Scholarly Research Presentations


Tuesday, July 30, 2013


2:00 pm – 3:20 pm: Studio 7
“Exploring Identity” Series

“Dancing Between and Beyond Identity: a Global Performance”
by Elena Quah, York University

Choreographing in Chinese diasporas outside of China forges reinvented and uniquely negotiated identity in light of socio-cultural deployment, emotional refuge, and connection. The artistic progress and outcome perpetuate hybrid dance expressions of geopolitical and temporal-spatial significances specific to the Eastern or Western diasporic terrains. In employing selected choreographies of Lin Huai-Min (founder-artistic director, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, Taiwan) and Wen Wei Wang (founder-artistic director, Wen Wei Dance Society, Vancouver, Canada) as case studies, the presentation offers a glimpse of re-imagined, dual, or multiple identity continually constructed between the ancestral past and the diasporic present – the intrinsic cause that conjures the artists’ signature dance concepts and movements. Central to the study are identity and aesthetical transformations that inspire the presenter’s notion of “new authenticity” in Lin’s local Taiwanese creations, and that of “re-exoticism” and its strategic potency in Wang’s globally receptive repertoires. Apart from engaging the artists’ choreographies to illustrate the research topics, the adoption of cultural theories including Stuart Hall’s concept of “identity” that is “always in progress” (Hall, 1996), and Paul Gilroy’s version of identity as “the changing same” in “coming to terms with the routes” (Gilroy, 1994) provides further methodological channels to substantiate the choreographic choices and actions in discourse. The conclusion posits both artists’ works as “glocalized” products (Robertson, 1997), where the Roland Robertson defined “interpenetrating global political-economic flows and local cultural experiences” are observed as instrumental constitutors of Chinese diaspora identity in 21st century dance.

ELENA QUAH is a PhD student in Dance Studies: Ethnography with York University. She holds an MA degree in Dance, and a BFA degree in Visual Arts from the same University. Simultaneously working towards a Graduate Diploma in Asian studies through the York Asian Research Centre, Quah’s dissertation focuses on comparative case studies of Chinese dance diasporas in Canadian and East Asian soil. Her research examines “creation” and “training-education” in light of cultural influences, socio-political shifts, and changing Chinese identities. Geographies specific to the research potentially span the cosmopolitan fields of Toronto-Vancouver and Hong Kong-Taiwan. Quah is a Toronto-based Chinese dancer-choreographer, and has worked as dance producer, coordinator and publicist in her dance productions and collaborations with dancers and musicians of diverse cultural backgrounds.

  “Continuous R/Evolution of Indian Dance: Retaining and Defining Identity”
by Emma Draves

This research looks at how the transcultural relocation of Indian dance – a form deeply entwined with its cultural and religious pedigree – influences its evolving identity. In particular, I examine the work of artists creating innovative work informed by classical techniques and speaking to contemporary, hybrid experiences.  in many cases, lack of knowledge about the forms contributes to the perception of Indian dance as a sort of museum piece of historical representation/recreation sharply contrasted by its Bollywood counterpart. Audiences do not know how to read performances, and critics do not know how to write about them. Indian dance’s “Otherness” continues to be at the forefront of its perceived identity. To this end, I ask: What more is needed to integrate this work into the arts community of the United States? How can this work retain its identity whilst avoiding being orientalized, exoticised, or appropriated?

Photo by Robin Hill
Photo by Robin Hill

EMMA DRAVES is a dance artist and scholar pursuing research of the r/evolving identity of Indian dance in the United States. She also explores the creation of hybrid choreography: integrating the movement and philosophies of modern and bharatanatyam. The work has been supported by Chicago Dancemakers Forum, Chicago Cultural Center, and Links Hall. This year, she will curate the Braiding Rivers Festival of Contemporary Indian Dance as Artistic Associate of Links Hall. Long a Chicago performer, she has worked with Lookingglass Theatre, Yo-Yo Ma/The Silk Road Project, and Mordine & Co before founding her own Kalpana/Draves Dance. Emma continues to train in bharatanatyam under Guru Hema Rajagopalan and perform with Natya Dance Theater. Emma is on faculty at Columbia College Chicago and Carthage College, and has presented workshops at several midwest universities, the ACDFA, and through residences with the Chicago Public Schools. Emma is an MFA graduate of UW-Milwaukee.

  “Pulsating Value: Examining the Development of Dismissive Attitudes Towards Concert Jazz Dance in 1960s America”
by Erinn Liebhard

Jazz dance has always reflected the temper of the times” (Rag to Rock to Disco, 1979). This statement by seminal American choreographer Gus Giordano captures with clarity the importance of jazz dance to American culture. While this idea is embraced by practitioners of the form, some scholars view concert jazz dance as an increasingly irrelevant art in today’s society. This presentation is focused upon the jazz movement aesthetic in 1960s America, exploring via a historical survey of dance scholarship examined through a sociopolitical lens. Defining the jazz movement aesthetic and identifying its uses in social and presentational dances, the research analyzes the strong presence of the aesthetic in social dance as a linkage to its denigration within presentational concert dance. The analysis posits that formation of increasingly separatist approaches to concert jazz dance during the era as either basely social (i.e. popular) or artistically presentational (i.e. ballet and modern) has had a critical effect upon the development of a dismissive attitude toward the art form. By encouraging better knowledge of the past, this research contributes to efforts toward a shared understanding of what jazz dance is today, and what it will be in the future.

Headshot - Erinn Liebhard Headshot - Photo by Jillian BellERINN LIEBHARD is a choreographer, performer, project coordinator, scholar and teacher passionate about jazz and American vernacular dance forms. She holds a B.F.A. in Dance from the University of Minnesota and is currently an M.F.A. Candidate in Dance at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Liebhard is the Artistic Director of Rhythmically Speaking, an organization supporting and presenting jazz and rhythm-driven dance in the Twin Cities, MN. She has presented choreography throughout the U.S. and Canada, and has trained and performed with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, the Eclectic Edge Ensemble, Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, Karla Grotting, Rennie Harris and Gesel Mason Performance Projects, Zoe Sealy of the former Minnesota Jazz Dance Company, and numerous other notable artists. She is currently a technique and academic course instructor at CU-Boulder.


 2:00 pm – 3:20 pm: Judith R. Marcuse Studio
“Conveying Communication in Communities” Series

   “Art for Social Change: a short presentation and dialogue”
by Judith Marcuse, Simon Fraser University & International Centre of Art for Social Change

As communities face complex and sometimes overwhelming local and global issues, we need fresh, out-of-the-box approaches to problem solving, with strategies that awaken the senses and engage the head, hands and heart. In Canada and around the world, specialized arts initiatives (for example, in dance, creative writing, storytelling, music, theatre, social circus, visual, media and urban arts) are effective and innovative forms of social inquiry and action that are inclusive of and responsive to community concerns. Arts for Social Change (ASC) approaches can address social, economic and environmental issues. In one form of ASC, the artist acts as a catalyst and facilitator to create dialogue, ideas and actions with members of communities who may not usually define themselves as artists. These processes are designed to create insight and new connections between individuals, whole communities and diverse groups as they exchange stories, perspectives, knowledge and understanding through the creation of art. ASC nurtures collective exchange and engagement, and offers experiences that integrate and celebrate imaginative thinking and action. Judith Marcuse will speak about recent developments in the field of ASC in Canada and abroad, including the launch of a large-scale, five-year, national ASC research project that involves artists, researchers, six universities, and community-based NGO’s from across the country.

