SDHS 2010 Proceedings

The 2010 SDHS conference, “Dance & Spectacle”, was held July 9–11, 2010, at the University of Surrey, U.K. 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.

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, 2010.

Note: access to pdfs is restricted to members of SDHS. For details, please see the login details page.

Entire Proceedings: [PDF (97MB)]

Entire Proceedings (smaller file with lower-resolution images): [PDF (35MB)]

Individual Papers in Proceedings:

Author and Title (Link to PDF shows file size. Author’s name links to abstract and bio.)Page
Adair, Christy. ‘Within Between’ — Engaging Communities and Refusing Spectacle in Contemporary Dance Practice in East Africa. [PDF (188KB)]1
Alzalde, Veronica. Shifting Notions of Spectacle in Maurice Ravel’s “La Valse”. [PDF (2.4MB)]9
Argade, Jyoti “Chronotopia” — Bangalore Contemporary Dance and the Embodiment of Historical Memory. [PDF (15.8MB)]19
Briand, Michel. Interplays between Politics and Amateurism : Ritual and Spectacle in Ancient Greece and some Post-modern Experiments (Castellucci, Bagouet, Duboc, Halprin). [PDF (455KB)]33
Carr, Jane Claiming Their Space: Virtuosity in British Jazz dance [PDF (205KB)]49
Carter, Alexandra. To Hellas, in Hyde Park: Revived Greek Dance in London, 1929-1936. [PDF (139KB)]49
Cramer, Franz Anton. Archive as Cultural Heritage: The Digital Monument. [PDF (149KB)]69
David, Ann. Spectacle or Spectacular? The Orientalist Imaginary in Indian Dance Performance in Britain from 1900-1950. [PDF (496KB)]79
Daye, Anne. The Perfect Courtier: How Spectacular Was His Dance? [PDF (188KB)]89
Friedman, Sharon. Struggling to be Heard above the Sound of the Vuvuzela: Assessing the Impact of the Tourist Gaze on the Voice of South African contemporary dance. [PDF (172KB)]97
Grau, Andrée Non Actualised ‘Spectacles’: Dance among the Tiwi of Northern Australia [PDF (147KB)]109
Grotewohl, Jean. “But it’s still just step dancing!”: The Genealogical Confluence of Spectacle and the Spectacular as Practiced in Irish Dance. [PDF (504KB)]115
Hamp, Amanda. Protest for Viewing, Protest for Doing: How freedom of information Makes the Performer a Site Twice Over. [PDF (156KB)]123
Hardin, Tayana L. Josephine Baker and the Performance of Diasporic Memory. [PDF (152KB)]131
Hölscher, Stefan. Forget Sexuality — Desire Differently! On Virtuosic Spectacles and Virtual Orgasms. [PDF (164KB)]137
Kew, Carole. Looking for the Outsider: the “Olympic Youth” Festspiel (1936). [PDF (193KB)]145
Klein, Gabriele. Choreographing the Social: Movement and Space in Urban Life. [PDF (201KB)]153
Lenart, Camelia. Turning the Tide and Reconstructing the Spectacle — a New Perspective on Martha Graham’s Tour to Britain in 1954 and the Response to its Artistic and Political Complexity. [PDF (225KB)]159
Main, Lesley. The Spectacle of Silence and Stillness. An Exploration Through the Work of Doris Humphrey. [PDF (156KB)]169
Mathis-Masury, Elizabeth. The Spectacle of the Stuttgart Ballet Miracle. [PDF (152KB)]177
Mercer, Elliot. Choreographing the Spectacle of Biopolitics. [PDF (918KB)]185
Milanovic, Vesna. ‘Tito and I’ — Dancing in the Spectacle of Tito’s Birthday in the former Yugoslavia. [PDF (438KB)]195
Milazzo, Kathy. The Black African in Spain’s Romantic Age: Negotiations of Identity. [PDF (565KB)]201
Monroe, Raquel. How to Write Field Notes While Receiving a Lap Dance: Or the Multiple Interpellations of the Ethnographer. [PDF (135KB)]211
Mouat, Anna and Mouat, Melissa. Solving the Chinese Puzzle: Pointing Fingers at Dance Iconographic Research Design. [PDF (11.6MB)]217
Paris, Carl. [Re]presenting the Black Masculine: Reggie Wilson’s Big Brick-a man’s piece. [PDF (94KB)] 229
Phillips, Maggi Spectacle and Experiential Theory [PDF (197KB)] 235
Ping, Heng. The Spectacular Dance — 2009 World Games in Taiwan. [PDF (643KB)]243
Richter, Katrina. Trading Taps: Spectacle and Meaning in the Percussive Dance Challenge. [PDF (524KB)]253
Rottenberg, Henia. ‘Ways of Looking’ at Contemporary Dance. [PDF (266KB)]265
Sabo, Linda. Romanticism versus Realism or Choosing How Things Should be Over How They Are: The Historical Use of Spectacle to Subvert the Effects of Social Crisis. [PDF (201KB)]271
Schmidt, Theron. 1967 and the Situation of the Spectacle [PDF (807KB)]281
Schroedter, Stephanie. Dance Spectacles and Spectacular Dances between the July Monarchy and Second Empire. [PDF (38MB)]291
Sparling, Peter. Naked Came I/Eye: Lights, Camera and the Ultimate Spectacle. [PDF (17.3MB)]307
Speer, Kate. The Spectacle of Globalization (via Skype). [PDF (139KB)]319
Tai, Juan Ann. Dance and Power: Political Ideologies and Aesthetic Preferences in Dance Spectacles for Cultural Diplomacy in Taiwan. [PDF (211KB)]325
Thorp, Jennifer. Monsieur L’Abbé and Le Palais des Plaisirs: a New Source for a London Spectacle. [PDF (119KB)]335
Tuan, Iris Hsin-Chun. Dance and Spectacle in Pina Bausch’s Café Müller in Almodóvar’s Film. [PDF (254KB)]345
Uytterhoeven, Lise. Extreme Virtuosity: Moments of Disbelief. [PDF (131KB)]355
Vass-Rhee, Freya. Sound the Spectacle: Listening to Two Works by William Forsythe. [PDF (197KB)]361
Wang, Yunyu. The Role of Dance in the World Games — What is Dance Spectacle? [PDF (1.2MB)]367
Wawrejko, Diane. Banafsheh Sayyad’s NAMAH: Displaying/Displacing Feminist Identity and Politics. [PDF (193KB)]377
Whatley, Sarah. The Spectacle of Mediated Dance; Making and Looking at Dance in New Spaces. [PDF (172KB)]385

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 numbers provide links to the detailed listing.

