2004–2008). Inspired by the dance people she met, she started to write on dance for daily and monthly journals, after which she become to be known as a culture columnist and dance writer. Jean Lee’s academic papers and artistic works have been presented in dance conferences (CORD & SDHS).
Lee, Susan
(York University)
PERsentation #1 Soundwalking Interactions
This session is the culmination of a creative process whereby Lee, McCartney, and Sinclair worked with four dancers to create a choreography that interacts with sound. In this piece, the dancers move and dynamically manipulate sound in the space, while projecting visualizations of these movements in real time. In this PERsentation, we describe the creative process, perform the choreography, have a discussion with all seven team members about the experience, and lead an improvisation exercise with audience participation. We end with a group discussion that brings in the audience’s reflections on the experience.
Lee, Susan
(York University)
PERsentation #5 Locally Sourced Dances
Locally Sourced Dances, a PERsentation facilitated by dance artists Susan Lee and Tracey Norman, presents their recent research into creating dances by sourcing local landscapes. This is a four-part workshop beginning with a short lecture outlining the conceptual bases of the research and a description of the creative processes they have developed to this point. The second part is the facilitation of a creative process workshop for the conference attendees, sampling ideas and exercises used in Lee and Norman’s creative research. Lee and Norman will then perform an excerpt of choreography, followed by a group discussion of the work.
Susan Lee is a dance artist based in Toronto. Currently part-time faculty at York University’s Dance Department, she has a longstanding interest in interdisciplinary collaboration and improvisation in performance. Many of her works combine dance, live music, video, and interactive new media. A Dora-nominated dancer, Susan’s professional career spans twenty years, during which time she has originated roles in numerous works by established Canadian choreographers. These have been performed across Canada, the US, Mexico, Portugal, Sweden, Singapore, and Indonesia.
Lenart, Camelia
(State University of New York at Albany)
Martha Graham and Bethsabee de Rothschild — an Artistic Friendship in the Service of Modern Dance
My paper explores the professional and artistic relationship between Martha Graham and the Baroness Bethsabee de Rothschild during the 1950s and ’60s, when the latter’s involvement facilitated the creative and strategic engagement of Graham’s art nationally and internationally. Literally next to Graham and her dancers during their international tours, commissioning famous Graham works, sponsoring films meant to document the story and history of Graham’s art, and helping when the company went through changes and challenges, de Rothschild had the charisma, impact, and power that makes a dance dramaturg’s presence essential in a dance company’s life, on and off stage.
Camelia Lenart is a doctoral candidate at the State University of New York at Albany. Her research examines the way in which political, social, and cultural history intermingled in the nuanced response that Martha Graham’s modern dance received in several European countries during the Cold War. She has presented her work in national and international conferences, and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2010 Mellon Fellowship at the Institute of the Historical Research in London.
Maguire, Terrill
(York University)
PERsentation #2 — In the Rock Garden
The concept of this piece involves animating a particular space—a landscaped rock garden in a frequently by-passed area of the York University campus, close to the Fine Arts buildings. The “animation” aspect brings dancers and musicians into the rock garden space, in designed/ choreographed fashion, and allows for a certain level of improvised performance. The intention is to bring focus to the specific site, and also to bring the performers into relationship with the rocks, plants and trees, driftwood, earth, and the air around them. A core group takes part in the choreographed portion of the event, creating a foundation structure that is then augmented with a diverse range of additional participants.
Terrill Maguire is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and artistic director. A long time advocate for the integration of the arts into everyday life and mainstream society, she founded and directed the Inde Festivals of New Dance and Music, a seminal series of national festivals that took place between 1985–1995. Maguire has done extensive Artists-in-Schools residencies throughout Ontario. She has also produced and participated in numerous interdisciplinary community arts events and has received various choreography commissions, grants, and awards, including the Jean A. Chalmers Award in Choreography; she is currently a Chalmers Arts Fellowship recipient. She has been a past full-time member of the Dance Department of York University, and currently is a sessional faculty member.
Maupin, Bennie
(Musician (Composer))
PERsentation #6 Healing Water: Dramaturgical Strategy in a Collaborative Process
This PERsentation involves the audience in analyzing a twenty-minute section of a dance about healing the LA River before participating in a dramaturgy workshop. The metaphor of the LA River and the healing properties of water each became a particular focus for creating dance movement. The dancers were challenged to conceptualize the LA River as a conduit of culture and connectivity. Its shoreline provides a potential gathering place, and water that runs through it is likewise a means of connecting different parts of the city. As the curator/choreographer slowly introduced and incorporated photographs and video of underwater life, found objects, and indigenous perspectives, musician Bennie Maupin rehearsed with and became inspired by the dancers, the choreography, and by our company members’ personal/cultural healing processes, many of which mirror water’s most adaptive properties. As the movement grew, the dancers respectfully listened to local, global, and indigenous perspectives on water, considering what lies both spatially and temporally downstream.
The dramaturgical strategy is connected to the movement/music creation process. After the performance, audience members are invited to participate as collaborators, and to contribute cultural perspectives that shape how people view and interact with water, be it as a commodity, a resource, a form of spiritual embodiment, a reminder of how all life on the planet is interrelated, and more. Some objects and stories from the LA River inform this dance “event,” but we also believe the piece adapts to each new environment. Together, we will explore the roles of culture and poetics in supporting a water-based ecology, using techniques honed in the choreography process to conceptualize a sensory experience of water’s potential.
Bennie Maupin’s highly personal bass clarinet sound helped define such classic jazz recordings as Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, Jack Johnson, Big Fun, and On the Corner, as well as recordings by Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi band, and the Headhunters. The multi-woodwind player has also recorded with Marion Brown, Chick Corea, Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Jack DeJohnette, Andrew Hill, Eddie Henderson and Woody Shaw, to name only a few. The instrumentation of Maupin’s current group, The Bennie Maupin Ensemble, harkens back to the tradition of great saxophone-bass-drum trios, such as the group led by Sonny Rollins with Wilbur Ware and Elvin Jones. Maupin’s approach to his music is intentional and profound, yet alive in the interpretation of the moment.
McCartney, Andra
(Concordia University)
PERsentation #1 Soundwalking Interactions
This session is the culmination of a creative process whereby Lee, McCartney, and Sinclair worked with four dancers to create a choreography that interacts with sound. In this piece, the dancers move and dynamically manipulate sound in the space, while projecting visualizations of these movements in real time. In this PERsentation, we describe the creative process, perform the choreography, have a discussion with all seven team members about the experience, and lead an improvisation exercise with audience participation. We end with a group discussion that brings in the audience’s reflections on the experience.
Andra McCartney is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Concordia University in Montreal. She is a soundwalk artist who designs public walks, makes installations, and performs works based on soundwalk experiences.
McMains, Juliet
(University of Washington)
Current Problems and Methods in Dance Reconstruction: Focus on Cross-Cultural and Social Dance Reconstruction
[This roundtable will begin with presentations by the conveners, in which they describe their own experiences with reconstruction of social dance and/or dance in a cross-cultural context and present the methodological problems encountered and strategies employed in the face of these issues. The speakers discuss reconstruction work with dances of the ragtime era, mambo of the 1950s, and the cancan of the 1820s and 1830s. Audience participants are asked to talk about their own experiences in and questions about dance reconstruction in these varied contexts.]
Juliet McMains, PhD, is a performer, choreographer, researcher, writer, and teacher of dance. Her work centers on social dance practices (ballroom, salsa, swing, tango) and their theatrical expression on competition and theatre stages. Her first book Glamour Addiction: Inside the American Ballroom Dance Industry received the Congress on Research in Dance 2008 Outstanding Publication Award. She is currently Assistant Professor in the Dance Program at the University of Washington in Seattle.
McNeilly, Jodie
(University of Sydney/Southern Illinois University)
New Methods for a Digital Dramaturgy
Since new dramaturgy has foregrounded the visual, sound, and physical elements of performance over text, dance and digital performance makers have called upon the dramaturg to weave their work into coherent structures. A critical question asked by dramaturgs is how does structure shape audience perception? I ask, if phenomenology is concerned with illuminating the structure of things, what can audiences doing phenomenology tell us about the structure of performance? In this paper, I draw out the practical implications of my Poetics of Reception Project where phenomenology is approached from within the audience to understand the structural relationship between bodies and technologies.
Jodie McNeilly is an academic, choreographer, and reviewer from Sydney, Australia. She is currently at the Phenomenology Research Center (USA) to deepen her understanding of phenomenology and continental philosophy, and completing her doctoral dissertation Towards an Aesthetics of Attending: Phenomenology from within Audience. Her research broadly intersects dance, philosophy, and digital technologies with an emphasis on audience experience. Once a dancer, she has been making collaborative stage works in Sydney for the past five years.
Meftahi, Ida
(University of Toronto)
Staging Religious Narratives in Post-Revolutionary Iranian Movement-Based Theatrical Productions
“Rhythmic movements” (harikat-i muzun), a sublimated mode of pre-revolutionary theatrical “national dance” (raqs-i milli) brought the dancing subject back to the formal stage in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Categorized as theatre, rhythmic movements became a medium to stage the state’s religious and political ideology. Deploying Islamic theatrical elements as well as dramaturgical means, several religious narratives have been adapted to stage. This paper focuses on the performing bodies in such productions, the ways the sublime and “holy” characters are constructed, the levels at which they connect with audiences, and the epiphanic effect on the performers of embodying such roles.
Ida Meftahi is a PhD candidate in the University of Toronto’s Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations. Through a multidisciplinary historical exploration of the discourse on dance, Meftahi’s dissertation offers a genealogy of modern Iranian biopolitics. Meftahi has a Master’s Degree in Dance from York University. She is also a performer and choreographer, and received her dance training from Farzaneh Kaboli. Meftahi has presented and published in fields ranging from Iranian and Middle Eastern studies to dance studies.
Meglin, Joellen A.
(Temple University)
Crystallina, or Ballet as an Expression of the Ethos of a Community
In spring 2011, Crystallina, A Modern Dance Ballet premiered as part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. Commissioned by Temple University in honor of its 125th anniversary, Crystallina was created through the collaboration of over 100 faculty and student artists from dance, music, and visual arts. From the perspective of librettist/dramaturg (Meglin) and composer (Brodhead), this presentation explores the freedoms and limits of the dialogical process of collaboration across mediums, focusing on the “not-me” as a creative stimulus and the translational tasks between musical and kinetic-kinesthetic understanding among participants.
Joellen A. Meglin is Associate Professor of Dance at Temple University, where she has also been Coordinator of Doctoral Studies. Her dance history research has been published in Dance Research Journal, Dance Chronicle, and Studies in Dance History, and she is currently writing a book on Ruth Page, while serving as co-editor of Dance Chronicle. Recent creative research has focused on projects with composers/music theorists, Richard Brodhead, Matthew Greenbaum, Charles Abramovic, Cynthia Folio, and Edward Latham.