Headshot - Judit MarcuseJUDITH MARCUSE’s career spans over 40 years of professional work as a dancer, choreographer, director, producer, teacher, writer, consultant, and lecturer in Canada and abroad, most recently in Ecuador. She has created over 100 original works for live performance by dance, theatre, and opera companies as well as for film and television, and has produced seven large-scale, international arts festivals. Her repertory contemporary dance company toured extensively in Canada and abroad for 15 years, while also producing community residencies and youth programs. Among many initiatives her youth- focused, five-year, issue-based ICE, FIRE and EARTH projects involved thousands of youth in workshops, national touring, television production, and community collaborations. Founder and Co-Director of the International Centre of Art for Social Change (, she is a Senior Fellow of Ashoka International. Among many honours, she has received the Lee and Chalmers Canadian choreographic awards and an honorary doctorate.

“Dancing the Voyage Through Time, Place and Culture”
by Marc Kotz, Born 2 Move Movement Adventures

Marc Kotz - Scholar Present 1Artist-Educator Marc Kotz presents excerpts from his recently released video of a one-man, three-part production entitled “Dancing le Voyage: A King, a Priest, and a Fur-Trader”. This work engages audiences through the means of first-person interpretation coupled with historical dance and visual depiction, bringing new dimension to the concept of “edu-tainment”. King Louis the 14th, Father Jacques Marquette, and Fur Trader/Métis Charles de Langlade each tell their stories and dance their dances as a way of discovering / exploring  the French and Native American encounter/ integration that occurred on the North American continent during the 17th and 18th centuries. Emphasis is placed on how dance can be used to convey attitude, perspective and the embodiment of historical personages, who are often “taught about”, but need to be “brought to life” in an immediate and personal way in order to succeed in the conveyance of “cultural legacy”.

MARC KOTZ is a life-long performing artist and teacher who delights in venturing to other cultures and times through the means of dance, theatre, movement, and educational exploration. His career has taken him around the world performing with companies such as the Hartford Ballet and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. He has choreographed over 50 dances, collaborated on 2 dozen musicals/plays/ operas, and has directed/choreographed ten concert-length productions, half of which have original scripts written by him. Marc received a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Iowa as an Iowa Arts Fellow, has taught all ages from pre-school to the aged (including 12 years at the university level), and directs his own arts-integration company Born 2 Move Movement Adventures. LLC.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013


11:30 am – 12:50 pm: Studio 7
“Outreach, Education, and Knowledge” Series

“Break dancing is so sick…not : Identity and b-boys/b-girls in a Toronto High School”
by Catherine Limbertie, York University

When posing questions about the future of dance, thorough consideration must be given to attitudes of youth aged 14 to 18 as this age group is of vital importance when endeavouring to understand their anticipations for the path ahead. In this paper, an Ontario-based dance researcher examines the perceptions of secondary school students at a Toronto high school towards urban or ‘break’ dance and questions generally held views on the importance of dance in general and break dancing in particular as a social instrument for youth outreach in schools. Based on interviews, surveys and observation; the paper argues that dance as social outreach is not universally embraced by the student body and raises questions concerning the role of dance as embodied memory in secondary schools.

CATHERINE LIMBERTIE is an educator, dancer, arts administrator and emerging scholar whose interests lie in investigating the role of dance in Canadian history with a particular emphasis on how dance has formed Ontario society. A member of the Folklore Studies Association of Canada, she has presented her work at the FSAC annual conference, as well as at conferences of the Canadian Society for Dance Studies, the World Dance Assembly and Dance and the Child International. She has published articles on Canadian folklore in specialist journals and a version of her MRP on dance in a Filipino community in Toronto is forthcoming in the proceedings of the 2012 WDA/daCi conference.

“And I Found My Self Here: Dance Knowledge in the 21st Century”
by Duncan Holt, University of Hull

“I am interested in…how much dancers know and how little the rest of the world knows that we know it…” -Lerman, L., 2011; Hiking the Horizontal, Wesleyan University Press

As a Choreologist I view this knowledge as being of evermore importance. In my current Choreographic project – And I Found My Self Here I am in the midst of all the inclusions of performers, movement, sound and space that I was forty years ago. I am now also surrounded by a phalanx of digital video cameras large, small and moving projectors all for a complex of live’ness in performance.

When Cunningham’s four big ideas arrived in the dance world we were bound to re-examine what we did in the studio, on the stage and on the screen. The questions about the emergence of a democratic space and cast together with screen realities and his aleatoric relationship with sound created a range of new conundrums. This paper presentation suggests a point of view in which 21C realities might play out in our new and old dance practices.

The intention of this presentation  is to address the manner in which the particularities of dancers’ knowledge, as noted by Lerman, will jive with the live’ness of the screen, the presence of the technology, the interaction with the interface and with subject content of a world that is strapped for cash but overflowing with gadgets. Where in this, is the ethical compass pointing?

DUNCAN HOLT, MA, DC FMCA is a lecturer and researcher in Dance at the University of Hull UK and a Fellow of the McTimoney Chiropractic Association. He trained and studied at the School of the Toronto Dance Theatre, the London Contemporary Dance School, the McTimoney Chiropractic College and Trinity/Laban for postgraduate study in Dance.  He performed with Cycles Dance Company in the UK and Halcyon Dance Company in Canada, and was for nine years, Community Dance Artist in Residence at Theatr Clwyd in North Wales.  He currently teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students in Dance, Theatre and Performance specializing in choreology and choreographic practices. Research interests include Choreographic practices and practitioner training informed by chiropractic and somatic practices in the context of mediating technology in live performance.  Current postgraduate students research includes projects in site-specific choreography and the development of 21st Century Thai Khon dance.

 “Considering Technology Integrated Dance Curriculum in Post-Secondary Dance Education”
by Rachel Holdt

In this research, I evaluate integrated technology as a fundamental part of curriculum in post-secondary dance education.  Integrated technological curriculum considers the use of technology in the classroom, studio and stage as a tool for instruction of the whole dancer, and is essential in preparing the dancer for professional life after graduation.  By providing powerful enrichment to students’ training through practical opportunities to enhance learning and development, integrating technology into dance curriculum is a vital part of being responsive to the needs of current and future students.  Using specific case studies to support integration into the classroom, I assess the current and foreseeable role of technology in higher education.  Also, incorporating evidence-based research from current and former educators in the field, I propose technology-integrated curriculum as a viable and fundable way to realign and renew the focus of post-secondary dance education.  This research will articulate the role of integrated technology in post-secondary dance education, and proposes technology-integrated curriculum as a practical, yet necessary way to revitalize dance in the university.  Moreover, I will also discuss integrated technology’s significance to viability, outcomes, and economics within post-secondary education.

Headshot - Rachel HoldtRACHEL HOLDT is an emerging dance artist, choreographer, filmmaker, budding dance scholar and performance artist making work in academic and professional settings for the past six years. In the past few years, her practice has evolved to include technology for dance performance incorporating dance for film, gaming devices, projection, and software. She recently completed coursework at Mills College for her MFA in Dance Choreography and continues to create, perform, and research performance technologies. Her research investigates the role of integrated technology for dance education at the university level. Future research will be directed towards required, integrated technology pedagogy for post-secondary education. She is excited to be creating and presenting performance works and critical theory focused on the intersection of dance and technology, and will continue to develop work that includes and investigates this developing field.