There were three session periods each day of the conference, for a total of nine. Several sessions were scheduled concurrently during each time period. Each session was categorized as belonging to one of the following categories: History, Identity, Ideology, Mass, Popular, Visuality.

Session Details:

Friday, July 9, 2010 — 09.00-11.00
Friday, July 9, 2010 — 14.30-16.00
Friday, July 9, 2010 — 16.30-18.30
Saturday, July 10, 2010 — 10.00-11.30
Saturday, July 10, 2010 — 14.00-15.30
Saturday, July 10, 2010 — 15.45-17.15
Sunday, July 11, 2010 — 09.00-10.30
Sunday, July 11, 2010 — 11.15-12.45
Sunday, July 11, 2010 — 14.30-16.00

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: Abrams Adair Aldrich Alzalde Argade Ashley Bannerman Bakka Bory Briand Broadhead Brown Buckland Buscher Callison Carpenter Carr Carter Chang Chazin-Bennahum Chou Conibere Copeland Cordova Corrieri Cramer Daly David Daye Dunagan Ehrenberg Elswit Fiskvik Foellmer Fortuna Franco Friedman Garafola Geduld Goff Gonzalez Gore Grau Grotewohl Hammergren Hammond Hamp Hardin Hargreaves Harris Hölscher Geilinger Giersdorf Graff Jackson John Jones Kant Katrak Kedhar Kew Klein Kostoula Kowal Lenart Lin Lindgren Liu Lu Main Manning Mathis-Masury McGrath Meglin Mercer Milanovic Milazzo Monaghan Monroe Morris A. Mouat M. Mouat Myers Nereson Nevile Nijhawan Nugent Paris Penrose Phillips Ping Preston Prickett Pritchard Profeta Radeke Randall Reynolds Richter Rivera-Servera Rosa Rossen Rottenberg Ruprecht Sabo Schmidt Schroedter Scolieri Scott Shaw Shay Sicchio Siegmund Sparling Speer Stewart Storckman Tai Templeton Thain Thomas Thorp Timmons Tomé Tomko Tsang Tuan Tzartzani Urrutia Uytterhoeven Valverde Vass-Rhee Vriend Wang Wawrejko Weisbrod Whatley Wong Wongkaew Woodhouse

Abrams, Joshua
(Roehampton University, U.K.)
Political Spectacle and Spectacular Politics: Dancing Contemporary Images of War
In this presentation, I examine the orange-jumpsuited or black-hooded figures of Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib that shortcut rational thought, asking how their appearance within a dance space may serve to reframe their appearance. Can artistic spectacle offer a chance to reimagine the politics of the contemporary moment? Focusing on work such as Nigel Jamieson and choreographer Garry Stewart’s 2006 Honour Bound alongside Sontag’s notion of the mediatised real and Nancy’s “Spectacle of Society”, I explore how artistic and physical dance spectacle might help us to better contextualise questions of the visual reception of images in our supersaturated world.
Dr Joshua Abrams is Senior Lecturer in Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at Roehampton University and Assistant Editor for PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art. His publications have appeared in a variety of locations, including Theatre Journal, TDR, Western European Stages and PAJ. He is Vice President for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference 2011 and is completing a book-length manuscript on notions of Levinasian ethics in relation to performance.
Adair, Christy
(York St John University, U.K.)
‘Within Between’ — Engaging Communities and Refusing Spectacle in Contemporary Dance Practice in East Africa [PDF (188KB)]
Western perspectives of dance in Africa frequently focus on spectacle and ritual. Contemporary dance in East Africa challenges such perceptions. This paper argues that the emerging dance practices, specifically in Kenya, offer new insights into contemporary dance in relation to dance training, dance communities and gender. Lailah Masiga, one of the few female performers in an art form dominated by men, created a solo, ‘Within Between’, which addresses issues of female genital mutilation. Masiga’s work was met with both gratitude and hostility when she toured it to rural areas of Kenya. Such work exemplifies dance engaging with communities without spectacle.