Mehra, Samantha
(York University)
From Periphery to Pop: Burlesque Body(ies) in the 21st Century
After navigating several mutations in the 20th and 21st centuries, quotations of Lydia Thompson’s subversive burlesque have seen a renaissance in pop music and film. Using pop star/performance artist Lady Gaga as a case study, I explore whether her music videos, stage performances, and media imagery function as a form of nouveau burlesque. I ask: is Gaga participating in burlesque, or are her representations the result of attempts to gain mass popularity and commercial appeal? Can performance be burlesque-ian in nature if it does not participate in critique on the margins of a society? I consider whether Gaga is able to perform critique by positioning herself in a seat of power (via highly publicized critique), drawing upon movement and visual experiences with indie and drag artists, and embracing ’difference’ via costume choice and presentations of comical, critical, and grotesque bodies onstage.
Samantha Mehra (BFA, MA, PhD candidate) is a Toronto-based writer and emerging scholar. She holds a BFA in dance (Simon Fraser), and a Master’s in Dance Studies (York), where her research explored dance criticism, burlesque, and butoh. She is a news writer for The Dance Current, a contributor to Dance Collection Danse Magazine, and has been published in Forum For Modern Language Studies (Oxford Journals). Mehra is pursuing a PhD in dance studies at York University.
Midgelow, Vida L.
(York University)
Improvisational Practices and Dramaturgical Strategies
This workshop (in which you are invited to participate or watch) explores the development of a dramaturgical consciousness within improvisation practices. For, whilst much discussion around improvisation has emphasized the interrelationship between the what is ‘known’ and what is ‘unknown’ (Foster, 2003), Midgelow argues that in improvisation there can be no tabula rasa — no blank slate. Rather performance improvisations are ‘practiced’ and ‘composed.’ They celebrate a palimpsest-like play, as images layer and are reiterated for improvisation in an act of embodied remembering, (purposeful) forgetting, and self-conscious formation. This workshop explores how such a notion of improvisation shifts our understanding of both improvisation and dramaturgy.
Vida L. Midgelow, Professor in Dance Practices at the University of Northampton, UK, director of The Choreographic Lab, and co-editor of Choreographic Practices, an international peer reviewed journal (Intellect). Her book, Reworking the Ballet: Counter Narratives and Alternative Bodies, was published by Routledge (2007) and she has presented her own works internationally. Her recent works include the sensual video series ScreenBody and the improvised performance, TRACE: Playing With/Out Memory. Vida is currently Chair of the Standing Conference on Dance in Higher Education (SCODHE), the subject organization for all dance in higher education departments. She also serves on the boards of Dance4, PALATINE, and SDHS (USA), for which she also edits Conversations across the Field of Dance Studies.
Monroe, Raquel L.
(The Dance Center of Columbia College, Chicago)
‘The White Girl in the Middle’: The Blackness of White Corporeality in Step Up 2: The Streets
This paper interrogates the performativity of race and gender in the narrative hip-hop dance film Step Up 2: The Streets (2008). The second film in the Step Up trilogy, Step Up 2: The Streets narrates the experience of Andie (Briana Evigan), a high-school-aged white female dancer living in Baltimore’s inner city with her black female guardian, and mostly black b-boy/girl dance crew. The film clearly illustrates how Evigan’s success as a white female hip hop dancer weighs on her ability to perform “black” corporeality equal to or better than her black counterparts.
Raquel L. Monroe is a scholar and artist who is interested in the ways in which art influences and is influenced by social discourses on race, gender, sexuality, and class. Her scholarship explores the interplay between the performative and socio-political constructions of black female corporeality, black social mobility, and activism within African American communities. As an interdisciplinary artist, she creates work that interrogates notions of activism. Raquel is Assistant Professor in Dance at Columbia College Chicago.
Morejón, Jorge Luis
(University of California, Davis)
Rivero’s Transcultural Dramaturgy: Transcendental Dance in Sulkari
This essay examines Eduardo Rivero’s abstractions of movement from Afro-Cuban ritual into a dance technique that blends elements from Cuban ballet, “Graham-based modern technique and Cuban folk-dance vocabulary,” as part of a dramaturgical approach to dance. By examining Sulkari, a “dance as a rite” piece, I clarify the process by which the Rivero/Cuban Technique, the choreography, the performance and the dancers can be seen as precursors of an indigenous dance dramaturgy. Sulkari’s transculturality defines the basis of a wider social and cultural movement engaged with postcolonial preconceptions of what constitutes aesthetic dance. Thus, Sulkari exploits the tensions between ‘rhetorical’ and ‘authenticating’ conventions of performance by setting up a dynamic of rule-breaking within rule-keeping, between ‘structure’ and ‘antistructure,’ to use Victor Turner’s framework, which plays on mainstream audiences’ fundamental beliefs. While Sulkari starts from a situation/actantial dramatic model, it deploys dramaturgical strategies such as evocative connection to history, embodiment of sacred images and restoration of an ancient “fertility ritual”, which challenge these beliefs. The result is a fluid and dynamic interplay of fictional and real world realities through the rudiments of a “transcendental” dance dramaturgy which rescues for the performing arts the energy and creativity of movement transmitted cultures.
Jorge Luis Morejón has done theatre, opera, dance, and performance art. He has a BA in special education from Florida International University and an MA in liberal studies from University of Miami. He took graduate courses in expressive arts therapy at the European Graduate School, Switzerland, and did doctoral work in Theatre Studies at York University, Toronto. He is a Performance Studies PhD candidate at University of California, Davis, and a faculty member at the University of the West Indies, Department of Creative and Festival Arts, Trinidad and Tobago.
Mylona, Stefania
(University of Surrey, UK)
Curating Dance: Dramaturgy as a Multiplicity of Perspectives
An alternative mode of dance dramaturgy to theatrical methods is curating dance which condenses narrative through images. Choreographing body images allows altering the aesthetic habitus through a focus on shape design, one of the four elements of dance according to Laban. As Bleeker proposes, showing bodies “from a particular point of view, an image shows more than what can actually be seen.” My practice, Dancing Sculptures, suggests looking at dance dramaturgy as a perspective, presenting simultaneously a particular view of the moving body and a multiplicity of representations within its contractile design of sculptural bodily assemblages.
Stefania Mylona has submitted a practice-based PhD thesis in performance entitled Dancing Sculptures: Contractions of an Intercorporeal Aesthetic at the University of Surrey where she has also lectured in dance. She has presented her work at international conferences (PSI, CSSD, NYU) and London venues (BBT, RHDT, the Siobhan Davies Studios). She holds an MA in EDTP from Laban and a BA in dance from Greece. Her studies were funded by the State Scholarships Foundation of Greece (I.K.Y).
Nakajima, Nanako
(Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and koosil-ja)
Dance Dramaturgy as the Process of Learning: koosil-ja’s mech[a]OUTPUT
Noh Theatre is recognized as an intangible property of Japan; however, it is difficult for the contemporary audience to appreciate classic noh. In order to provide broader access to noh, koosil-ja’s mech[a]OUTPUT (2007, NY Japan Society) develops a hyperlink to our contemporary life. To translate “Dojoji” play of noh, koosil-ja integrates sources of elements into the corporate network: movements in monitors spread around stage, temple setting rendered in 3D game space, character’s emotional are represented in a video installation. During the performance, koosil-ja copies and decodes this distributed information. This lecture-demonstration shows how the process of learning epitomizes its dance dramaturgy.
Nanako Nakajima is a dance researcher and traditional Japanese dance teacher, and has been a Jacobs Pillow 2006 Research Fellow, and visiting scholar at Tisch School NYU 06. Nanako works as a dramaturg and her work with luciana achugar was awarded 06–07 New York Dance and Performance Awards. With the support of DAAD scholarship, she completed her dissertation entitled Aging Body in Dance: Comparative Cultural Analysis of Yvonne Rainer, Hanayagi Toshinami, and Kazuo Ohno at Free University Berlin.
Nixon, Sarah
(University of Toronto)
The Dance Dramaturg as Visual Historian
This paper examines the function played by visual imagery in “outside eye” dance dramaturgy. The case in point is a 2004 restaging of Canadian choreographer Holly Small’s Ophelia wherein the dramaturgical mandate was to help situate the character, in a performative, historical-cultural sense, for the young dancers who had been chosen to embody her alienation, despair, and ultimate fatal surrender to madness. The dramaturgical investigation explored the long story of Ophelia iconography from her tenth-century mythopoeic beginnings in Iceland, to her enigmatic Shakespearean resurrection, through her transformation to fraught romantic heroine, to pseudo-medieval pre-Raphaelite figure, to a demonic fin-de-siècle reincarnation and beyond.
Sarah Nixon, a doctoral candidate (ABD) at the University of Toronto, has taught in the dance departments at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and Florida State University, and has served as the Graduate Student Member of the SDHS Board of Directors. Her research centres on dance and death, dance and trauma, and dance and political resistance. Her dissertation investigates the bal des victimes, a transgressive social dance phenomenon that occurred in Directory-era Paris.
Norman, Tracey
(York University)
PERsentation #5 Locally Sourced Dances
Locally Sourced Dances, a PERsentation facilitated by dance artists Susan Lee and Tracey Norman, presents their recent research into creating dances by sourcing local landscapes. This is a four-part workshop beginning with a short lecture outlining the conceptual bases of the research and a description of the creative processes they have developed to this point. The second part is the facilitation of a creative process workshop for the conference attendees, sampling ideas and exercises used in Lee and Norman’s creative research. Lee and Norman will then perform an excerpt of choreography, followed by a group discussion of the work.
Tracey Norman is an independent dance artist based in Toronto with a focus on creating interdisciplinary work. She splits her time between choreographing, teaching, interpreting and facilitating dance. As a choreographer, Tracey’s work has been presented by many Canadian organizations including, DanceWorks, Dance Ontario, Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre, York Dance Ensemble, Season Finale of Series 8:08, Kinetic Studio (Halifax), Festival de Danse en l’Atlantique (Cap-Pele, NB), fFIDA, HowDareShe Productions, and Larchaud Dance Project. She has performed in works by other independent choreographers, including Jesse Dell, Darcey Callison, Larchaud Dance Project, Meagan O’Shea, Leah Archambault, Suzanne Miller, and Ali Gratian. She recently received her MFA in dance from York University and is currently a part-time faculty member in York’s Dance Department. She is the Alternative Technique Class Program Manager and Outreach Coordinator for Series 8:08. Tracey works as a dramaturg/outside eye to several artists, teaches dance at local studios, and is a board member for the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists. www.traceynorman.com
O’Brien, Caroline
(Ryerson Theatre School / National College of Art and Design, Dublin)
The Magic of Dress: Rudolf Nureyev and Nicholas Georgiadis re-imagine Petipa’s Sleeping Beauty
The collaboration between Rudolf Nureyev and Nicholas Georgiadis in 1972 to create the garments worn by the fairies and princes, regents and court attendants in Sleeping Beauty was essential to the success of the dance and brought ballet audiences across North America to their feet. Georgiadis understood how to recreate the imperial court through dress, and the magic and enchantment of the fairytale personified his vision. The combined passions of these two collaborators remains visible today through a close look at the costumes still worn by ballet dancers almost forty years after the premiere that catapulted Canada’s National Ballet to international recognition.
Caroline O’Brien worked as the resident costume designer at Canada’s National Ballet School for many years while maintaining a rich freelance career in costume design for dance. A long-time collaborator with Peggy Baker, Caroline has worked with many independent dance artists in Toronto and around the world, and has several credits with major companies including the National Ballet of Canada and the Royal Ballet Covent Garden. Most recently she is working on a doctoral research project, which explores the ways we cultivate feminine identity in Western Culture through the ballerina.