2:00 pm – 3:20 pm: Studio 7
Virtual Presentations


“Dance and Cognition: interdisciplinary Researches Leading to New Insights for Dance”
by Fatima Wachowicz

The purpose of the present work is to introduce and discuss the interdisciplinary field that involves Dance Studies and brain studies, such as Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience. Interdisciplinary research can be useful for observing the need to extend the base of the Dance Studies through cognitive processes. We suggest thinking beyond traditional boundaries between academic disciplines, allowing something new to emerge in Dance in the 21st century. The question posed is how does knowledge from Cognitive Science provide new insights on ways of knowing and perceiving dance? The advanced tools of learning cerebral activities are shifting the brain and body understanding. For instance, the mirror neurons functions as empathy, motor learning, imitation, and the ability to understand the actions and intentions of others (Calvo-Merino et al. 2005, 2006; Haagendoorn, 2006; Rizzolatti et al 2001); the neural processes implicated in the execution, expression and observation of dance (Bläsing et al 2011). The approach builds on notions of cognition discussed by Matlin (2002), Calvo-Merino et al. (2006), Haagendoorn (2006), Stevens (2005), and the interdisciplinary works in Dance and Cognition suggested by Kirsh et al (2009) Cross & Ticini (2011) Ivar Hagendoorn & William Forsythe (2004), Scott DeLahunta & Wayne McGregor (2004), Unspoken Knowledge Project developed in Australia since 1999, for a collaborative research team (Grove, Stevens, McKechnie, 2005), and the performance Sintonia, presented in Brazil by Wachowicz (2011). Dance appears as the focus of several studies of cognitive sciences, and at the same time, artists gradually start to develop dance works involving brain studies.

FATIMA WACHOWICZ is a Brazilian artist. She is a PhD graduate (2009) from Federal University of Bahia/Brazil. During her doctoral studies she spent 12 months in Australia on a CAPES fellowship at the University of Western Sydney – MARCS Auditory Laboratories.  She has been using experimental methods, viewpoints principles and contact improvisation to investigate cognitive processes in creating and performing dance. Over the last years, she participated in the WDA– Asian Pacific/2008/AU; WDA – Americas/2009/US; 2nd Annual International Conference on Visual and Performing Arts, Greece/2011; Performática: Foro Internacional de Danza Contemporánea y Artes de Movimiento, Mexico/2011; Performed in Mexico, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro/1st. Arte ao Vivo Rio ao Vivo/2011. Published on Dance Research, Dance and Neuroscience/2011 (Wachowicz, Stevens & Byron); and on The Visual and Performing Arts: An International Anthology: Volume II/2012 (Wachowicz & Stevens). Currently, she is serving as Professor at Federal University of Bahia, in Brazil.

“Authenticity and Innovation: Nihon Buyo, Yosakoi Soran, and Taiko in Brazil”
by Elizabeth Stela, University of São Paulo

According to the 2010 census, Brazil is home to approximately 2.8 million individuals of Japanese descent, and has a rich culture of Japanese music and dance that dates back to the early days of immigration at the turn of the 20th Century. In the past ten years, the number of taiko, or Japanese drumming ensembles, has significantly increased throughout Brazil, including in Brazil’s North and Northeastern regions where very few Japanese descendants live. In addition, many young Brazilians now practice Yosakoi Soran, a dance originating in Hokkaido that mixes several genres including hip hop and folk dance. In Sao Paulo, children of Japanese immigrants practice Nihon Buyo, or Japanese Classical Dance. Using life history interviews with both Japanese and non-Japanese dancers and drummers, this presentation aims to show Japanese dance and music have grown in Brazil in the past ten years, and to document how “Japanese-ness” is performed, reproduced, and interpreted in Brazil at the beginning of the twenty first century. Larger themes, such the adoption of immigrant cultural expression by non-immigrants, dancers’ concern with presenting immigrant culture “correctly” and “authentically”, and the innovation of culturally specific dance will also be discussed.

ELIZABETH STELA holds an M.A. in Oral History from Columbia University, where she conducted a thesis project based on interviews with American taiko players and dancers from the Martha Graham Dance Company. In 2011, she conducted ethnographic research on Japanese music and dance in São Paulo through a grant from the Fulbright US Student Program. She has worked at the Brooklyn Arts Council on the project Folk Feet: Traditional Dance in Brooklyn, was a member of the Martha Graham Ensemble from 2005 to 2007, and is a Pilates instructor. She currently lives in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil where she works as a volunteer at Chagdud Gonpa – Brazil.



“Liberation from the State through Bodily Acts: The Dance of a Tibetan Lama in Exile”
by Shan Chuah, York University

This presentation focuses on the solo performance of ‘Cham by the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa, a highly revered reincarnate lama of seventeen times, who currently resides in India as a refugee. His seemingly ironic act of dancing despite the wave of self-immolations sweeping across Tibetans upholds the Buddhist teachings of non-violence and lends weight to the significance of dance in the Tibetan ritual. ‘Cham, dictates a transcendental experience where both the act of dancing and observing is elevated beyond the senses to the point it liberates the mind. The notion of liberation, however has come to haunt Tibetans not only religiously but also politically as they struggle to define for themselves what it means to be liberated as a Buddhist and a Tibetan. They look up to their spiritual leaders as living Buddhas and in the case of the Karmapa, the emanation of the great bodhisattva, Avalokiteshvara. Every action of the Karmapa thus speaks volume to the Tibetan communities living inside and outside of Tibet. The significance of his performance extends beyond the mere act of appearing on stage; it carves a milestone in the history of the Kagyu lineage in Tibetan Buddhism as well as a political landmark for the Tibetan refugees living outside of Tibet. If people’s bodies are the finest scale of political space, it is the more important to address the primacy of the Tibetan bodies and what they are engaged in amidst their plight. By taking ‘Cham as the vantage point of a deeper inquiry into the Tibetan situation that continues to erupt beneath public attention, I hope to be reveal new insights into the relationship between body and the state through performance in a religious context.

SHANNY RANN attended the dance programs at Simon Fraser University School of Contemporary Arts in Canada and National Academy of Arts, Heritage and Culture in Malaysia. She danced with Balletbase, Noise Performance House and Limitless Productions. Shanny is completing her MA in Dance Studies at York University for her research on Tibetan sacred dances. Her findings on dance are collected at


3:30 pm – 4:50 pm: Judith R Marcuse Studio
“Connecting Inside and Outside” Series

 “The Red Shoes Project: The Art of Empowerment through Ballet in the 21st Century”
by Joan Van Dyke, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
& Carole (Tina) J. Lewis

“The Red Shoes Project” uses the collaborative process of choreography, poetry, film, and literature to inspire the audience while focusing on the empowerment of the cast members. This approach to choreography serves as a means of embodying timeless gender and societal issues while providing contemporary and alternative solutions using dance as a venue to alert and connect the cast and audience to the current developmental traps in today’s society. Topics addressed include addiction, finding one’s voice, conformity, creativity, self-confidence and motivation.

Two original ballets, “The Red Shoes” and “Sealskin/Soulskin,” were performed in 2010-2011.  The ballets were inspired by stories from “Women Who Run with the Wolves” written by Jungian psychologist Clarissa Pinkola Estés. The on-going project is steeped in the historically rich collaborative nature of ballet while adding a contemporary spin to the inspiration/motivation for the performance. Prior to setting the choreography for each scene, the cast was given an opportunity to respond to the issues presented through surveys, drawings, and discussion.  The choreography was then set on the dancers, allowing them to embody the characters and issues addressed in a safe and controlled setting under the direction of the choreographer and psychologist.

Through this process the cast members took on the problem of the character through movement, and safely assimilated and performed the solution. The final performance illustrated these issues and included audience participation to arrive at new and hopeful resolutions to the ever-present problems in today’s society.