Christy Adair is Professor of Dance Studies at York St John University. Her book, Dancing the Black Question: the Phoenix Dance Company Phenomenon (Dance Books: 2007) offers a significant critique of key issues in performance. Her research interests, developed in Women and Dance: sylphs and sirens (Macmillan: 1992), continue to focus on gender and ethnicity in relation to dance studies and performance. Her current research is on the emerging contemporary dance practice in East Africa.
Aldrich, Elizabeth
(Library of Congress, U.S.A.)
Letters from the Heart: Martha Graham’s Correspondence with Benjamin Garber in the 1960s and 1970s
Benjamin Garber began dance studies with Martha Graham in the late 1940s. Having left dance to pursue another career, Garber reentered Graham’s life in the early 1960s to become a member of her board, traveling companion, significant funder, and confidant. This presentation centers around a remarkably candid series of letters between Garber and Graham during this tumultuous period of Graham’s life, which are contained in the Benjamin Garber Collection at the Library of Congress.
Elizabeth Aldrich is known for her work in Renaissance, Baroque, and nineteenth-century social dance. She has contributed numerous chapters to volumes on the evolution of social dance in the U.S. and is the author of From the Ballroom to Hell: Grace and Folly in Nineteenth-Century Social Dance. Aldrich served as Executive Director of the Dance Heritage coalition from 1999-2006 and currently is Curator of Dance at the Library of Congress.
Alzalde, Veronica
(University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A.)
Shifting Notions of Spectacle in Maurice Ravel’s “La Valse” [PDF (2.4MB)]
The concept of “spectacle” has high and low cultural connotations; Ravel’s choreographic poem La Valse challenges both meanings. Ravel composed La Valse in 1920 and intended it to be a ballet about nothing but the waltz itself. Unfortunately many productions of the ballet have had issues with choreography and reception, particularly regarding its dramatic ending. This presentation will uncover how La Valse disrupted established conventions of waltz and ballet as they relate to notions of both high and low culture. Ravel created a new kind of spectacle, which proved confusing for 20th century French audiences.
Veronica Alzalde is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Master of Arts in historical musicology. Alzalde’s research focuses on bridging the gap between musicology and dance in the early 20th century. In 2008 she obtained a Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies, also from UW-Madison. Alzalde intends to become a music librarian at an academic institution. She is also a flutist and teaches group fitness classes.
Argade, Jyoti
(University of East London, U.K.)
“Chronotopia” — Bangalore Contemporary Dance and the Embodiment of Historical Memory [PDF (15.8MB)]
Chronotopia had its world premiere in February 2009 in Bangalore, India’s Information Technology Capital. Choreographed by Jayachandran Palazhy of Attakkalari Repertory Company, this multi-media adaptation of the ancient Tamil epic, Chilapathikkaram, offers the city’s spectators a chance to draw upon individuated negotiations of time and space that collapse "classical," "folk" and “traditional” into categories of modern, cosmopolitan, and global. In this paper, I argue that a new mode of dance spectatorial practice is emerging in urban India — catalyzed by the liberalization of India’s private sector in 1991 and precipitated by the subsequent sociocultural effects caused by Bangalore’s IT revolution. These negotiations, I suggest, draw upon embodied historical memory, visions of the technological future, and a dynamic integration of local mythologies, reshaping India post-colonial contours with global significations.
Jyoti Argade is a Bharata Natyam dancer, scholar and producer. Her research explores the globalization and circulation of modern and “classical” Indian dance styles across India, the United States and Britain. She is currently producing a British Council — sponsored collaboration with the London-based choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh and new media artists across India’s metropolitan cities. Dr. Argade recently completed her PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, finished a Fulbright Fellowship in India last year, and will be serving as a Senior Lecturer at the University of East London this fall.
Ashley, Tamara
(Northumbria University, U.K.)
Spectacular Disruptions: Durational Site-responsive Dance Performance and the Refusal of Representation
I will explore representational issues in durational site-responsive dance performances. I will consider how some durational choreographies serve to disrupt conventional relationships between process and product.
What is the nature of a choreography whose temporal dimension extends over days and days? How might a durational choreography offer a spectacular disruption to taken for granted notions of time, place and encounter? Discussion will offer definitions of spectacle and the spectacular that might include the endurance of performers, the epic nature of tasks, the spectacular intimacies of encounters between audiences, performers and sites, and the heroic contributions of audiences in actualising narratives within durational choreographies.
Tamara Ashley investigates changing relationships to the environment through dance improvisation and durational performance. Her PhD research explores site-responsive durational performance practices. Tamara has undertaken a number of durational performances, including a 31 day performance of the Pennine Way National Trail in the UK. Tamara lectures in choreography at Northumbria University and is a PhD candidate in dance at Texas Woman’s University.
Bannerman, Henrietta
(London Contemporary Dance School, U.K.)
Spectacle: Its Presence in the Work of Hofesh Shechter
This paper will consider spectacle as it exists within the choreography of the British-based Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter. Central to my argument will be spectacle as it is manifested in The Choreographer’s Cut: In Your Rooms / Uprising staged at London’s Roundhouse in February 2009. This production sounded a new key for dance in the way that it “transformed a contemporary dance show” into a spectacular rock-style gig (Monahan 2009). I shall claim that the visual and oral extremes of Schechter’s work attract new audiences in the way that they take spectacle in dance to an altogether unprecedented level.