Ochi, Yuma
(Waseda University)
(Not) Dancing with Capitalism: A Study of Jérôme Bel’s The Show Must Go On
While their political stances may be subtle, certain choreographers create their works in a way that seems to regard capitalist ideology as a kind of catalyst. From this perspective, I reflect on Jérôme Bel’s “The Show Must Go On” (2001). This work involves popular music, which T. W. Adorno condemned as a part of the “culture industry” based on capitalism. According to Adorno, popular music regresses and oppresses people by creating pseudo-desires. In my presentation, I examine whether Adorno’s pessimistic opinion is justified. Bel provides an ambiguous or conditional answer to this issue, focusing on the listener-spectator at the theater.
Yuma Ochi is a doctoral student of theater and film studies at Waseda University, a researcher at the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum Global COE PROGRAM, and member of the Japanese Society for Dance Research. A scholar of French contemporary dance, Ochi’s publications include The Gesture of Anti-Spectacle: On the Notion of “Non-danse” and Influence of American Post-Modern Dance in France: Activity of Quatuor Albrecht Knust. In 2010, Ochi invited Jérôme Bel to give a public lecture at Waseda University.
Odhiambo, Seónagh
(CSULA (Choreographer/Curator))
PERsentation #6 Healing Water: Dramaturgical Strategy in a Collaborative Process
[This PERsentation involves the audience in analyzing a twenty-minute section of a dance about healing the LA River before participating in a dramaturgy workshop. The metaphor of the LA River and the healing properties of water each became a particular focus for creating dance movement. The dancers were challenged to conceptualize the LA River as a conduit of culture and connectivity. Its shoreline provides a potential gathering place, and water that runs through it is likewise a means of connecting different parts of the city. As the curator/choreographer slowly introduced and incorporated photographs and video of underwater life, found objects, and indigenous perspectives, musician Bennie Maupin rehearsed with and became inspired by the dancers, the choreography, and by our company members’ personal/cultural healing processes, many of which mirror water’s most adaptive properties. As the movement grew, the dancers respectfully listened to local, global, and indigenous perspectives on water, considering what lies both spatially and temporally downstream.
The dramaturgical strategy is connected to the movement/music creation process. After the performance, audience members are invited to participate as collaborators, and to contribute cultural perspectives that shape how people view and interact with water, be it as a commodity, a resource, a form of spiritual embodiment, a reminder of how all life on the planet is interrelated, and more. Some objects and stories from the LA River inform this dance “event,” but we also believe the piece adapts to each new environment. Together, we will explore the roles of culture and poetics in supporting a water-based ecology, using techniques honed in the choreography process to conceptualize a sensory experience of water’s potential.
Seónagh Odhiambo has presented numerous dances at venues throughout the United States, Canada, and in Edinburgh. Odhiambo sees dance as an event that brings movement traditions and social concerns into contact. She seeks opportunities to engage audiences’ and dancers’ embodied and sensory reflections on their own agency. As the Fisher Center Fellow (2006–2007), she choreographed Sand and Bone at a New York college, asking dancers and audiences to reflect on the embodiment of historical meaning. She then held a faculty position in Theatre Arts at Transpacific Hawaii College. While there she received a Youth Project Grant (2008) to bring together Japanese theatre students with homeless Micronesian people, and develop a performance that connected homelessness to US nuclear destruction of Micronesian islands. In 2009 Odhiambo moved to Los Angeles for a faculty position in dance at CSULA and started her own company, Asava Dance. She was awarded a Canada Council grant for dance (2009–2010), which enabled her to complete a residency in Canada and choreograph a piece called “Healing Water” (2010). Odhiambo holds a PhD in dance from Temple University.
Odom, Selma
(York University)
Adolphe Appia, Catalyst for Movement Invention
Among the historic antecedents for what is now termed dance dramaturgy, the case of designer-theorist Adolphe Appia stands out. He immersed himself in the emerging practices of Émile Jaques-Dalcroze after seeing a 1906 demonstration of the composer’s methods of integrating movement into music study. Appia participated in Dalcroze’s first courses for teachers, published articles based on insider knowledge, and created “rhythmic spaces”—large drawings of steps, inclines, platforms, and pillars—to visualize environments for the moving human body. This paper argues that both artists benefited from an unprecedented dramaturgy that transformed rhythmic movement into what Appia called a “living art.”
Selma Odom was founding director of the first graduate program in Canada to offer an MA in dance and PhD in dance studies. Her articles and reviews have appeared in many publications since the 1960s, and she co-edited the anthology Canadian Dance: Visions and Stories (2004). Her research focuses on teachers and oral transmission in dance and music. Current writing projects include a study of people and practice in Dalcroze Eurhythmics.
Osweiler, Laura
(University of California, Riverside)
The Introduction of Middle Eastern Dance into the United States
This paper examines the introduction of Middle Eastern dance into the United States during the Expositions in Philadelphia (1876) and in Chicago (1893) in order to understand how the socio-political situations and performing contexts impacted the dance and dancers. These Middle Eastern dancers performed in a time and place where they were seen and not heard—where Exposition directors, journalists, and scientists spoke for and about them. Official accounts did not record the changes dancers made in adapting to new settings and audiences. Instead, they cultivated an image of Middle Eastern dance as authentic, traditional, and static.
Laura Osweiler is a doctoral candidate in Dance History and Theory at UC Riverside and teaches Middle Eastern dance at dance studios in Austin. She is a professional dancer whose repertory includes traditional dances of the Middle East, belly dance, and experimental Middle Eastern dance. In addition, she is Director of Ya Helewa! Dance Company, and Producer of “An Evening of Experimental Middle Eastern Dance” concerts and “X-MED” workshops.
Pada, Lata
(SAMPRADAYA Dance Creations / York University)
Does Bharatanatyam Have an Identity Crisis? Finding Meaning and Context in the Diaspora
How does bharatanatyam negotiate notions of ‘tradition’ and ‘authenticity’ within its own cultural South Asian Diaspora? Moreover, how does it position itself as a legitimate world art form in professional dance globally? In this presentation, I discuss the many dialectics, including tradition/innovation, local/global, and classical/contemporary, that challenge the definitions and understanding of this dynamic and rapidly evolving art form. In this paper, I attempt to reach a critical but often elusive understanding of the question: what is contemporary in Indian dance? Such discussion inevitably leads to other more difficult questions: what are the markers/criteria that distinguish the ‘contemporary’ in Indian dance and where does the privilege of ‘definition’ lie—with the creator or the consumer, critic or, dare I say, funder?
Lata Pada, Founder and Artistic Director of SAMPRADAYA Dance Creations, Canada’s award-winning South Asian professional dance company, has forged a unique niche in Canadian dance with her distinctive choreography and visionary leadership. She holds an MFA in dance from York University and is an adjunct professor in the Master’s Program of Dance at York University. In January 2009, Lata received the Order of Canada and has the distinction of being the first South Asian artist to hold this prestigious honour. In January 2011, Lata was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the President of India, an award given to non-resident Indians for their lifetime achievements.
Parfitt-Brown, Clare
(University of Chichester)
Current Problems and Methods in Dance Reconstruction: Focus on Cross-Cultural and Social Dance Reconstruction
[This roundtable will begin with presentations by the conveners, in which they describe their own experiences with reconstruction of social dance and/or dance in a cross-cultural context and present the methodological problems encountered and strategies employed in the face of these issues. The speakers discuss reconstruction work with dances of the ragtime era, mambo of the 1950s, and the cancan of the 1820s and 1830s. Audience participants are asked to talk about their own experiences in and questions about dance reconstruction in these varied contexts.]
Clare Parfitt-Brown is Senior Lecturer in Dance at the University of Chichester, UK. Her research focuses on the cultural histories of popular dance practices, particularly the cancan, the focus of her doctoral research. She is Chair of the Society of Dance History Scholars Working Group on Popular, Social, and Vernacular Dance. Clare has co-authored the book Planning Your PhD, and published in Research in Dance Education and the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media.
Peters, Paula J.
(University of Washington)
Jack Cole and the Synergistic Unity of American Jazz Dance Technique
Jack Cole was a pivotal figure in the creation of American Jazz Dance technique classes. However, controversy exists over whether or not he developed a technique, and if current forms of jazz dance are techniques or styles. Based on embodied research, oral history interviews, and archival research, I argue for Jack Cole’s role as an originator of the first jazz dance technique class. I discuss the synergistic unity of elements necessary to develop a complete picture of American Jazz Dance technique and present these arguments using visual clips of Cole’s choreography, as well as a brief live demonstration.
Paula J. Peters received her MFA in dance at the University of Washington in 2011. Prior to completing her BFA at Cornish College of the Arts in 2007, Peters performed with Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle from 1991–2005. She has taught at the University of Washington, Cornish College of the Arts, Dance Fremont, and Cornish Preparatory Dance. Ms. Peters’ current research investigates the deep African American movement aesthetics present in American Jazz Dance.
Pierce, Ken
(Longy School of Music)
Using a Dance Historian’s Approach as a Guiding Concept in Stage Direction
Stage directors see in theatrical texts a basis for developing a personal or contemporary point of view that will lead to a novel production—ideally one that will appeal to today’s audiences. Dance historians, on the other hand, seek to understand and reveal the point of view of dancers and choreographers long gone, and, insofar as it is possible, to recover the contexts of works created by others. These different approaches may be reconciled if the stage director can accept an historically informed approach as a valid point of departure, and one that is true to the essence of the work in question.
Ken Pierce has specialized in early dance — especially, late-Renaissance and Baroque dance — for over twenty-five years as choreographer, reconstructor, performer, and teacher. He has performed with early dance companies on both sides of the Atlantic, and his choreographies have been presented at workshops and festivals in Europe, Canada, and the United States. He directs the early dance program at the Longy School of Music (Cambridge, Massachusetts).
Preston, Sophia
(University of Ulster)
Music as Dramaturgy for Dance
Mark Morris doesn’t use a dramaturg; he doesn’t need to, because music (from which he derives both structural coherence and context) acts as his dramaturg. Akram Khan frequently includes a dramaturg in his creative team, and did so for Vertical Road (2010), yet the majority of UK reviews were in agreement that the “exquisite and thrilling” choreography was let down by an incoherent structure. A comparison of Morris’s Grand Duo with Khan’s Vertical Road reveals marked differences in the relationships between the dance and the music, which have a profound effect on the success of the dramaturgy of each.
Sophia Preston’s first degree was in music, and she was a professional double-bass player for many years, specializing in contemporary music. After being principal bass for London Contemporary Dance Theatre and Ballet Rambert, she took an MA in dance studies (with distinction) and a PhD (investigating relationships between music and dance in the work of Siobhan Davies) at the University of Surrey. Sophia has lectured in dance analysis and history at the University of Surrey, the University of Copenhagen and, since 2005, the University of Ulster, where she is Course Director for Dance.
Preston, Virginia
(Stanford University)
Fire in the Soul: Claude de l’Estoile’s ballet de cour, Episodic Composition, and the Racial Erotics of Globalization