Ms. VAN DYKE is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theater and Dance, at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), resident choreographer for IUP Dance Theater. She served as Vice President of Dance for the Pennsylvania State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (PSAHPERD) and is a member of the International Dance Association. Ms. Van Dyke was awarded Outstanding Professional of the Year in 2006 & 2009 and University Dance Teacher of the Year award for the Eastern District for PSAHPERD. She was appointed ballet master to Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts (PGSA). Van Dyke was the invited guest choreographer for “Darsa/Farsa” which premiered at the opening of the 59th anniversary of the prestigious Dubrovnik International Festival, Croatia. Van Dyke was an invited presenter for the 6th International Theater of Change, summer festival in Athens, Greece. She holds the title for the Distinguished Faculty award in the Creative Arts at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

CAROLE J. LEWIS (TINA) is a licensed Psychologist in private practice since 1991. The “Red Shoes Project” is the first of several planned in collaboration with Joan VanDyke. Their intent is to enhance the psychological depth of an artistic production and enroll the ballet dancers in a deeper understanding of and personal involvement in a performance. In “The Red Shoes Project”, dancers could explore meaning and participate in changing or extending interpretations through an active collaborative process between themselves, the choreographer, and the psychologist.

 “Somatic Memory, Audience Engagement, and the Potential for New Ways of Viewing Dance”
by Rebecca Weber

Though memory may be primarily thought of as a cognitive action, recent studies assert the importance of body memory. The phenomenology of implicit body memory influences our everyday existence; our somatic memory is enacted in our activities and informs our experiences without our conscious awareness. Other research suggests that audiences are engaged primarily through kinaesthetic empathy, suggesting that their own bodily memories are at play in art appreciation. What does this mean for dance audiences? With the rising popularity of Somatics in dance, more importance is placed on the movers’ subjective experiences and individual, authentic physical investigation over an external aesthetic. Can this experience be harnessed to facilitate more meaningful audience engagement in a concert dance setting?

Creating works which engage dancers’ live investigation of their own somatic histories allows for authentic performances. Their lived experience and engagement with their own somatic memories may, in turn, spark audiences’ own memories, which–although unique and individual–can be relational. Audiences may resonate with these performances on a deeper level than that of the aesthetic values represented in more codified choreography. This personal engagement leads to a plurality in perception of the event, both in what is being experienced simultaneously by performers and audience members as the art event unfolds. Plurality of experience may facilitate audience autonomy, opening the door to a more somatic, nonjudgmental and pluralistic mode of engaging with concert dance, offering options which veer away from the role of a traditional, judgmental critic and more toward kinaesthetically present witness.

Headshot - Rebecca WeberREBECCA WEBER is always asking questions and investigating where the body meets the brain—where dance and Somatics intersect. She is an Adjunct Professor in Dance at Temple University, where she recently earned an MFA in Dance and a Teaching in Higher Education Certification. Rebecca holds a Master’s degree with distinction in Dance & Somatic Well-Being from the University of Central Lancashire, in Preston, England, where she served as an Associate Lecturer. As director of Somanaut Dance, her choreography has been presented at various venues in Philadelphia, New York, Georgia, Delaware, and the UK. She is a contributing artist with Movement Brigade and performs for many independent choreographers in Philadelphia. Her research has been published in the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices. Becca is a Co-Editor for the forthcoming book, Dance, Somatics and Spiritualities: Contemporary Sacred Narratives and an Associate Editor for the journal Dance, Movement and Spiritualities. She is also a contributing writer and dance critic at In short, she loves to play with people, space, ideas, and words.

“Corporeality and Code: Intersections of Dancing Performance and Sensing Technology”
by Sybil Huskey, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The impact of digital technology on dance choreography and performance will continue to evolve with the increasing sophistication and proliferation of devices and software. The ways in which dance can be transformed within the computerized paradigm requires ongoing examination and discussion since it affects the creation, performance and dissemination of the art form. In the paper, philosophic and aesthetic concerns about how the technology alters the creation and perception of the dance will be viewed in historic and contemporary contexts.  Are these technology-enhanced choreographic works simply breaking boundaries as modern dance as been doing since its inception?  Does the infusion of technology detract from the corporeality of the dancer and the dance? Does the addition of technology perhaps create a new genre of dance that must be viewed through a different lens? Focusing on three dance pieces choreographed as part of the Dance.Draw project, funded by a National Science Foundation/CreativeIT grant, the presentation will trace the research questions, creative methodologies, collaborative challenges and production outcomes during the duration of the project. Video excerpts of the selected works will demonstrate the use of real-time sensing technology to connect the dancers’ movements to the kinetics of the projected visualizations while offering insights into the creative/performative/viewing experiences of the choreographer, dancers, technologists and viewers.

SYBIL HUSKEY, Professor at the University of North Carolina/Charlotte, has recently been a co-principal investigator on National Science Foundation/CreativeIT grant exploring dance and technology. Her choreographed works have explored real time interactivity between dancers and visualizations. She is one of the inventors of the “Choreographer’s Notebook,” a specialized software for video collaboration, which is under patent review. Sybil was a Visiting Professor at Kingston University in London (2004-05) and the recipient of Fulbright Senior Scholar Awards in New Zealand (2002) and Finland (1983-84). She has held positions at Cornell University, Arizona State University, Winthrop University and served as President of the American College Dance Festival Association. She has performed throughout the USA and as guest of the US government at the Cervantino Festival in Mexico. Her choreographic work has been commissioned by the Universities of Wisconsin/Madison, Illinois, and Utah and funded by the NEA, corporate, state and local agencies.


Thursday, August 1, 2013


11:30 pm – 1:00 pm: Judith R. Marcuse Studio
“Involve/Evolve Education” Series

“Revolving Questions on Dance Development in Brazilian Reality”
by Alba Vieira, Federal University of Vicosa
& Lucia Matos, Federal University of Bahia

(virtual presentation)

The Brazilian culture is well known, nationally and abroad, for the integration of dance in many of its traditions and customs besides its contemporary production. Despite this fact, only in 1996 the Brazil’s Ministry of Education – through its National Parameters in Arts – indicated that dance as curricular content has an important role to play in the holistic education of K-12 students. Furthermore, in the last two decades, many Dance Undergraduate majors have been created in Brazilian universities, including a dance teaching preparation program and baccalaureate in Dance at Federal University of Vicosa/UFV (2001), and the first Master in Dance program at the Federal University of Bahia/UFBA (2006). Yet, for many years, dance in our country has faced many challenges, particularly related to popular misconceptions still exist regarding Dance as a field of knowledge. All these facts have oriented the evolving process of dance education, artistic proposals and research in many ways.  Through our collaborative research, we establish a dialogue from our own experience and respective studies as dance professors and researchers (from UFBA and UFV, both Brazilian public universities), and also in dialogue with others’ Brazilian researchers who have published, in the last years, on the following topics: intersections of cultural and educational dance policies, the approaches of dance from the curricula of universities and schools, body and dance´s statements present in dance education at schools. Our aim it to create zones of uncertainty (Santos, 2008) and potential questions that allow us to analyze micro and macro aspects of these realities.

ALBA VIEIRA, PhD, is Associate Dance Professor at Federal University of Vicosa, Brazil, author of book chapters and papers in Brazil and abroad, the organizer of the digital book “Education for the Arts” (2010), and the co-writer of the Dance Report and Recommendations by the “Experts on Art Education in Latin America and the Caribbean – Unesco”. Her work has been presented in several venues including NDEO, WDA/DaCi, and CORD conferences, and has been published in several journals including Dance Therapy, Dance Current Selected Research, Possible Dialogues, and Scene. She teaches undergraduate courses on dance composition, dance history and somatics, and a graduate course on dance and education. Since 2012, she has served as a National Representative for DaCi and a member elected to the Director Board of the National Associations of Dance Researchers (ANDA). She has been coordinating several community and research projects looking at embodied dance education.