Henrietta Bannerman trained as a dancer in London and New York. After a career teaching dance and choreographing for independent groups she gained a PhD in contemporary dance. She teaches and writes about interdisciplinary studies and dance history and has built an international reputation as a specialist on Martha Graham and British contemporary dance. Her publications for 2010 appear in Dance Research Journal, Research in Dance Education and Forum for Modern Languages (Special Issue).
Bakka, Egil
(Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway)
Spectacularisation in Norwegian Traditional Dance
Drawing upon Norwegian material and more particularly on the recent experiments of the Bygda Dansar project (Countryside Dancing) in which regional traditional dance forms have been theatricalised in a bid to conform to Norwegian cultural policy, Egil Bakka asks the following question: 'Does spectacle necessarily imply an audience-performer split?’ He challenges the idea that the artistic is something to be projected to an audience in a context where the visual is hegemonic and suggests that both performer and audience may engage in a mutual activity of ‘spectacularisation’.
Egil Bakka is Professor of Dance Studies in the department of Music at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and director of the Rff-sentret, the Norwegian Centre for Traditional Music and Dance, Trondheim. He heads the Nordic Masters in Dance Studies and has published widely on Norwegian traditional dance with a special focus on research methodologies.
Bory, Alison
(Davidson College, Queens University of Charlotte, U.S.A.)
Embracing Exhibitionist, Disidentifying with Dancer, Doing Miguel Gutierrez
With a close reading of Miguel Gutierrez’s solo, Retrospective Exhibitionist (2005), this paper examines the ways in which Gutierrez choreographically and performatively crafts his identity through the composition, positioning and re-positioning himself within and against the label of 'dancer. ‘Disidentifying’ with representations of this figure, Gutierrez instead brands himself an “exhibitionist,” a description which grapples with the desire—and the emotional and sexual implications connected to that desire—that undergirds his artistic practice. In this process, Gutierrez asks the audience to re-examine their expectations of both the performer and the performance, questioning their own investment in the spectacle of staging identity.
Alison Bory received her PhD in Dance History and Theory (2008) and her MFA in Experimental Choreography (2006) from the University of California, Riverside. Both her artistic and academic research explore the possibilities and complexities of contemporary autobiographical dance performance. She is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Texas A&M International University.
Briand, Michel
(Universite de Poiters, France)
Interplays between Politics and Amateurism : Ritual and Spectacle in Ancient Greece and some Post-modern Experiments (Castellucci, Bagouet, Duboc, Halprin) [PDF (455KB)]
In ancient Greek choral melic poetry, from Sappho to the theater of the 5th century b. c., the performers did not differ from the audience. They were not professionals, but members of the ritual community. The efficiency of the spectacle was first assessed on an anthropological level. In some post-modern experiments (Castelluci’s Inferno, transmissions of works of Bagouet or Duboc, Anne Collod’s reshapings of Halprin’s Parades and Changes), amateurs still neither perform as citizens nor as professionals, but they participate in a new rituality which may affect contemporary re-definitions of performance, spectacle, and politics.
Professor of ancient Greek language and literature, at the University of Poitiers, France. Special research interests: ancient Greek poetry and fiction, poetics and aesthetics, classical references in modern and contemporary plastic and performing arts. Personal implication : amateur (contemporary) dancer.
Broadhead, Caroline
(Central St. Martins, U.K.)
24ct will be a short improvisation that explores the idea of the spectacle as a quiet and intimate experience.
Angela Woodhouse and Caroline Broadhead have for some years created installations and theatre work that situate the audience within the work. The intention in this presentation is to allow intimate dialogues to be publicly shared and to contribute to questions of visibility and bareness within the context of dance performance. (Co-presenter. Also see Woodhouse, Angela)
Buckland, Theresa
(De Montfort Unversity, U.K.)
Spectacular Hedonism: The Covent Garden Fancy Dress Balls of pre World War One London
In the early 1890s, the theatre at Covent Garden, London became host to an annual series of public fancy dress balls at which the lavish spectacle of scenery and person ran parallel with aristocratic and bourgeois fascination with dressing up as private entertainment. As a licence to shed Victorian restraint, the fancy dress afforded a carnival spirit in which revellers, although well policed, might exhibit their costumes and dancing while all the being watched from the private boxes and amphitheatre.
Theresa Jill Buckland is Professor of Performing Arts at De Montfort University, Leicester, an executive board member of the Society for Dance Research and Vice Chair of the ICTM Study Group on Ethnochoreology. Edited collections include Dance in the Field (Macmillan, 1999) and Dancing from Past to Present: Nation, Culture, Identities (SDHS, University of Wisconsin Press, 2006). Her monograph, Society Dancing in Victorian and Edwardian England is contracted with Palgrave Macmillan.
Buscher, Jennifer
(University of California, Riverside, U.S.A.)
Branding Bodies: Deploying the Dancing Body as a Marketing Strategy
This paper explores how Apple incorporates the dancing body into its advertisements and manages its brand identity through choreographic strategies. I consider the relationship between the urban pedestrian and the iPod silhouette figures in the advertisement, “Wild Postings,” as a visualization of Apple’s larger marketing goals and objectives. This advertisement animates the silhouette forms in response to the pedestrian and reveals how Apple envisions the interaction between its intended audience and the dancing bodies. I argue that Apple successfully choreographs the relationship between its products and its consumers through its strategic deployment of the dancing body in the iPod silhouette marketing campaign.