[This panel engages experimental historiographies of race in movement, from the casting of Othello, to narratives of danced possession and the Haitian revolution, to court ballet’s staging of merchants’ encounters at sea. In re/considering archival evidence and textual representation, we place danced histories in productive tension, investigating controversies regarding the excesses and identities of historical actors and performers. Our papers examine dance’s critical legacies, including melodrama, revolutionary myth and the episodic plot. We address the recurrence and disappearance of gendered and racialized bodies in historical dance, the erasure of religiosity, and representations of historical subjects in changing configurations of statehood.] Claude de l’Estoile’s “Le ballet du naufrage joyeux” begins with the question “Where am I?” and concludes with a scene in which an alchemist burns Moors to death in his furnace or flask. My study of this court ballet asks whether the dance frames a larger mercantile and colonial project, articulated in both racial and sexual terms, as the self-conscious performance of a quest for knowledge. Addressing the ballet’s conclusion through its representations of alchemy and desire, I address aspects of the racial and religious history of the performance through cultural histories of conquest and the episodic plot.
Virginia Preston is a PhD candidate in the Department of Drama at Stanford. Her work addresses dance and performance studies, historiography, affect, and political performance. Currently based in San Francisco, she will be working on archival research in fall 2011, examining records of seventeenth century ballet de cour, globalization, and travel narratives, through a residency at Cité internationale des arts in Paris. She currently serves as graduate student representative for SDHS.
Profeta, Katherine
(Queens College, CUNY)
(roundtable) Dramaturgical Reports from the Field
In this roundtable discussion, Thomas DeFrantz, Katherine Profeta, and Talvin Wilks examine the evolution, labor, questions, and discoveries of their longstanding collaborations with three visionary contemporary choreographers: Donald Byrd, Ralph Lemon, and Bebe Miller, all of whom have traveled extensively through the landscape of post-modernism, race, culture, and aesthetics. Taking into account their dual roles as collaborators in the rehearsal room and subsequent historians of process and practice, the roundtable participants consider how the dramaturgical process resonates with the choreographer’s expectations and the audience’s experience, as well as where else the resonance may lie when the dramaturgical investigation goes afield. Their discussion exposes moments of difficulty and unexpected communication, and in so doing, helps to sketch the limits and potential of the dramaturgical craft. Works to be discussed include The Sleeping Beauty Notebook (Donald Byrd, choreographer; premiere DTW 2005); Come Home Charley Patton (Ralph Lemon, choreographer; premiere Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 2004) and How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere? (Ralph Lemon, choreographer; premiere Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 2010); Verge (Bebe Miller, choreographer; premiere, 651Arts/BAM Harvey Theatre, 2001) and Landing/Place (Bebe Miller, choreographer; premiere, Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 2005).
Katherine Profeta is a New York City-based dramaturg who has worked with Ralph Lemon since 1996; other collaborators have included Julie Taymor, Frederick Wiseman, David Thomson, Theatre for a New Audience, and most recently Alexandra Beller. She is also a founding member and choreographer for Elevator Repair Service (http://www.elevator.org/). Profeta holds an MFA and DFA from the Yale School of Drama. She is currently Assistant Professor in the Drama, Theatre, and Dance department at Queens College, CUNY.
Pullen, Kirsten
(Texas A&M University)
Embodied Aggies: Performance and Tradition at Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University (TAMU) was founded in 1876 to educate Texas men in military and agricultural arts. Though the university officially desegregated in 1963 and admitted its first full-time female students a year later, TAMU has been proudly associated with the US military, patriarchy, and conservative values for over 125 years. “Aggie” identity is written on and through the body, and is especially evident in the performance repertoire of “Yells”—inspirational chants and gestures enacted by the crowd to support TAMU athletic teams. In this paper, I investigate the performance repertoire of Aggie Yells, tracing their links to TAMU’s military history and interrogating their gestural vocabulary in order to determine their importance in maintaining an Aggie tradition.
Kirsten Pullen is Assistant Professor of Performance Studies and Director of Graduate Studies at Texas A&M University where she teaches classes in performance theory, performance history, and intercultural performance. Her book, Actresses and Whores: On Stage and In Society (Cambridge UP, 2005) demonstrates how some women willingly occupy the whore position in order to offer alternative narratives of female sexual expression. Her current book project, Like a Natural Woman: Spectacular Female Performance in Classical Hollywood (Rutgers UP, forthcoming 2012), examines how the embodied nature of performance undermines the assumed conservativism of Naturalism.
Roberts, Andrea
(The School of Toronto Dance Theatre / York University)
Dancing Between The Lines: "Teaching" Interpretation In A Post-Secondary Setting
This paper examines the function of rehearsal direction / dance dramaturgy in the context of a post-secondary conservatory program. A rehearsal director facilitates the transfer of ideas between the choreographer and the dancers, acting as both aide and guide. The paper will present the author’s observations, experiences, and insights with regard to the “teaching” of interpretation in a process with dancers who would not necessarily have been hired by a particular choreographer. The presentation will also look at the specific challenges of doing this work in a school setting, and will focus mainly on issues of intention, negotiation and translation.
Andrea Roberts graduated from the School of Toronto Dance Theatre in 1997, where she currently works as an administrator and rehearsal director. As a rehearsal director/assistant, Roberts has been involved in the creative process for both new works and remounts by more than twenty choreographers. Over the past decade, she has become increasingly interested in discovering her artistic voice through improvisation and theatre training. She recently completed a master’s degree in dance at York University.
Robinson, Danielle
(York University)
Current Problems and Methods in Dance Reconstruction: Focus on Cross-Cultural and Social Dance Reconstruction
[This roundtable will begin with presentations by the conveners, in which they describe their own experiences with reconstruction of social dance and/or dance in a cross-cultural context and present the methodological problems encountered and strategies employed in the face of these issues. The speakers discuss reconstruction work with dances of the ragtime era, mambo of the 1950s, and the cancan of the 1820s and 1830s. Audience participants are asked to talk about their own experiences in and questions about dance reconstruction in these varied contexts.]
Danielle Robinson, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Dance at York University. Her scholarly work on the intercultural movement of African diasporic dances has been published in Dance Theatre Journal (UK), Dance Research Journal (USA), Dance Chronicle (USA), Dance Research (UK), and Research in Dance Education (UK). Her research has been supported by SSHRC (Canada) and the Leverhulme Trust (UK). In 2011–12, she will be a visiting fellow at Chichester University (UK).
Rossen, Rebecca
(University of Texas at Austin)
The New Jewish Dance in America: Jewish Dance, Ethnic Dance, Modern Dance
[This panel examines the formation of “ethnic dance” as a concept and a practice within twentieth-century American modern dance; interrogates the critical, aesthetic, and social significance of the term to artists, audiences, and critics; and explores the problems and possibilities that “ethnicity” posed to the development of American modernism. Collectively, we investigate how early to mid-century American dance artists invented unique processes of research, presentation, and education, and delineate the politics at play in staging ethnicity on the American concert stage.] In the mid-1930s, dancer/choreographer/ethnographer Dvora Lapson dubbed herself a “pioneer of the new Jewish dance.” This paper examines how “Jewish dance” emerged in the 1930s as a category that drifted between ethnic and modern dance, just as American Jews hovered between outsider and insider, foreign and native-born. Such uncertainty impacted the kinds of dances that Jewish choreographers created and how critics evaluated them. While some were able to transcend ethnicity through the universalism of modern dance, others were ghettoized by their manifest Jewishness. By embracing, rather than rebuffing, Jewishness, Lapson aimed to expand definitions of modern dance and contribute to a more pluralistic America.
Rebecca Rossen is an assistant professor in the Performance as Public Practice Program at the University of Texas at Austin. Her most recent publications include “Chassidic Drag,” an essay on the dances of Pauline Koner and Hadassah in Feminist Studies (summer 2011), and “Uneasy Duets,” an essay in TDR: The Drama Review (fall 2011). She is currently completing a book, Dancing Jewish: Jewish Identity in American Modern and Postmodern Dance.
Rudakoff, Judith
(York University)
Home is Not a Place: Dramaturging Transcultural Physical Theatre
From 2006–2009, I initiated and dramaturged a series pieces under the umbrella of a larger multidisciplinary, transcultural, international creative research project entitled Common Plants: Cross Pollinations in Hybrid Reality (www.yorku.ca/gardens). This project worked with artists and community members on four continents in creative response work that included text, movement, vocal work, and photography in many combinations, and showcased samples of the work on the project website. My paper introduces and contextualizes a selection of these pieces that were created and performed by participants from South Africa and Cuba, themed to explore diverse concepts of home using transcultural dramaturgical methods that I conceived and applied.
Judith Rudakoff is an award-winning developmental dramaturg who has worked with emerging and established playwrights and artists on four continents. A recent project, Common Plants: Cross Pollinations in Hybrid Reality, is a transcultural, multidisciplinary creative research project. Her play The River premiered at Nakai Theatre in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory in 2011. Judith is a member of Playwrights Guild of Canada, and Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, and is a professor of theatre at York University.
Ryman, Rhonda
(York University / University of Waterloo)
Dramaturgy in Petipa’s Sleeping Beauty with reference to the Violente Variation
The fairy godmothers who feature in the fairytale, The Sleeping Beauty, also feature in Petipa’s ballet of the same name (1890), but their gifts in the latter are strikingly different. The example of the character of the fifth fairy, Violente, is examined for clues to this puzzle. Symbols from the design of her original costume lead towards an alchemical interpretation, which later plays out in the drama of the life of the Princess Aurora herself. Three Dance Forms animations of the Violente variation as notated over the past century (Stepanov, ca1890s-1918; Benesh, 1955, 1983) illustrate how the original symbolism has been lost.
Rhonda Ryman, Adjunct Professor, York University, and Professor Emerita, University of Waterloo, uses notation and DanceForms animation to document classical ballet.
Sabee, Olivia
(The Johns Hopkins University)
A Shift in Repertoire at the Ballets Russes
Although the initial appeal of the Ballets Russes was based in exoticism, the company’s repertoire shifted quickly from being exclusively Russian themed to a more international approach. This transition accompanied a major widening of the Ballets Russes’s audiences, which were not dependent on the aristocracy, like those of many other European companies. Run independently from the state, the company was constantly struggling financially and had to cater to audience desires as tastes shifted toward dance as commodity. These changes had an inevitable impact on the repertoire, as well as on the development and dissemination of the non-narrative and non-nationalist ballet.
Olivia Sabee is currently a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins University, where she is writing a dissertation on the relationship between French and Russian ballet from Noverre to the Ballets Russes. Prior to attending Hopkins, she studied French Literature at the University of Chicago, where she received her bachelor’s degree. She has also served as a ballet instructor at Baltimore Ballet, the University of Chicago, and the Joffrey Ballet Academy.
Sacchetti, Clara
(Lakehead University)
Representations of Multicultural Dance in Photographic Images
Our paper explores the tensions embedded in the photographic images of multicultural dance in the city of Thunder Bay (Ontario, Canada) in the 1980s. Informed by Nicholas Mirzoeff’s (2002) work on the transversal glance, we showcase the interrelationships between conflicting notions of ethnicity, gender, and race within the locally constituted discourse of multiculturalism. We explore these themes through an analysis of the compositional framing and subject matter of “ethnic,” “folk,” and “national” dance photographs appearing in Northern Mosaic, a free, widely available, and local multicultural magazine.