LUCIA MATOS, PhD, is coordinator of the Masters in Dance and professor at the Federal University of Bahia/UFBA. She is co-leader of the dance research group Corporeographic and Educational Processes in Dance. Her research focus is dance education; public policy for dance; and culture, body, and difference. She was a representative at the Sectoral Dance Council of the Federal Ministry of Culture (2006-2012) and worked as a Dance Director of the Cultural Foundation of the State of Bahia (2007-January 2009). She has taught dance in the Bahia Public School System and private studios, and chaired the 2003 9th DaCi Conference. She was at the Manager Group of Red Sudamericana de Danza (2010-2012), is a member of the WDA-Americas, and collaborates with the Network on Education and Training. She published the chapter “Writing in the Flesh: Body, Identity, Disability and Difference” in Shapiro book´s Dance in a world of change (2008) and the book “Dance and difference: mapping multiple bodies dancing” (2012). She is editor of Dance Journal (PPGDança/UFBA, 2012). She has published a number of articles in journals and conference proceedings in Brazil and abroad.

“Crafting Instruction in an Entholinguistically Diverse Dance Technique Classroom”
by Jamie Johnson

There is a growing trend of globalization in higher education. International students and their dependents contributed $21.8 billion to the American economy in tuition and living expenses last year. Classrooms are becoming more diverse as greater numbers of international students and English language learners are being admitted into universities every year. As the global economy of business filters into schools, classrooms cannot be homogenized into one-size-fits-all classifications. Dance educators of the 21st century perform a unique role in acclimatizing foreign students to the university setting. This presentation will explore how globalization comes into play in the dance technique classroom and will propose recommendations for crafting learning in dance studio environments when language and cultural barriers exist. While many resources discuss the concerns of teachers who are integrating native and non-native speakers in their classrooms, most information addresses lecture-style settings. Adapting these recommendations into the dance studio can be a challenging endeavor. Using my classroom as a laboratory and by applying information gathered in investigative interviews with students, I have experimented with strategies to address the most pressing challenges I face with my highly diverse students. Dance educators will come away from this presentation with effective methods to instruct students with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds as a means to ensure student engagement and learning in the dance technique classroom.

JAMIE JOHNSON is currently pursuing her MFA at the University of Washington in Dance. She has had the opportunity to teach Introduction to Dance, Ballet, and assist with Teaching Methods at the university level. A seasoned performer, Johnson toured internationally with MOMIX in addition to serving as dance captain and teaching company class. Previously, she was a principal dancer with Boulder Ballet, Ohio Dance Theatre and Ballet Pacifica, and also danced with Sacramento Ballet. Graduating cum laude, Ms. Johnson holds a BFA with a major in Ballet and a BA with a major in English from the University of Utah. She has been on faculty and taught master classes throughout the United States––notably at Interlochen Arts Camp, the University of Wyoming, and Sacramento Ballet’s Summer Intensive. Her choreography has been performed by Boulder Ballet II, Interlochen Dance Ensemble and West Texas A&M University Dance Ensemble.

 “Theorizing the Physical: Realizing the Jump from Private Sector to Higher Education”
by Katie Chilton & Pegge Vissicaro, Arizona State University

Undergraduate dance study involves more than just training the body. It also explores how, why, where, when, and by whom dance styles have evolved. This critical information deepens understanding about various movement forms as well as connects dance with broader socio-cultural, geo-political, and historical contexts. Kinesiological, anatomical, and somatic awareness provides yet another layer of dance knowledge. Value placed on theorizing and contextualizing the physical dance experience is evident by degree requirements across post-secondary institutions, while the opposite seems to be true in the private sector. The question of whether exposure to theory and context improves students’ transition into tertiary level dance programs warrants investigation. Creation of a research study to explore this topic stems from one researcher’s personal struggles entering a university setting and feeling disadvantaged because her work in private studios only focused on movement training. Now as a MFA candidate and graduate teaching assistant, she recognizes the responsibility and challenge to prepare students to realize the jump from private sector to higher education. That recognition motivates development of a collaborative pilot-project that queries private sector dance professionals from a specific United States region in which one researcher has had extensive direct experience. The research design includes semi-structured interviews with numerous studio owners, teachers and coaches that address perceptions about the importance of including socio-cultural and geo-political knowledge as well as history and science to teach movement classes. Besides data analysis, this scholarly presentation offers insights gained to benefit dance education in the 21st century.

KATIE CHILTON, originally from San Diego, CA, is an MFA candidate at Arizona State University. She has received her BA in Dance Performance and Choreography from California State University Fullerton. Throughout San Diego, Katie has performed as an apprentice with The PGK Project Dance Company, along with performing in San Francisco with Michael Mayes Dance Company. Currently, she is co-creating a community dance piece for Mesa, AZ. Spark! Festival of Creativity, and choreographing for the premier of the play Soot and Spit.

Since 1983, Dr. PEGGY VISSICARO has been contributing to Arizona State University’s School of Dance as a movement artist, dance maker, curriculum developer, educator, researcher, and community leader. She facilitates courses for undergraduate and graduate students in movement, creative, and ethnographic practices. Vissicaro is a Fulbright Scholar and Specialist, directs her company terradance®, and is president of Cross-Cultural Dance Resources. Publications include her widely distributed text, Studying Dance Cultures around the World, a chapter in 2013 book, Age and Dancing, articles in the peer-reviewed journals Ethnic Studies Review, Australia New Zealand Dance Research Society, Multimedia Tools and Applications, and The Review of Human Factor Studies as well as numerous contributions to the Foundation for Community Dance magazine, Animated. Vissicaro has presented papers and lectures, taught master classes and conducted residencies in Ireland, Korea, Scotland, Portugal, France, Brazil, Canada, and throughout the United States.


2:00 pm – 3:20 pm: Studio 7
“Defining the Cultural Self” Series

“Contemporary Dance “In” and “Of” Africa: Shaping New Terrains of Dance in the 21st Century”
by Joan D. Frosch, University of Florida

Contemporary visual and performing arts have surged alongside Africa’s economic expansion in the last decade. Not unlike their contemporaries in commerce, innovative African choreographers live and work in the paradox of the present. Marshaling forces reminiscent of the “world music” explosion, in the late 1990’s, intrepid choreographers penetrated the international arts market to speak their truth and claim mobility in the global currents of ideas. However, the works of some artists were criticized as not “African enough,” revealing outsiders’ ignorance of today’s Africa rather than artists’ failure to explore their contemporary lives. Riveted by the first-voice accounts of choreographers’ “dances” with the demands of the global arts market in a series of three artistic projects, I have examined the transformative potential of selected artists’ work from their points of view and also their views on the specters that threaten their work. Persistent western native perceptions position the west as the center and definer of progress and foster a premodern construct of a monolithic and timeless “Africa.” While historically deployed to justify the slave trade, the 21st century version of this construct can make an oxymoron of “African experimentalist” or allow for the facile dismissal of African choreographic innovation as mere simulacra. Choreographers’ responses to these market conditions—often theorized in both dialogue and choreography—not only formulate a broad-based and urgent counter-discourse on contemporary African life but shape new terrains of dance in the 21st century.

Headshot - Joan Frosch -BWDr. JOAN FROSCH, professor, School of Theatre and Dance, University of Florida and director of the Center for World Arts (1996-present) is a 2012-2015 University of Florida Research Foundation Professor. In 2011, Dr. Frosch received the INPUT Producer’s Fellowship for her production of NORA (2008), commissioned by EMPAC DANCE MOViES (RPI). Directed by Alla Kovgan and David Hinton, NORA is broadcast by PBS (USA) and ARTE (FR). Dr. Frosch directed and produced Movement (R)Evolution Africa: a story of an art form in four acts (2009) a documentary feature broadcast by ZDF (DE) and distributed in English by Documentary Educational Resources ( and in French, along with NORA, by Doc.Net. Dr. Frosch analyzed the Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium (TACAC) model for global arts exchange in her recent publication Building Enduring Partnerships (2011). She is at work on the production of a 3D cinematic portrait of American dance icon, Merce Cunningham.