Jennifer Buscher is a PhD candidate in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Her dissertation project, iBody, examines how Apple successfully choreographs the relationship between its products and its consumers through multiple techniques, including its advertisements and its strategic deployment of the dancing body through the iPod silhouette marketing campaign. She received a B.A. in English, with a minor in Dance, from the University of Kansas (2000) and an M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University (2001).
Callison, Darcey
(York University, Canada)
Busby Berkeley’s Forgotten Men
Busby Berkeley’s spectacle "Remember My Forgotten Man" diverges form showcasing the female body and focuses on men as World War I solders returning home bruised and forgotten. This paper argues, in part, that Berkeley’s spectacle expands scholarly understand of the ‘gaze’ by objectifying a class of men who are persuaded to offer their bodies as patriarchal fodder for the ravages of war. In the end, it is hard to find a more nostalgic or conflicting work of propaganda for the sacrifices of the common man and the pursuit of the American Dream than is found in Berkeley’s “forgotten” spectacle.
Dr. Darcey Callison is the Director of the MFA Graduate Program in Dance at York University in Toronto and is a practicing dance artist. His most recent research explored the traces of Fred Astaire’s signature in the production and imagery of Hollywood’s male dancers; for which he received a creation-research SSHRC grant to produce an hour-long multi-media choreography (Re) Tracing Fred.
Carpenter, Peter
(Columbia College Chicago, U.S.A.)
Queering Cowboy Spectacle at Oil Can Harry’s
The author will consider the conflicting identitarian economies that co-exist in a country-western bar in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. Navigating between the roles of participant/ observer, lead/follow, interviewer/confidant, and object/subject, this paper will consider the possible junctures of traction for a queerly progressive politic on the dance floor. This ethnographic essay is part of a larger project that shows that as dancers’ incorporate movements and stylistic flourishes from other dancers, a kinesthetic exchange occurs that belies values regarding how a cowboy should move and who should (or should not) try to achieve this iconic identity of American-ness.
Peter Carpenter choreographs dances in Chicago, IL, and has dedicated the majority of his career to tracking the complex ways in which identity has been shaped in subaltern communities by HIV/AIDS. His work has been presented and commissioned by numerous festivals, museums, educational institutions and dance companies throughout the U.S. He is an Associate Professor at Columbia College Chicago. He completed his graduate coursework at UCLA where he earned an MFA in Dance and is currently ABD in Culture and Performance Studies.
Carr, Jane
(University of Lincoln, U.K.)
Claiming Their Space: Virtuosity in British Jazz dance [PDF (205KB)]
Before breakin’ and hip hop were heard of in the UK, young people were battling for supremacy on the dance floor, developing virtuosic dance styles performed to jazz. For a generation of predominantly Black youths, a harsh economic climate coupled with racial tensions often meant their chances of employment were limited and thus success on the dance floor provided an alternative means to acquiring status and opportunities. But, such gains were often short lived. Looking back at this dance phenomenon will raise questions about attitudes to the virtuosic and cultural fusions in dance within Britain during this period.
D. Jane Carr PhD ARAD: Jane initially trained and worked as a ballet dancer before studying at Laban and later at Roehampton University. She was a founder member of quiet, an artists’ group that worked collaboratively towards performance and installation and organised dance activities for over fifteen years at Morley College in south east London. More recently she was Head of Studies at Central School of Ballet and lectured in dance history and culture, analysis, and ballet at Laban before moving to the University of Lincoln where she aims to develop her interdisciplinary approach to exploring the significance of dance.
Carter, Alexandra
(Middlesex University, U.K.)
To Hellas, in Hyde Park: Revived Greek Dance in London, 1929-1936 [PDF (139KB)]
Between 1926-1935 Ruby Ginner presented annual concerts in Hyde Park and Regents Park, London. These brought her own conception of ‘revived’ Greek Dance to large audiences. Like others of this period, she turned to the Hellenic Greeks as exemplars of harmony within the individual and between individuals and their society. Unlike her immediate forbears in dance, however, Ginner also devised a systematic technical training. Despite such a heritage and technical rigour, however, her company performances were transformed by the location and the critics from the popular but misconceived perception of the spectacle of Greek theatre in to domestic public display.
Alexandra Carter is Professor of Dance Studies at Middlesex University, London. She edited Rethinking Dance History (2004), sole authored Dance and Dancers in the Victorian and Edwardian Music Hall (2005) and co-edited the second edition of the Routledge Dance Studies Reader (2010). She was Co-investigator on the Pioneer Women: early British modern dancers project and is co-editing a book on Dancing Naturally (Palgrave, 2011) which will rise from that project.
Chang, Szu-Ching
(University of California, Riverside, U.S.A.)
Staging Marital Heroine: Bio-politics, Gender, and the Ambiguous Body
This paper focuses on the dance performances of martial heroine, a semi-Fascist spectacle which was widely presented in national ceremonies, in the Cold War Taiwan. Drawing the discussions from Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben, I investigate how the nation-state required its people to internalize and to embody its power publicly and how female body was symbolically employed to define and redefine the line between sacred Chinese citizens and impure “communist bandits”. By these analyses, I argue that, by performing masculinity, female dancing body secured its position as the sacred subject that visualized the fantasy of the nation-state.