Clara Sacchetti is an adjunct professor in the Department of Philosophy and a Research Fellow of the Advanced Institute for Globalization and Culture at Lakehead University. Her publications in Migration Letters (forthcoming), Italian Canadiana, and Where is the Field (forthcoming edited collection) ethnographically explore the connections between notions of ethnicity, gender, class, and identity in Thunder Bay. She, along with Batia Stolar and Allana Lindgren, is currently investigating the problematic of multicultural dance in Canada.
Sakamoto, Michael
(Goddard College)
PERsentation #7 Ohno Stands: A Case Study in Auto-Ethnography and Research-Based Practice
This lecture-demonstration displays and critiques the author’s transdisciplinary methodology of dance practice and scholarship, exploring the aesthetic mechanics of and socio-cultural influences on the scholar-artist entity. Through the dialectic juxtaposition of the author’s visual-performative engagement with butoh for nearly two decades and the form’s interaction with photographic representations, the author engages his ‘scholar’ and ‘artist’ identities as a false binary. Subjective epistemologies, auratic photography, and Sakamoto’s instinctual, improvisational dancing body are combined to reveal a potentially mytho-poetic, social imaginary underlying transnational butoh practice. This presentation runs for twenty-five minutes and is followed by a twenty-minute discussion.
Michael Sakamoto is a performance and media scholar-artist, educator, and arts manager. His work has been presented in Japan, Thailand, Mexico, and throughout Europe and North America. Michael’s research interests include interdisciplinary art, butoh, contemplative movement, spirit ritual, and the relationship between photography and embodiment. He is Faculty Advisor in Goddard College’s MFA-Interdisciplinary Arts program and has taught courses and workshops in butoh dance and interdisciplinary performance at universities and colleges internationally. www.michaelsakamoto.com.
Sandlos, Lisa
(York University)
Dancing Bodies in the Hypersexual World of Competitive Dance
Young female dancers’ bodies have become increasingly and alarmingly eroticized in dance competitions across North America over the last decade. In this paper, I use methods of ethnographic participant/observation and interviews combined with feminist theoretical analysis to identify issues arising from the following critical questions: How do cultural and social constructions of young female bodies shape the dramaturgical processes and training practices of dance choreographers, instructors, and competition producers? What personal life narratives emerge for the dancers as a result of performing hypersexual roles on stage, often beginning at six or seven years of age?
Lisa Sandlos is on faculty at York University in the Department of Dance and the School of Kinesiology where she teaches modern dance technique, improvisation, and Pilates. Sandlos has taught modern dance and creative movement to students of all ages and levels for over two decades, working extensively in public schools through the Ontario Arts Council’s Artists in Education program, the National Ballet of Canada’s Creating Dances program, and the Toronto District School Board’s Drama/Dance Project.
Sasso, Julia
(York University)
PERsentations #4 and #9 Skinner Releasing Technique™ (SRT): Intersections in Training, Creation, Perception, and Performance, Session #1
Two ninety-minute workshops introducing conference participants to the Skinner Releasing Technique™ (SRT) followed by a sixty-minute panel discussion of the potential of the form as it relates to the proposed intersections.
Julia Sasso is an established choreographer, performer, master teacher, and artistic mentor. Her choreography has been commissioned and presented throughout Canada, in the United States, and abroad. Highly regarded as a teacher of contemporary dance techniques, Sasso has taught at distinguished learning centres worldwide. She is a faculty member of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Professional Training Program and York University’s Department of Dance.
Schwadron, Hannah
(University of California, Riverside)
The Ruse of the Jewish Exotic and the Special Case of the Sexy Jewess
This paper addresses the ruse of the Jewish Exotic in the contemporary stagings of US Jewish female performers working in sexy and funny performance modalities. It introduces a range of techniques employed to approach the limits/boundaries of (acceptable) Jewish femininity, as well as those historical and cultural contexts that position Jewish female performers as funny girls with sex appeal. In the aesthetics chosen for the stage and screen, the argument tracks an Americanized brand of Jewface yiddishims and asks how parodic plays with difference both strategize and structure what’s suddenly sexy for Jewish girls and their audiences.
Hannah Schwadron is a PhD student in critical dance studies at the University of California, Riverside, where she also completed an MFA in experimental choreography. Her choreographic and scholarly interests focus on Jewish female performance aesthetics that parody relationships to race, class, gender, self, and body. In addition to doctoral research, Hannah performs improvisation with Susan Rose and Dancers, directs the undergraduate Gluck Dance Touring Ensemble, and teaches yoga in downtown Riverside.
Schwartz-Bishir, Rebecca
(Independent Scholar)
The Specialist Ballet Composer as Dance Dramaturg: Creator of Performance, Integrator of Texts, Documenter of Memory
Nineteenth-century specialist ballet composers were essential to the development of dramaturgical conventions that serve dance to the present day. This paper discusses how these composers collaborated with choreographers to create dances, how they integrated choreography with music texts, and how, through their music, they documented balletic spectacle. My analysis of specific musico-choreographic examples from Herman von Løvenskjold and August Bournonville’s La Slyphide (1836) and Ludwig Minkus and Marius Petipa’s La Bayadère (1877) illustrates the dramaturgical nature of the nineteenth-century specialist ballet composer’s work, and points out the ways in which these composers continue to influence modern dramaturgical practice.
Rebecca Schwartz-Bishir is a specialist in the relationship of music and movement in nineteenth- and twentieth-century ballet, and holds a PhD in historical musicology from the University of Michigan. Among her publications are “Musical Expression in the 19th-Century Ballet Variation,” in the forthcoming Where is the Dance? From the Inside, Reaching Out: Recent Scholarship in Dance, and the entry on Sarah Kaufman and fifteen other biographies in the Grove Dictionary of American Music, Second Edition.
Scolieri, Paul
(Barnard College, Columbia University)
‘Staging the World’: Ted Shawn’s Ethnic Dramaturgy
[This panel examines the formation of “ethnic dance” as a concept and a practice within twentieth-century American modern dance; interrogates the critical, aesthetic, and social significance of the term to artists, audiences, and critics; and explores the problems and possibilities that “ethnicity” posed to the development of American modernism. Collectively, we investigate how early to mid-century American dance artists invented unique processes of research, presentation, and education, and delineate the politics at play in staging ethnicity on the American concert stage.] Ted Shawn, the “Father of American Dance,” was closely involved with the “ethnic dance” movement in the United States—a trend among American choreographers to adapt the techniques and styles of folk, national, or sacred dance traditions for the concert dance stage. This presentation charts the evolution of Shawn’s writings about and dances involving “ethnic” dances. In particular, it examines how “The Father of American Dance” was influenced by the “Father of the Travelogue,” Burton Holmes, who traveled extensively and “brought the world home” through his popular travel books, films, and lectures.
Paul Scolieri, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Dance at Barnard College, Columbia University. He is the 2011–12 Joan Nordell Fellow at the Houghton Library, Harvard University. He is a board member of SDHS.
Scott, Ariel Osterweis
(University of California, Berkeley)
Otherwise in Blackface: Desmond Richardson in American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet’s Othello
Lar Lubovitch choreographed American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet’s co-production of Othello in 1997 and, from outside the companies’ ranks, cast Desmond Richardson in the title role. Subsequent casts were painted in bronze face and body makeup. Creative methodologies borrowed from American film and European opera lend Lubovitch’s production a unique sense of melodrama, on the one hand, and an archaic treatment of race, on the other. Blackface, as it interfaces with—and compulsively tries to recover—Richardson’s distinct virtuosity, becomes the site upon which racial melodrama takes place on the balletic stage. Here Othello is theorized through virtuosity and melodrama’s shared relationships to temporality, excess, and virtue.
Ariel Osterweis Scott is currently completing her PhD in performance studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation is entitled Body Impossible: Dynamics of Race, Sexuality, and Virtuosity in the Dance of Desmond Richardson. A dancer and choreographer, she earned her BA in anthropology from Columbia University. This fall, Scott joins the Maggie Allesee Department of Dance at Wayne State University as Assistant Professor of Dance and Performance Studies.
Seetoo, Chia-Yi
(University of California, Berkeley)
Choreographing the "Contemporary" via Cloud Gate Dance Theater’s Cursive
Taiwan-based Cloud Gate Dance Theater’s Cursive series (2001–2010) sheds light on how “contemporary performance” is played out. The term “contemporary” refers to a process of “becoming contemporaneous with the center/the (First) world.” It marks both Taiwan’s “catch-up” developmentalist modernization path as well as Taiwanese modern dance’s aspiration to compete within Euro-American centres of the international dance world (to be “contemporary dance”). Cursive’s choreography embodies these not only mirroring, but intertwining, markings as it taps into nostalgic feeling for Chinese calligraphic writing practice pitted against Taiwan’s computerization (the IT industry being central to Taiwan’s development since the 1980s) while at the same time taking aesthetic flights off of it.
Chia-Yi Seetoo is a PhD candidate in performance studies at UC Berkeley. Her research interests intersect dance, transnationality, corporeality, and translation. Her dissertation discusses post-1980s modern dance across Taiwan, the Chinese diaspora, and inter-Asia in relation to articulations of identities and in response to modernization and globalization. As a dancer and choreographer, she has been interested in the intersection between dance and video art, and has a growing interest in community art.
Sherman, Stephanie
(UC Berkeley)
Anna’s Blue Doves: Sokolow’s Legacy in Mexico
This paper traces the influence of Jewish American socialist choreographer, Anna Sokolow, on future generations of Mexican choreographers. It examines the cultural and political factors in Mexico and the United States that allowed Sokolow to become “the mother of Mexican modern dance,” and charts Sokolow’s legacy in the choreography of more contemporary artists. My focus is on “Sokolow’s Disciples,” and follow Sokolow’s heritage through the work of contemporary Mexican choreographer, Cecilia Appleton. I also address the relationship between the Mexican dance world’s warm reception of Pina Bausch’s choreography to a pre-existing familiarity with Sokolow’s legacy.
Stephanie Sherman is a doctoral student in performance studies at UC Berkeley, where she focuses on Latin American political dance-theater. She was awarded a Fulbright to choreograph in Ecuador in 2005. She received her MFA in dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2009, and her BA in hispanic studies from Vassar College in 2001. In July of 2010, the National Performance Network selected her as a sponsored artist for their Performing America program.
Simpson, Lauren
(Harvard University)
Where Bodies Dance in the Brain: How Neuroscience Illuminates our Understanding of Expression and Literacy
With the development of non-invasive brain scanners, scientists have been able to track brain activity as it receives and perceives various kinds of stimuli. Neuro-evolutionary theorists cite the co-evolution of physical gesture and human speech as an explanation for how the brain links two seemingly unrelated kinds of stimuli—verbal language and movement—as “one embodied language” in an action-communication-perception network. This new data grounds Howard Gardner’s theory of kinesthetic intelligence in scientific study, and by extension, broadens our notions of education and learning from numeric and textual/spoken literacy to include dance.
Lauren Simpson identifies as a performing artist and teaching artist. She received her MFA in performance and choreography from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2010. Currently she is at Harvard University pursuing an MEd in Arts in Education, focusing on the body and action in learning, creative habits of mind, as well as the higher education institutions’ trend toward building the “Creative Campus.” Lauren’s latest projects include choreographing back-up dances in collaboration with indie rock bands as well as making dance-for-camera music videos. She is grateful to have recently worked closely with teaching artists like Michelle Ellsworth, Erika Randall, Liz Lerman, and Steve Seidel.
Sinclair, Don
(York University)
PERsentation #1 Soundwalking Interactions