“Dancing our Politics: Contemporary Issues in Northwest Coast First Nations Dance”
by Mique’l Dangeli, PhD Candidate UBC

As a life-long dancer and teacher of Tsimshian First Nation dance, I feel strongly that the dance practices of Northwest Coast First Nations people are overlooked by dance studies scholars, and those in related fields, due to a commonly held assertion that our work is not critically engaged with current issues. This misconception continues to marginalize Northwest Coast First Nations choreographers by privileging Aboriginal dance forms that are considered to be “more” contemporary. Through my research with Northwest Coast First Nations dance groups in Vancouver BC, I will demonstrate that these complex and diverse practices disrupts this depoliticized caricature. At the center of my research are “protocols,” an umbrella term for the laws of Indigenous Nations on the Northwest Coast. Dance groups maintain hereditary rights to perform in ways that assert histories, ceremonial privileges, and territorial rights that are specific to their Nations, communities, and families. They have a responsibility to a very particular type of representation guided by their adherence to protocols regardless of the context or audience. Expressing sovereignty through the assertion of protocol is not moored to Western legal definitions rather it is self-defined and articulated through indigenous Nationhood and the values, principles, customs, and epistemologies thereof. In this paper, I will explore some of the complex negotiations and assertions of protocol that are integral to the creation of new songs and dances performed by dance groups and their engagement with pressing political issues.

MIQUE’L DANGELI was born and raised on the only Indian Reserve in the state of Alaska. She is of the Tsimshian Nation of Metlakatla Indian Community. Mique’l is currently a PhD Candidate in the department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory at UBC. She specializes in Northwest Coast First Nations Art History. Mique’l served her community for eight years as their Museum Director. She is a curator, author, dancer, choreographer, and co-leader of the Git Hayetsk Dancers. She has choreographed a large body of dances for newly composed songs among her nation as well as created new dances for ancient songs whose dance has been lost during their cultural oppression.

Friday, August 2, 2013

11:30 am – 12:50 pm: Studio 7
“Agency in Training” series

“Agency, Health, and Transformation: Contemporary Feminist Approaches for Female Dancers in Training and Performance”
by Lisa Sandlos, York University

What can contemporary feminist approaches offer to the objective of enhancing female dancers’ agency and health in the twenty-first century? My presentation explores the potential for feminism to be utilized as a conceptual tool in the training and performance practices of female dancers. Although we have seen more women become directors and choreographers in recent decades, the reality in ballet and contemporary dance is that gender imbalance persists (Gibney 2010; Stinson 2005). In these and in many other dance genres, the majority of dancers are female while a disproportionate amount of creative and decision-making power is assumed by the minority of males (Dacko 2004; Gunther Pugh 2011; Looseleaf 2011). This raises questions about female agency, self-determination, and self-esteem in dance.

My presentation is theoretically informed by issues and debates in the fields of Gender and Women’s Studies as they intersect with the material realities of female dancers. I assert that contemporary feminism is situated to aid female dancers in re-evaluating potentially unhealthy choices they may make about their appearance, about diet or other measures taken to maintain low body weight, about how they interpret movement, about injuries, about accepting sexually objectifying roles, or about doing what they are told without questioning the risk. Insights from feminism about such issues as bodies, identities, gendered norms, and sexualities can empower dancers, individually and collectively, to carve new paths for themselves that allow for greater well-being, self-confidence, creativity, and leadership.

Headshot - Lisa SandlosLISA SANDLOS has been a faculty member of York University’s Department of Dance for over thirteen years. She is currently pursuing her PhD in the School of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at York. Sandlos holds an M.A. in Dance and certificates in Laban Movement Analysis from the Laban Institute of Movement Studies and Université du Québec à Montréal. She has taught modern dance and creative movement to 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, the Toronto District School Board’s Drama/Dance Project and the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Learning through the Arts. Sandlos’ current research focuses on hypersexualization of young female dancers, and the impacts of this trend on dance education, on public perceptions of dance, and on girls’ psychological and social development.

  “Facilitating Technical Skill Development for Dancers with Physical Disabilities: Evolving Pedagogic Practice in Physically Integrated Dance Training”
by Mark Tomsaic, Santa Monica College
& Mary Verdi-Fletcher, Dancing Wheels Company

Physically integrated dance training (dance training for people with and without physical disabilities) has traditionally centered on creative movement, improvisation, and contact improvisation. But what of the dancer with a disability who wishes to pursue technical skill development in modern dance, tap, ballet, hip-hop, or any other dance form? An increased number of dance studios and educational institutions have been made architecturally accessible; however, access to applied dance training practices for people with disabilities remains critically lacking. This presentation examines how research combining the physiological parameters of wheelchair users, the artistic process of movement, spatial and temporal translation, in-depth interviews of current and former professional dancers from a leading physically integrated dance company and consultation with a physical therapist facilitate the development of dance training practices which enhance technical skill development in the physically integrated dance setting while providing curricular guidance for teachers of students with disabilities.

MARK TOMASIC, MFA, has worked extensively in the field of physically integrated dance as an educator, choreographer and dancer with the Dancing Wheels Company & School. He currently serves as Artistic Advisor to the Company and travels nationally and internationally to teach physically integrated dance to students and professionals alike. Mark is the author of Physically Integrated Dance: The Dancing Wheels Comprehensive Guide for Teachers, Choreographers and Students of Mixed Abilities (2012), a pioneering training manual that bridges artistic and scientific disciplines in the creation of an inclusive modern dance curriculum for students with and without disabilities. Mark holds an MFA in Dance from the University of California, Irvine and a BFA in Ballet from the University of Cincinnati. He is currently a full-time faculty member of the Dance Department at Santa Monica College.

MARY VERDI-FLETCHER is President/Founding Artistic Director and principal dancer of The Dancing Wheels Company & School (Cleveland, OH). Born with spina bifida, Mary founded the Company in 1980 as a means for people with disabilities to have full and equal access to the world of dance. As the first professional wheelchair dancer in the United States, Ms. Verdi-Fletcher has danced many lead roles and has had the distinct honor to work with numerous distinguished choreographers. Mary was a featured performer on the ABC television special, Christopher Reeve: A Celebration of Hope. In 2001, The Ford Foundation named Mary one of 20 semifinalists from over 3000 international nominees for the “Leadership for a Changing World Award.” Mary was the recipient of a 2007 Emmy Award for hosting WNEO/WEAO PBS Television “Shortcuts to Happiness “and a 2010 Athena Award Finalist.


3:30 pm – 4:50 pm: Studio 7
“Exploring Creative Possibilities” Series

“What is dance?: The body as an object of self-reflection in beautiful thing 2?”
by Arushi Singh, Jawaharlal Nehru University

“beautiful thing 2 positions the body almost as an architectural object in an empty space… The physicality of the body becomes abstracted over time, till the spaces it holds and moves become more present. The performance remains constantly on the edge of ‘performing’ and not. In moments playing with the body’s potential to grow in space, at others for it to dissolve into space. It meticulously deconstructs and presents the study of movement mechanics until we are forced to ask the question ‘what is dance?”

The above text is from the introductory note of a dance piece called beautiful thing 2, choreographed by dancer, Padmini Chettur from Chennai, India. A critical analysis of the piece will illustrate how dancers are questioning the Indian movement systems/aesthetics they are trained in to create their own contemporary explorations, which experiment with concepts of space and time in order to imagine dance making that attempts to problematize the post-colonial, nationalist aesthetic of classical dances in India. Chettur presents a displacement, disorientation and dissolution of the body in space. Moving slowly in time is a skill that foregrounds the labor of the body. Slowing down time acts as a disruption in the event of performance and positions the act of viewing to be as arduous as the process of choreography. In order to create a new aesthetic, which is more self-reflexive, she fosters a reordering of space and time that redefines the dynamics of dance.