Szu-Ching Chang is a Ph.D. candidate in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. She is currently working on her dissertation and its working title is “Dancing with Nostalgia: Nationality, Gender and Bodily Memory in Taiwanese Contemporary Dance.” Her research examines Taiwanese female choreographers’ incorporations of ritual and investigates the issues of dancing and gender, cultural memory, postcolonialism, and global/local configuration. She holds her M.A. in Performance Studies from National Taiwan University of Arts.
Chazin-Bennahum, Judith
(University of New Mexico, U.S.A.)
In Search of René Blum: The Archeology of a Lost Life
I am completing a biography of René Blum, the French-born director of the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo who had a long and distinguished career as a writer, literature and art critic, and theatre and ballet impresario before he was killed in the Holocaust. In this essay I discuss the difficulties of tracing his missing papers, including an unpublished autobiographical manuscript, in police files as well as the archives of the Holocaust and Jewish museums.
Judith Chazin-Bennahum is a Distinguished Professor Emerita, Department of Theatre and Dance, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. A former principal soloist with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, she is the author of Dance in the Shadow of the Guillotine, The Ballets or Antony Tudor, and The Lure of Perfection: Fashion and Ballet (1780-1830), and editor of The Living Dance: An Anthology of Essays on Movement and Culture.
Chou, Suling
(Tsoying High School, Taiwan)
The Local Spirit in the World Game — What Kaohsiung presents?
Recently, large-scale opening ceremonies of international athletic events were held in Beijing (Summer Olympics 8/08), Kaoshiung (World Games, 7/09) and Taipei (Deaflympics 9/09). Focusing on the World Games Ceremony held at Taiwan’s southern port city, our panelists will reflect on their experience as core members of this creative team.
Based on a harmonious narrative of mutual coexistence among Taiwan’s ethnic groups, this Ceremony highlighted Kaoshiung’s heroes/heroines through the incorporation of local rituals and contemporary festivities. However, comparison with the more “nationalistic” emphasis of the Beijing Olympics, as well as the fine line between art and politics will also be examined.
Suling Chou founded the Dance Division of Tosying High School in 1983, the very first dance program in high school in Taiwan and has been the Director since then. She established Tso’s Dance Association and has been the Chief Secretary. She is also commissioned as Taiwan Head Chapter of WDAAP(World Dance Alliance Asian Pacific). She was awarded "Excellent Teacher Prize" and “Kaohsiung Culture and Arts Prize” for her achievements. In 2009 World Games, she was assigned as Executive Director of rehearsal and production.
Conibere, Nicola
(Laban, U.K.)
Diverting Spectacle
This paper will be presented as a structured dialogue between Nicola Conibere and Augusto Corrieri. Drawing on their respective work, both artists will address how spectacle might function as part of the mechanics of the theatrical, as a means to productively inform relationships with audiences.
Conibere’s practice asks how the exchange between performers and audience can be acknowledged through the live event, as a means for viewers to encounter tools of theatrical spectacle as a source for making and transforming meaning.
Corrieri’s work attempts to uncover the codes and conventions of theatre by explicitly reversing the roles of performers and spectators, light and darkness, music and silence, movement and stillness, the visible and the invisible.
Nicola Conibere is a choreographer and writer. She is currently a PhD candidate at Laban, where she completed her MA. She is an Associate Artist at Dance4 and her performance work has been shown in a range of theatre and gallery venues. Her writing on performance has been published in Dance Theatre Journal.
Copeland, Roger
(Oberlin College, U.S.A.)
“On Style” in Riefenstahl: Susan Sontag and the Aesthetics of Fascist Spectacle
This presentation will attempt a close reading of Susan Sontag’s 1974 essay "Fascinating Fascism," one of the most influential examinations of fascist spectacle ever published. Drawing on Walter Benjamin’s distinction between communist and fascist attitudes toward art and politics, Sontag illustrates the way in which Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl "aestheticizes politics" in "Triumph of the Will" (as opposed to Soviet artists whose goal is to "politicize art.") Utilizing excerpts from Riefenstahl’s best known films, this presentation will examine the erotic stylization of the human body which is central to what Sontag calls “the chorography” at the heart of fascist spectacle.
Roger Copeland is Professor of Theater and Dance at Oberlin College. His books include the widely used anthology, What Is Dance? and Merce Cunningham: The Modernizing of Modern Dance His essays about dance, theater, and film have appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, The Village Voice, Dance Theatre Journal, The Drama Review, Film Comment, and many other publications. His 1981 interview with Susan Sontag appears in the book Conversations With Susan Sontag edited by Leland Pogue.
Cordova, Sarah
(Marquette University, U.S.A.)
The Spectacle of History in Romantic Ballet
I examine the incorporation of history in Romantic ballets that premiered when French historians conceptualised historicity, and assigned some forces of history to vectors other than the monarchy, and when literary historicists invented French traditions by giving canonical status to re-discovered medieval texts. Responding to this fascination with the past, these ballets historicize dance’s own development, and intersect with literary history and with one another. Highlighting Romantic ballets’ figuration of this infatuation with history and furnishing recognisable allusions to historical moments and events, I would argue that the ballets contributed on stage to the development of France’s historical discourses.
Working at the intersections of dance and narrative, history and (auto)-biography, and French and Francophone literatures and cultures, her interdisciplinary research in dance and corporeality examines their representations and movement patterns, in memory and topographically, and encompasses the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries in France, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa. She teaches French and Francophone literatures and cultures at Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI with a focus on colonial and post-colonial migrations, hospitality and reconciliation.