This session is the culmination of a creative process whereby Lee, McCartney, and Sinclair worked with four dancers to create a choreography that interacts with sound. In this piece, the dancers move and dynamically manipulate sound in the space, while projecting visualizations of these movements in real time. In this PERsentation, we describe the creative process, perform the choreography, have a discussion with all seven team members about the experience, and lead an improvisation exercise with audience participation. We end with a group discussion that brings in the audience’s reflections on the experience.
Don Sinclair is Associate Professor of Digital Media at York University in Toronto. His interests and creative research include physical computing, wearable computing, interactive sound art, laptop performance, web art, database art, interactive dance, video projection, cycling art, sustainability, and choral singing.
Smith, Kimberley Michelle
(Dancer)
PERsentation #6 Healing Water: Dramaturgical Strategy in a Collaborative Process
This PERsentation involves the audience in analyzing a twenty-minute section of a dance about healing the LA River before participating in a dramaturgy workshop. The metaphor of the LA River and the healing properties of water each became a particular focus for creating dance movement. The dancers were challenged to conceptualize the LA River as a conduit of culture and connectivity. Its shoreline provides a potential gathering place, and water that runs through it is likewise a means of connecting different parts of the city. As the curator/choreographer slowly introduced and incorporated photographs and video of underwater life, found objects, and indigenous perspectives, musician Bennie Maupin rehearsed with and became inspired by the dancers, the choreography, and by our company members’ personal/cultural healing processes, many of which mirror water’s most adaptive properties. As the movement grew, the dancers respectfully listened to local, global, and indigenous perspectives on water, considering what lies both spatially and temporally downstream.
The dramaturgical strategy is connected to the movement/music creation process. After the performance, audience members are invited to participate as collaborators, and to contribute cultural perspectives that shape how people view and interact with water, be it as a commodity, a resource, a form of spiritual embodiment, a reminder of how all life on the planet is interrelated, and more. Some objects and stories from the LA River inform this dance “event,” but we also believe the piece adapts to each new environment. Together, we will explore the roles of culture and poetics in supporting a water-based ecology, using techniques honed in the choreography process to conceptualize a sensory experience of water’s potential.
Kimberley Michelle Smith began her disciplined physical life at the age of four in competitive Karajo Kenpo Karate. At eleven years old, she started to train in ballet at the Collenette School of Dancing in San Marino, CA, where she discovered her love of dance. In addition to ballet, Kimberley trained in jazz, hip hop, and modern dance at Le Studio in Pasadena. Now a dance major at CSULA, Kimberley regularly choreographs and performs for music and dance artists in the Los Angeles area. She has worked as a choreographer for musical artists such as Diverse, Ginger, and Krista Monae. She also performs with SHE dance troupe and is a soloist with Asava Dance.
Sparling, Peter
(University of Michigan)
Dance Dramaturgy as Legacy-Making: The Inheritors of American Modern Dance
Rather than draw lines or argue over definitions of the relatively new (and largely unfamiliar) phenomenon of dance dramaturgy, this presentation reports on the ongoing efforts of my colleagues—the inheritors of Graham, Limon, Cunningham, an associate director to Bill T. Jones, and the country’s top presenters—to build a network of information, historical perspective, and body knowledge for American dance legacies. Perhaps in seeing what they do, we can begin to understand the place (and necessity) for a different kind of dance dramaturg, one who enters into a very different relationship with a body of dance than her/his European counterpart.
Peter Sparling is Thurnau Professor of Dance at University of Michigan and an active independent dance and video artist. A former member of the companies of Martha Graham and José Limón and Artistic Director of Peter Sparling Dance Company, Sparling has collaborated as dancer and choreographer with composers, poets, visual artists, and scientists. He writes for Ballet Review and his screendances are featured at festivals internationally. He has staged Graham’s works in the US and Holland.
Stjernholm, Johan
(Royal Academy of Dance)
Moving through the Virtual: A Dramaturgy of Choreographic Practice and Perception
This paper addresses some of the dramaturgical consequences related to the fact that an increasing number of diverse technologies in recent years have become available and adopted by artists, for the purpose of creating and representing aesthetic embodied practices. As a result, traditional boundaries related to performance, subjectivity, and perception have been challenged. The aim of this paper is to outline some relatively unexplored relations between the processes of creating, performing, and perceiving aesthetic embodied practices. The discussion is based on a phenomenological perspective, and the key concepts include notions of the virtual, the performative, and the abstract.
Johan Stjernholm is Lecturer in Choreography and Performance at the Royal Academy of Dance, teaching and supervising research both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Additionally, Johan is the artistic director for the award winning SpaceEngineering Dance Company. Johan received his PhD in dance studies from University of the Arts London in 2010, and has completed an MA in European dance theatre practice and a BA (Hons) in dance theatre at Laban, London.
Stolar, Batia
(Lakehead University)
Representations of Multicultural Dance in Photographic Images
Our paper explores the tensions embedded in the photographic images of multicultural dance in the city of Thunder Bay (Ontario, Canada) in the 1980s. Informed by Nicholas Mirzoeff’s (2002) work on the transversal glance, we showcase the interrelationships between conflicting notions of ethnicity, gender, and race within the locally constituted discourse of multiculturalism. We explore these themes through an analysis of the compositional framing and subject matter of “ethnic,” “folk,” and “national” dance photographs appearing in Northern Mosaic, a free, widely available, and local multicultural magazine.
Batia Stolar is Associate Professor in the Department of English and a Research Fellow of the Advanced Institute for Globalization and Culture at Lakehead University. Her work on immigrant writing, film, and photography has been published in collections like Image and Territory and Downtown Canada. She is currently researching representations of the immigrant experience in photographic images and is collaborating with Clara Sacchetti and Allana Lindgren on the study of multicultural dance in Canada.
Stoner, Christina
(Dancer)
PERsentation #6 Healing Water: Dramaturgical Strategy in a Collaborative Process
This PERsentation involves the audience in analyzing a twenty-minute section of a dance about healing the LA River before participating in a dramaturgy workshop. The metaphor of the LA River and the healing properties of water each became a particular focus for creating dance movement. The dancers were challenged to conceptualize the LA River as a conduit of culture and connectivity. Its shoreline provides a potential gathering place, and water that runs through it is likewise a means of connecting different parts of the city. As the curator/choreographer slowly introduced and incorporated photographs and video of underwater life, found objects, and indigenous perspectives, musician Bennie Maupin rehearsed with and became inspired by the dancers, the choreography, and by our company members’ personal/cultural healing processes, many of which mirror water’s most adaptive properties. As the movement grew, the dancers respectfully listened to local, global, and indigenous perspectives on water, considering what lies both spatially and temporally downstream.
The dramaturgical strategy is connected to the movement/music creation process. After the performance, audience members are invited to participate as collaborators, and to contribute cultural perspectives that shape how people view and interact with water, be it as a commodity, a resource, a form of spiritual embodiment, a reminder of how all life on the planet is interrelated, and more. Some objects and stories from the LA River inform this dance “event,” but we also believe the piece adapts to each new environment. Together, we will explore the roles of culture and poetics in supporting a water-based ecology, using techniques honed in the choreography process to conceptualize a sensory experience of water’s potential.
Christina Stoner was born and raised in Modesto, CA. She has been dancing since the age of four and has conquered every style she has encountered from ballet to jive. She has danced competitively in the Bay area for ten years, winning gold medals and scholarships along the way. She has studied with choreographers from all genres of dance, such as Mia Michaels, Wade Robson, Marguerite Derricks, and Robert Schultz. She is actively auditioning in the dance world and keeping up with emerging styles. She is continuing her dance education at California State University Los Angeles.
Templeton, Melissa
(University of California, Riverside)
Dancing Black Looking White: Cultural Appropriation and the Politics of Whiteness in Québec
During the 1960s and 1970s, inspired by the increasingly urban, industrial, and secular character of Québec society, Québec artists began to establish their own unique voice. Informing this voice was a decolonization movement that was growing in Québec, which sought to liberate Québec from English Canada. This movement frequently looked to decolonization practices from around the globe for inspiration—especially from cultures of African descent. This paper analyzes Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, a hybrid group that incorporates ballet and jazz to create its own unique aesthetic, within the larger contexts of Québec society and of racial formation in Canada.
Melissa Templeton is a PhD candidate in critical dance studies at the University of California, Riverside. She received her BFA in dance from York University and her BA in western culture and society from Concordia University. Her current research examines Canadian multicultural policies in relation to Québécois identity, racial construction, and African diaspora dance practices. Melissa is a recent recipient of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council fellowship for doctoral research.
Thompson, M.J.
(Montreal/Brooklyn)
She Was Burning! Towards an Experimental Biography of Dancer Louise Lecavalier
This roundtable is an opportunity for those dance researchers who conduct interviews and collect oral histories as part of their research methodology to discuss issues encountered in the process of engaging with a research subject. The convenors briefly discuss their own work, approaching the research interview through the lens of performance, and exploring the metaphor of dramaturgy to move towards a better interview process. An open discussion follows.
M.J. Thompson is a writer and teacher living in Montreal and Brooklyn. In 2010, she was the Lilian S. Robinson Scholar at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University, in Montreal. Her research interests encompass dance, visual art, theories of the body, and everyday life. Her dissertation is entitled “Impure Movement: Mundane Body Techniques in 20th Century Experimental American Choreography” (New York University 2008).
Tomko, Linda J.
(University of California, Riverside)
Staging Encounters between Pasts and Presents: Three North American Productions
To illuminate several approaches to staging dance and bodily movement from the past for diverse purposes and audiences at the turn of the millennium, I draw examples from three productions: Mark Morris’s filmed Dido and Aeneas (1995); the Boston Early Music Festival’s 2005 concert staging of the early 18th-century opera Boris Goudenow; and a 2005 production “Elaborate Measures: Performing the Orient,” at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. I situate the productions and approaches with respect to drives generated by the mid-twentieth century “early music” and “early dance” movements as well as by some subsequent critiques of dance “reconstruction,” and endeavor to think through relationships between past and present in such work.
Linda J. Tomko, PhD, is a historian, performer, and embodier of dances past. She is Associate Professor of Dance at the University of California, Riverside, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in dance and dance studies. Her research focuses on gender and dance in the early twentieth-century United States and, currently, histories and theorization of dance in early eighteenth-century France and England. She is a past president of SDHS, and presently the editor of Pendragon Press’s Dance & Music series.
Trencsényi, Katalin
(Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest / Dramaturgs’ Network, London)
When the Angels Danced with a Dramaturg: Two Case Studies from the Company of Angels, London