ARUSHI SINGH is presently enrolled as an M. Phil Candidate at the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, School of Arts and Aesthetics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. At the Department, her research includes mapping the different spaces in which dance exists in the city of New Delhi to decipher what forms of dance are visible at the level of practice and performance (i.e. what ways is dance part of the everyday lives of citizens? What is the new emerging discourse of dance that shapes the aesthetics of a form, its reception, patronage and placement in a particular space?) Additionally, she works with The Gati Dance Forum, an independent arts organization that works in the field of contemporary dance in India. She is the program researcher on one of its ongoing projects called Working in Research, Advocacy, and Policy (W.R.A.P) that is working on revitalization of performance infrastructure in the city of New Delhi.

“The Rite of Spring, the Theremin, and 21st Century Dance:  Questioning and Challenging Dance”
by Lisa A. Fusillo, University of Georgia

During this 100th anniversary year of “The Rite of Spring”, it has never been more evident that the processes of creative invention challenge artists to find points of departure and/or points of reference from previous ideas, inventions, and expressions.  Additionally, rapidly changing technologies and reconsiderations of accepted traditions radically impact the now seemingly limitless realm of creative possibilities, providing springboards for the new century of dance.  This paper will examine “The Rite of Spring” and the Theremin as two historical creations which still provide new engagements and involvements that “open questions for dance’s future” and challenge 21st century dance artists.  A century after its creation, “The Rite of Spring” continues to influence and engage artists in dance, music, and interactive/multi-media performances which use technology developed by Leon Theremin, inventor of the first electronic instrument the “Theremin,” and creator of the first electronic-based performance art.  Analyzing archival literature, materials, and current performances, this presentation will explore how “The Rite of Spring” collaboration and the Theremin changed the world of creative invention and performance art; how both impacted dance into the 21st century; and how these works are catalysts for new engagements, spawning questions that redefine dance and directions for dance in the future.  These two points of departure – the collaborative work that changed the art world, and the beginning of electronic interactive media – can be used as teaching tools and will provide an historical base for discussions of dance as a moving question in the 21st century context.

LISA FUSILLO began her professional ballet training at the Washington School of Ballet in Washington, D.C. and later trained in New York, London, Russia and Denmark. She holds the Professional Teaching Diploma from the Royal Ballet School in London and certifications from American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum and the New York City Ballet Education Department. Her choreography has been presented in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Amsterdam, Paris, Thailand, Taiwan, and at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS. Her affiliation with WDA began when she was teaching has at the National Institute of the Arts in Taiwan (now Taipei National University of the Arts). Fusillo is a Fulbright Scholar, has published articles in dance history, and was awarded four NEA grants for reconstruction of masterworks in American dance. Currently, she is Professor of Dance and serves as head of the Department of Dance at the University of Georgia.

“Playing the Blues: Resonance and Connection through Critical Dance Pedagogy”
by Seonagh Odhiambo

What is valued in a global modern dance aesthetics? At the center of debates in dance is culture, but in what ways are significant cultural influences identified and defined in contemporary modern dance? The creative process and performance discussed here, arrived at through an artistic collaboration between dancers and musicians, draws attention to these questions. Movement was created through guided improvisations. Valuing dancers as collaborators, the choreographer used Boalian theatre techniques to engage their “thinking bodies.” Dancers were asked to evoke imagery related to their political and intellectual perceptions of questions related to civil rights issues.

The choreographer worked alongside composer and multi-woodwind instrumentalist Bennie Maupin, whose history traces back to jazz era New York and Detroit. His distinct sound is heard on albums with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, among others, and his history as a composer and band leader is also rich. In autumn 2012, while Bennie was composing original scores inspired by dancers’ movement, the choreography process provoked a dialogue about jazz and civil rights histories in the United States. To further explore this topic, the choreographer showed dancers and musicians historical photographs, footage of the Savoy Ballroom, led meaningful conversations, and explored energy, flow and reflection around topics of oppression and transformation. In this way, dancers reconstructed their relationships to the subject, considering how a beauty of jazz evolved out of painful circumstances. Photographs of the movement express painful and joyful realities, universal and specific experiences.  Dancers’ and musicians’ perspectives are quoted in slides and video.

Photo by Anthony Elgott
Photo by Anthony Elgott

SEONAGH ODHIAMBO defines dance as a point of contact through which ideas, inspiration, movement, and meaning travel. Interested in collaborations with live music, Odhiambo founded Asava Dance, based in Los Angeles. With her partners in music and dance she approaches a choreography process that is collaborative and activist. In this way, she lays the foundation for a somatically-oriented critical pedagogy and dance theory. Her scholarly research stems from descriptions of dancers’ experiential learning in the creative process and offers a perspective on the body as a zone of critical praxis. Odhiambo’s theoretical reflections in the area of liberatory pedagogy radically expand the areas of dance theory and dance education. A Fisher Center Fellow, Odhiambo received a PhD in Dance from Temple University. She is now an Assistant Professor of Dance at CSULA where she teaches advanced theory in dance, choreography and world performance as Director of the Graduate Program.


Saturday, August 3, 2013


10:00 am – 11:20 am: Studio 7
“Engaging Technology and Teaching” Series

“DIGI-SITE: Creating Spaces of Engagement through Dance and Technology”
by Scott Martin, Texas Woman’s University

The purpose of this presentation is to identify and discuss the opportunities that virtual and responsive spaces offer to dance in developing engagements with perceptual awareness, embodiment, and interactivity. In this project, the eleven collaborators and I investigated different methods of integrating digital image projection and responsive computer systems into dance spaces and explored how these environments allowed us to develop techniques of engaging, creating, experiencing, and communicating movement and idea. For the purposes of this paper, I will refer to these contexts as “digi-sites.” These explorations were part of a series of summer workshops which culminated in an evening length dance concert. The works presented created new contexts for both performers and audience members to experience dance by integrating technologies that were responsive to improvisational scores collaboratively created with the dancers.

Headshot - ScottMartinSCOTT MARTIN is an inter-disciplinary artist, educator, and administrator whose research and creative practice explores how new potentials for movement, space, time, and relationships are experienced when engaged via technology by both expanding boundaries and providing alternate perspectives for how the ideas and meanings within works are inter-related.  Scott has performed across the country for over 20 years as a dancer, singer, actor, and interdisciplinary artist with companies such as Anna Meyers & Dancers, Seattle Contemporary Ballet, Village Theater, Daniel McCusker Dancers, Seattle Opera, and Satellite Dance.  He received his MFA in Dance from Texas Woman’s University and currently works as an Independent Artist, Arts Consultant, Co-Chair of the Support and Development Network at the World Dance Alliance, Academic Affairs Specialist at TWU, and member of Satellite Dance based in Denton, TX.