Corrieri, Augusto
(Roehampton University, U.K.)
Diverting Spectacle
This paper will be presented as a structured dialogue between Nicola Conibere and Augusto Corrieri. Drawing on their respective work, both artists will address how spectacle might function as part of the mechanics of the theatrical, as a means to productively inform relationships with audiences.
Conibere’s practice asks how the exchange between performers and audience can be acknowledged through the live event, as a means for viewers to encounter tools of theatrical spectacle as a source for making and transforming meaning.
Corrieri’s work attempts to uncover the codes and conventions of theatre by explicitly reversing the roles of performers and spectators, light and darkness, music and silence, movement and stillness, the visible and the invisible.
Augusto Corrieri is a performance artist, choreographer and writer. Originally trained as a magician, Corrieri graduated from Dartington College of Arts in 2002; since then he has been making and showing a growing body of work for stage and gallery spaces. His performances playfully implicate the spectator in the construction of the event, employing a series of tools taken from the connected histories of performance, dance and theatre.
Cramer, Franz Anton
(Berlin and Paris)
Archive as Cultural Heritage: The Digital Monument [PDF (188KB)]
The archive has become a privileged point of interest in scholarly activities as well as artistic creation. The widespread activities in digitizing archival material related to dance gives the problematic a new turn. For what has been immaterial in its appearance had been translated into material sources which, currently, are being re-inscribed in an immaterial medium. The digital resources enable instant access, but at the same time turn down the archival claim of prolonged presence. German collections of dance are working on these implications for defining a “cultural heritage of dance”.
Franz Anton Cramer has collaborated with the Tanzarchiv Leipzig and the Centre national de la danse in Pantin as a researcher. He is a Fellow at the Collège international de philosophie in Paris and was Visiting Professor at Berlin’s Inter-University Dance Department. He is currently involved with Tanzplan Deutschland to set up a national Dance Heritage program in Germany.
Daly, Janis
(Independent Scholar)
Mapping an Ecological Journey with Bausch’s Tanztheater
This paper focuses on the spectator as Mitreisender or ‘fellow traveller’ in Bausch’s Tanztheater; a role integral to her collaborative postmodern approach to performance. Proposing a new integrated ecological approach, cultural ecology examines how Bausch’s affective processes stimulate dynamic interrelationships between performer, spectator and their sensory environment, fuelling interrogative explorations and experiential journeys in an evolving work in progress. This ecological approach offers new insights into Tanztheater’s distinctive compositional features, Verfremdung strategies, interactive environment and eclectic vocabulary and a means to appreciate the inherent values of Bausch’s multi-faceted aesthetic and postmodern performance approach.
Janis Campbell Daly, PhD. Following her formal dance training and choreographic career in theatre, film and television, her work has combined teaching and lecturing with research into the development of new analytical approaches to dance, physical theatre and experimental performance. Recently awarded her PhD for a new ecological approach to Bausch’s Tanztheater, she is currently adapting this work for publication and researching the Anglo-American stylistic legacy of British-born jazz choreographer, Norman Maen.
David, Ann
(Roehampton University, U.K.)
Spectacle or Spectacular? The Orientalist Imaginary in Indian Dance Performance in Britain from 1900-1950 [PDF (279KB)]
This paper addresses the notion of spectacle and the spectacular through a close examination of the concerts of Indian dancer Ram Gopal, as well as the performances of Uday Shankar in Britain in the early 1930s. How was a colonialist framework used to view their performances? What of the context of the vaudeville, interpretive dancers of the earlier period who presented imagined dances of the East? I argue that Gopal’s performances not only challenged orientalist views of the spectacle of Eastern dance, but also paved the way for an increasing number of classical Indian dancer performances in Britain in the post-war period.
Dr Ann R David is Principal Lecturer at Roehampton University where she teaches on the BA and MA Dance Programmes, as well as supervising PhD candidates. She is Convener of BA Dance Studies, and is currently completing work as a Research Fellow on a major international project examining the religious lives of immigrant groups in London, funded by the Ford Foundation. Her work is based in dance anthropology and dance ethnography with a focus on South Asia.
Daye, Anne
(Laban, U.K.)
The Perfect Courtier: How Spectacular Was His Dance? [PDF (188KB)]
The argument of Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier, is the necessity for grace in all actions. When dancing comes under review the perfect grace and nonchalance of the courtier is considered superior to the imperfect virtuosity of the professional performer in service to a court. Yet the galliard demands the fast footwork and astounding leaps we consider typical of a professional dancer. By relating the conduct books with the dance treatises, alongside information on the galliard at the Jacobean court, ideas of perfection and spectacle will be negotiated.
My engagement with 16th and 17th century dance has spanned nearly thirty years, teaching, reconstructing, researching and writing. Research into the Stuart masque led to a doctoral thesis in 2008. I encourage engagement with dancing from the 15th to 19th centuries as Chairman of the Dolmetsch Historical Dance Society.
Currently I teach undergraduate dance history at Laban, and support the reconstructions of key works of modern dance with contextual studies.
Dunagan, Colleen
(California State University, Long Beach, U.S.A.)