The role of the dance dramaturg is relatively new in the UK, therefore it is worth documenting its development. The London-based Company of Angels with the Place: London Contemporary Dance School and Sadler’s Wells have set up a project for young choreographers, the Choreography for Children 2010 Award, which provides them with the chance to work with a dramaturg to create a high quality, new piece for young audiences. My paper follows the journey of the two winning choreographers from the initial concept to the premiere of the new production, documenting and describing the work of the dramaturg in both projects.
Katalin Trencsényi is a London-based dramaturg. She studied at the Academy of Drama and Film, Budapest (MA), the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London (traineeship), and the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest (PhD). As a freelance dramaturg she has worked for the National Theatre (Channels project), read scripts for the Royal Court Theatre, and worked as a production dramaturg or dance dramaturg for many other independent companies. Katalin is President of the Dramaturgs’ Network (UK).
Tzu-Ting, Wang
(Taipei National University of the Arts)
The Training Method and System of Lin Lee-Chen: Moving from a Central Axis
Lin Lee-Chen is the artistic director and choreographer of Legend Lin Dance Theater. With her strong focus on the central axis of the spine and a set class sequence which begins with meditation, she has developed a unique body vocabulary and dance aesthetic in Taiwan. These principles underlie not only dance technique, but are also reflected in the choreography and culture of her company, and anchor a distinctive life philosophy. This study explores Lin’s body-training philosophy and explains her development of a unique body vocabulary and training sequence; moreover, it will provide dance teachers and educators with much-needed reference for training methodology.
Wang Tzu-Ting obtained her BFA from Taipei National University of the Arts in 2007. She continued graduate studies in 2009, and acquired the teacher qualification certificate of Humanity and Arts at the same year. With interests in training method and curriculum development, Wang Tzu-Ting attended Legend Lin Dance Theater as a dancer to experience the unique training methodology in 2008. Tzu-Ting’s research has been presented at Taiwan Education Research Association in Taiwan (2010).
Uytterhoeven, Lise
(University of Surrey)
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Fractured Postcolonial Dramaturgy
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s dance theatre weaves together movement, music, spoken word, visual design, and props into complex webs of meaning. The performers integrate divergent cultural elements from their personal backgrounds into the work. Certain choices Cherkaoui makes in the composition of his works aim to complicate signification, while a fractured dramaturgy of deliberate non-translation and hidden messages implies that the spectator is invited to work towards signification. Cherkaoui exposes cultural biases, encouraging spectators to bridge the gap between cultures. In so doing, he denies both the burden of translation in a postcolonial way, and the burden of signification in a postmodern way.
Lise Uytterhoeven is an AHRC-funded PhD candidate in the Department of Dance, Film, and Theatre at the University of Surrey, focusing on new dramaturgies and active spectatorship with regard to the work of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. She lectures at the University of Surrey and London Studio Centre and is part of the executive committee of the Society for Dance Research.
Vriend, Laura
(University of California, Riverside)
The Oculus, the Aliens, and the Explanatorium: Headlong Dance Theater’s Spatial Dramaturgy
Through an examination of Philadelphia-based dance company Headlong Dance Theater’s (HDT’s) Explanatorium, this paper explores the ways in which space and spatiality shape choreographic and dramaturgical process and outcome. Beginning as a choreographic exploration of the inexplicable Explanatorium, the piece transformed from a work devoted to inexplicability to the Explanatorium when HDT found a venue for the performance—the dome-shaped sanctuary of an abandoned Christian Science church. This paper stresses the spatial specificities of the Rotunda that shaped both the dramaturgical process of the piece as well as the audience’s (ap)perception of choreographic meaning.
Laura Vriend is a doctoral candidate in critical dance studies at the University of California, Riverside. Her dissertation research mines relationships between theories of space and choreographic uses/ideas of space in the site-based work of several Philadelphia-area choreographers. She focuses on how these works perform discourses of spatiality and urbanism and how these discourses alter the spatial text of the city. She will be teaching dance composition at Bryn Mawr College this fall.
Wilks, Talvin
(Director, Playwright, and Dramaturg)
(roundtable) Dramaturgical Reports from the Field
In this roundtable discussion, Thomas DeFrantz, Katherine Profeta, and Talvin Wilks examine the evolution, labor, questions, and discoveries of their longstanding collaborations with three visionary contemporary choreographers: Donald Byrd, Ralph Lemon, and Bebe Miller, all of whom have traveled extensively through the landscape of post-modernism, race, culture, and aesthetics. Taking into account their dual roles as collaborators in the rehearsal room and subsequent historians of process and practice, the roundtable participants consider how the dramaturgical process resonates with the choreographer’s expectations and the audience’s experience, as well as where else the resonance may lie when the dramaturgical investigation goes afield. Their discussion exposes moments of difficulty and unexpected communication, and in so doing, helps to sketch the limits and potential of the dramaturgical craft. Works to be discussed include The Sleeping Beauty Notebook (Donald Byrd, choreographer; premiere DTW 2005); Come Home Charley Patton (Ralph Lemon, choreographer; premiere Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 2004) and How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere? (Ralph Lemon, choreographer; premiere Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 2010); Verge (Bebe Miller, choreographer; premiere, 651Arts/BAM Harvey Theatre, 2001) and Landing/Place (Bebe Miller, choreographer; premiere, Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 2005).
Talvin Wilks is a director, playwright, and dramaturg. He has served as dramaturg for five world premieres with the Bebe Miller Company: Going to the Wall, Verge, Landing/Place (2006 Bessie Award), Necessary Beauty, and the upcoming performance archive, History. He has been a co-writer/co-director/dramaturg for ten productions in Ping Chong’s ongoing series, Undesirable Elements. He is currently writing a book on black theatre, Testament: 40 Years of Black Theatre History in the Making, 1964–2004.
Winerock, Emily F.
(University of Toronto)
Staging Dance in English Renaissance Plays
Although dance in the English court masque has recently received some much-deserved attention, dance references in plays of the same period have remained relatively unexplored. I address this silence by examining dance staging in dramatic works by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, demonstrating how playwrights used dancing to convey a range of character traits and to further plot developments, as well as to denote love, lust, and celebration. The paper concludes with observations on staging movement in modern-day productions of early plays, drawing on my experience as dance consultant for the Toronto-based Shakespeare and the Queen’s Men project.
Emily Winerock is a PhD candidate in history at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation examines the religious and cultural politics of dancing in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. She holds an MA in early modern history from the University of Sussex and an AB in English from Princeton University. She also teaches dance workshops, choreographs for theatre projects, and is active in the Toronto and Chicago Argentine tango, lindy hop, and blues dance scenes.
Witherspoon, Nia Ostrow
(Stanford University)
The Bois Caiman: Searching for the Negress in Alligator Woods
According to colonialist records, the ceremony which catapulted the Haitian Revolution into being was presided over by a priestess (termed “The Negress ”) who, possessed by a divinity, declared that the time was ripe for revolt. As Haitian nationalist histories gained representation, the record of the Negress’s leadership almost disappeared. The feminine, the moving body, and the possession is exorcised and replaced with what appears to be a Marxian political meeting. It was this discrepancy in the records that first sparked my interest in tracing the mis/placement of the “Negress” of the Bois Caiman through an analysis of colonialist, nationalist, and popular (including embodied) narratives.
Nia Witherspoon, from Philadelphia, is an emerging multi-disciplinary artist-scholar. As a PhD candidate in the drama department at Stanford, Nia is currently working on her dissertation, which focuses on the contributions of queer women of color artists in re-membering indigenous epistemological strategies (song, spell, possession, divination), thus envisioning a radical path towards social and environmental justice. Her performance and playwriting work has been showcased at the National Queer Arts Festival, Company of Angels, and La Peña.
Wolf, Sara
(University of California Los Angeles)
Materializing Citizenship: Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A with Flags
During the fall of 1970, Yvonne Rainer and a sextet comprised of members of the Grand Union performed her seminal Trio A while draped in large US flagsÑand nothing else. This paper examines Rainer’s tactical use of naked bodies and flags to register the widening gap between the body politic and the US state during a key moment of divisive politics. I contend that Rainer created a moving speech act that transformed this exemplar of 1960s minimalist dance into a disidentificatory protest while proposing an alternative vision of collectivity based on the materiality of intersecting dancing bodies.
Sara Wolf is a PhD candidate and teaching fellow in UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures. In her dissertation, she uses choreographic analysis to examine a range of dance, performance, and interdisciplinary art projects that interrogate contemporary constructions of citizenship and envision alternative models of collectivity. She has taught dance history at Chapman University, and has developed classes on arts criticism, dance literacy, and “performing citizenship” that she has taught at UCLA.
Wu, Yi-Chen
(University of Exeter)
The energetic lines in performance: the case of CHANCEFORMATION of life: wind, flowers, snow and moon
This paper explores the improvisation dance work CHANCEFORMATION of life: wind, flowers, snow and moon, presented by Image in Motion Theatre Company, Taiwan (2008), and examines how the interpenetrative lines of yin and yang energies spatialize the interrelationships between graspable and ungraspable factors in performance. This paper provides an analysis of how such interactions can be articulated by bringing traditional Chinese cosmology to bear on choreographic invention.
Yi-Chen Wu obtained an MA in sculpture from the University of Southampton and an MA in scenography [dance] from Laban, UK. Since 2003 she has worked as a scenographer in Taiwan. Her design works aim to revive contemporary meanings of traditional folk art in Taiwan. In 2007 her stage design work for A Soldier’s Pay represented Taiwan to exhibit in PQ07, Prague. She is now a PhD candidate at the University of Exeter, the Department of Drama, conducting an intercultural investigation of New Media Art.
Zarif, Sashar
(York University)
Moving with Time: The Dialectics between Form and Content
This paper investigates Sashar Zarif’s own experience in cross-cultural dance practice. Using personal research, experimentation, and visual archives, Zarif introduces a dance-making process by which one might negotiate both form and content within the context of both traditional and contemporary dance practices. Through this process — “a living and moving unity of contradictions” known as dialectic movement, the dancer gradually gains insight into his or her dance. In this presentation, Zarif suggests ways in which the artist does not completely dominate his or her body, but rather allows it to have its own dialectical movements.
Sashar Zarif is an internationally renowned multi-disciplinary artist, educator, and researcher in the field of dance ethnology and ethno-musicology. He is a faculty member in York University’s dance department whose areas of interest are identity, globalization, and cross-cultural collaborations. His research, artistic practice, and education activities are based on the arts of Central and Western Asia including Azerbaijan, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Georgia. Sashar has collaborated with such renowned artists as Alim Quasimov (also a soloist of Yo-yo MA’s Silk Road Ensemble) and Rizwan- Muazzam Qawwali. Sashar has conducted field work/research, directed residencies, taught master classes and workshops, and performed and collaborated across the Americas, Europe, North Africa, Middle East, and Central Asia for over 12 years. He performs nationally and internationally with his company, Sashar Zarif Dance Theatre, and is the recipient of many awards including the New Pioneers Arts Award/Artistic Ambassador for Diversity in Arts), a 2008 Dora Mavor Moore nomination for outstanding performance in his dance creation, Choreographies of Migration, and grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario and Toronto Art Councils.