 “Dance education in the 21st century: going Gangnam style?”
by Zihao Li

In this paper, Dr. Li explores the impact that technology has made on different models/trends of teaching dance in the 21st century.  It is evident that with the advancement of technology, dance education has entered into a new era. A wide range of possibilities and potentials could be reached when dance teaching methodologies and curriculum development adapt to new challenges and opportunities. Yet, as dance educators, how do we use technology effectively in dance education and to what extent should we rely on technology? Do we use it as a platform to convey what we know and what we favour or do we simply use it as a free multimedia library? Is dance being used to promote technology such as the advertisements of Apple products or create superstars such as the You Tube’ sensation – PSY’s Gangnam style? Or are they promoting dance?  Li considers technology as a tool that can never replace the intrinsic and extrinsic value derived from the embodiment experience when individuals actively participate in dancing, teaching dance, and making dance. Li talks about different teaching models and looks at current research to generate discussions about the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of using technology in teaching, sharing, and promoting dance. Through a multimedia presentation platform (Prezi), Li shares his views, beliefs, and philosophies in teaching dance in the new millennium.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADr. ZIHAO LI is a dancer, educator, and researcher based in Toronto, Canada. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts ‘Honours’ in Hong Kong, a Bachelor of Education, and a Masters of Arts from York University. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. As a dancer, he has performed with several world renowned dance companies including the German Hamburg Ballet. As an educator, he has taught at different institutions and professional dance companies including Beijing Dance Academy, Liaoning Ballet, Tokyo Arts Center, York University, University of Toronto, and University of Wisconsin – Madison. As a scholar, he frequently presents at a variety of conferences, contributes to different publications and belongs to interdisciplinary research groups in Canada and worldwide. As a writer, his book: Endangered Species: High School Males in Dance is currently under review by the University of Toronto Press.


3:30 pm – 4:50 pm: Stephen A. Jarislowsky Studio
“Perceptions and Embodiment” Series

 “How/Can Dance Participate in the Production of Virtual Space?”
by Elise Knudson, Yale University

Elise Knudson - Scholar Present 1Dance scholars from Randy Martin to Danielle Goldman make strong arguments for dance as a practice that enables new readings on political, social, and philosophical phenomenon. Dance’s unique perspective emanates from its materiality as an embodied art-form that embraces both the ephemerality of performance and the blood and sweat of concrete being. Because of this ability to dwell in a place that bridges the ephemeral and the concrete, dance holds a special kind of insight into the fluid ways in which practices create structures and structures house practices. These insights can be useful in understanding how embodied social structures emerge and shift.  In the 21st century, the Internet and the devices that provide access to it are rapidly restructuring how we create and navigate our social identities. The seemingly unrestricted ability of the Internet to store and distribute information quickly and cheaply has the apparent effect of dissolving distances, borders, and time, creating a new kind of space-time with potential for participation irrespective of location, class, race, sexuality gender, or ability. The proliferation of online dance video including bedroom booty dances, studio improvisations, competitions, and professionally produced music video demonstrate the power of online dance to attract a level of participation that concert dance might envy. What cyberspace  means for embodied forms of communication is still up for debate. Informed by Barbara Browning’s “I’m Trying to Reach You”, Katherine Hale’s “How We Became Post-Human”, Henri Lefebvre’s “The Production of Social Space” and my own empirical research, this paper explores if/how dance can participate in such a space without compromising its ontology. In other words, it attempts to address the question; what can a virtual body do?

ELISE KNUDSON is a dance artist living and working in New York City. Originally inspired by Nikolais technique, her training and interests have shifted towards improvisation in performance. She is a cofounder of Antititled Dialogues, a collective platform for monthly improvisational performance. Prior to her resurgence of interest in improvisation, Elise created over thirty long and short works which have been presented nationally and internationally. She recently earned an MFA in dance through the Hollins University ADF/MFA low residency program. Elise has danced with Risa Jaroslow, Jody Oberfelder, Noemie LaFrance, Koosil-ja/DanceKumiko, and most recently Tiffany Mills Dance Company.

“Exploring the Politics of Affect in a Traditional Fijian Dance”
by Evadne Kelly, York University

In her chapter “Being a Body in a Cultural Way” Sally Ness examines how culturally focused dance research is currently engaging with a new trajectory of embodied research that moves beyond perception to explore non-present realities of the body including past histories and memories, imaginings and future potentials (Thomas and Ahmed, Eds. 2004).  These insights reverberate in this paper as I explore the political implications of affect (not simply individually felt categorical emotions such as happiness or sadness but relational feelings/sensations of intensity) in meke, a “traditional” Fijian song-dance.  Specifically, I focus on affects of kindness, generosity and love in a meke performance in which I participated while conducting fieldwork in Fiji in 2012.  I argue that these particular feelings emerged as a way of dealing with anxieties and expectations involving religion, nationalism and tourism in Fiji.  Mekhe Ni Loloma or “song-dance of kindly love” touches histories of missionary influence, colonial rule and the embodied and imagined memories of the participants.  I focus on this meke experience as a way to critically analyze agency in the body by exploring how movement-based affects generate political potentialities by un-fixing what has been taken for granted conceptually.  In line with Ness’ insights about current trends in dance research, this paper seeks to illuminate new points from which to consider the non-present realities of embodiment in dance research.

EVADNE KELLY is a PhD candidate in Dance Studies at York University. The focus of her research is on the sensory and affective dimensions of identity negotiation in the performances of traditional Fijian dance. She received her Master’s Degree from the department of anthropology at McMaster University and her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Toronto where she double majored in Anthropology and Equity Studies, and minored in Women Studies. She has written, presented, and published on topics relevant to the fields of anthropology and dance studies with a particular focus on topics of time, memory, and affective experience. Evadne worked with Dancetheatre David Earle as a core dancer for 14 years. She has performed works by renowned Canadian choreographers and directors including D.A. Hoskins, Patricia Beatty, Julia Sasso, and Ross Manson. In the winter of 2011, Evadne taught fourth year modern dance technique as part-time faculty at York University.

“The Spine of Mother Earth: Dance Collaboration Utilizing Technology & Traditional Teachings – Peru & Canada”
by Starr Muranko, Raven Spirit Dance

Photo by Jeanette Kotowich
Photo by Jeanette Kotowich

Choreographer Starr Muranko shares her inter-disciplinary research project exploring the relationship between the geography of the Andes mountain range and traditional and contemporary Indigenous dance movement in the Americas.  This metaphor of the “Spine of Mother Earth” is a name given by the Indigenous Elders in South America to the Mountain ranges that span from the base in Argentina, through the Americas and ending at the tip of Alaska.  Through the use of an online broadcasting channel during a simultaneous rehearsal in Canada and Peru, the artists have the ability to transcend the limitations of time, space, and geographical location and establish a rich methodology for collaboration in this new form that inter-weaves traditional cultural teachings.  The ‘Spine of the Earth’ accurately describes this research process where a signal is sent through the spine to a second location and a response is sent back, much like the human nervous system.  This correlates to the teachings of the Elders in the Andes and the connection between the people of the North and the South (Eagle and Condor) that have traveled and communicated along this mountain range for thousands of years.  Starr will share innovative ways of sourcing material, choreographing and collaborating with artists working thousands of miles away from each other. The process requires a deep sense of listening, following of impulse and cross-cultural relationship building.  This project demonstrates how through embracing technology to support inter-cultural collaboration we are offered unlimited possibilities as dance artists and scholars in the 21st century.

STARR MURANKO is a professional dancer/choreographer/educator and an Artistic Associate with Raven Spirit Dance in Vancouver. Her work has been presented at the Scotiabank Dance Centre, Dancing on the Edge, the Talking Stick Festival and the Vancouver International Dance Festival (SFU Grad series). She is a proud member of the Dancers of Damelahamid (Gitxsan) and has toured regionally and internationally with this company to New Zealand and Peru to co-present a research paper at the World Indigenous Peoples Conference in Education (WIPCE). She has been the recipient of several grant awards through the Canada Council for the Arts and the BC Arts Council and was an artist-in-residence during the 2011-2012 season at the Scotiabank Dance Centre. Starr is committed to supporting Indigenous peoples and the living expression of their cultures through dance and honours her mixed heritage of Métis, Cree and German in all of her work. and