SDHS publications

Studies in Dance History SDHS’s monograph series, published by University of Wisconsin Press, answers a growing demand for works that provide fresh analytical perspectives on dancing, dancers, and dances in a global context. Read more...

[cover of 2012 Conversations] Issued yearly in early spring generally, Conversations Across the Field of Dance Studies reflects the dynamic and diverse membership of SDHS. We seek to bring you themes and debates current in the field of dance studies and the profession, alongside news from the international community of scholars in dance and related disciplines. Read more...

conferences

Conference 2014: Writing Dancing/Dancing Writing
A Joint Conference of The Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS) and The Congress on Research in Dance (CORD)
13–16 November 2014
Hosted by the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa

Conference 2015 will be held in Athens, Greece. Dates and other details will be available later this Spring.

news

The SDHS Board of Directors election takes place during the final two weeks of February. All SDHS members may vote. Please log in and then click here to view candidates’ biographies. Ballots will be available beginning on Feb. 15.

SDHS announces the November 2013 awards, including de la Torre Bueno Prize® Special Citations.

Proceedings of the 2013 joint NOFOD/SDHS conference are now available.

Proceedings of the Special Topics Conference 2013: “Sacre Celebration: Revisiting, Reflecting, Revisioning” are now available.

Call for proposals for contributions to Conversations Across the Field of Dance Studies: Network of Pointes (Guest Editors: Drs. Kathrina Farrugia and Jill Nunes Jensen). Note that the deadline has been extended to May 15, 2014.

Updated 3 April: Conference announcements and calls for papers

Updated 3 April: Job postings and opportunities for students

Updated 24 February: News and announcements from SDHS members: “The American Society for Theatre Research is now seeking nominations for the Biennial Sally Banes Publication Prize....”

SDHS endorses MLA statement on learning another language

Connect to Amazon.com through this link and a percentage of your purchase will help fund graduate student travel to SDHS conferences.