“Philosophies of Spectacle in Contemporary Visual Culture: the Busby Berkeley Affect/Effect”
What philosophy of spectacle inheres within contemporary dance-commercials? What role does the body play in this idea of spectacle, and how does the conscious shaping of movement’s rhythm and effort qualities create spectacular bodies? The dance-commercials of the last 10 years often appropriate the visual aesthetic of Busby Berkeley’s musical numbers from the 1930s. Reading dance-commercials from an array of companies I explore how philosophies of spectacle operate within contemporary television commercials and how the dancing body functions as an expression of excess that, like the mass production of images, contributes to the creation of spectacle.
Colleen T. Dunagan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Dance at California State University, Long Beach. She has presented her research on dance in television advertising at SDHS and PCA. Her writing on dance-commercials appears in Dance Research Journal and The International Journal of Arts in Society. She has also contributed and co-guest edited a special issue on dance for Topoi: An International Review of Philosophy.
Ehrenberg, Shantel
(University of Manchester, U.K.)
The Dancing Self/Other: a Conceptual Overview
This paper will address the interaction and disjuncture between self-feeling (kinaesthesia), imagining, and viewing (e.g. video) in one context via a case study with a skilled contemporary dancer. Theory informing this presentation will be from phenomenological and dance studies literature and explore dancer experiences as they relate to intentionality, reflexivity and intersubjectivity/intercorporeality. How are self-feeling, imagining, and viewing central to a dancer’s idea of a ‘dancing self’ and yet fragmented and ever-escaping perceptual experiences? In what ways does the dancer attempt to negotiate what dancing feels like and what he/she imagines the dancing looks like from the outside?
Shantel is pursuing her PhD at the University of Manchester with Professor Dee Reynolds and serving on the AHRC-funded Watching Dance project. She received her MFA at the University of California, Irvine, and her MSc at Laban. Her research for the past five years has centred on dancers’ self-reflection via various technologies, such as mirrors, point-light displays, and video. Shantel has held lecture posts at UK institutions such as Trinity Laban and Bird College.
Elswit, Kate
(Stanford University, U.S.A.)
Talhoff, Wigman, and Wigman Stage Sacrifice Across the Atlantic
In 1930, Mary Wigman collaborated with Swiss poet Albert Talhoff to produce the multimedia performance Totenmal, which was contentious for its treatment of the World War I dead. Between 1931-32, Wigman toured her dance cycle Opfer around the United States of America, continuing in successful solo form many of the earlier piece’s themes of martyrdom and sacrifice. Through Rancière’s “distribution of the sensible” I think about the politics of watching these related performances in terms of what they were allowed or not to be or do and for whom they were allowed and not allowed to be or do it.
Kate Elswit is currently an Andrew W. Mellon Humanities Fellow in Stanford University’s Drama Department, having completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2009. Between 2006-09, she taught in the graduate school at Laban. Her essays on physicality and meaning-making at the intersections of dance and Weimar culture have been published in Modern Drama, TDR:The Drama Review, Performance Research, and Art Journal.
Fiskvik, Anne
(Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway)
A spectacular Norwegian Dance Film: “Veslefrikk”
This paper discusses the first dance film produced in Norway: "Veslefrikk" choreographed by Gerd Kjølaas and filmed in 1953. The paper looks into the cultural politics and aesthetic choices that lay behind the filming of Kjølaas’ choreography. The filming of "Veslefrikk" was an important event for the Norwegian dance community since it documented and made visible its existence. I argue that the filming of the work was made "spectacular" as a part of the states politics in the early 1950’s, when the government was trying to exhibit and propaganda a unified and “Norwegian” Norway.
Dr. Anne Margrete Fiskvik has worked as a professional dancer and choreographer from 1990-2000. She then pursued an academic career and today her main research areas are: Early Dance History, Norwegian Theatre and Folk Dance History, Choreomusical Analysis and Practice(s) in Theatre- and Popular Dance and Music Cultures. She currently works as "Førsteamanuensis" (Assistant Professor) at Department for Dance Studies, NTNU and also participates in the Nordic reseach project “Dance in Nordic Spaces”.
Foellmer, Susan
(Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany)
“Yes to Spectacle!”: Dance and Representation Today
Since the 1990ies, choreographers like Xavier Le Roy and Jérôme Bel were following the withdrawal of spectacle articulated in Yvonne Rainer’s “NO”-Manifesto in order to escape the needs of conformity within the economics of performing art. Discursive reflections about certain modes of spectacle entered the stage, deconstructing the body as a producer of signs. Choreographers like Mette Ingvartsen or Jeremy Wade now interrupt this often as minimalist reckoned aesthetic by bringing the body as a spectacular object itself into play thereby indicating a change of an aesthetic paradigm: Criticizing spectacle not by denying it anymore but deliberately making use of it.
Susan Foellmer works as a lecturer and research assistant at the performing arts department of the Freie Universitaet Berlin. She is giving international lectures and published numerous essays and books on history and aesthetical theory in dance, among them "Valeska Gert" (2006) and “Am Rand der Koerper. Inventuren des Unabgeschlossenen im zeitgenoessischen Tanz” (On the Edge of the Bodies. Inventories of the Unfinished in Contemporary Dance, 2009). Last year she was awarded the Tiburtius-Preis for her doctoral thesis.
Fortuna, Victoria
(Northwestern University, U.S.A.)
“Women in the Plaza: Dancing Presence for Absence”
This presentation examines the political mobilization of gender in dance-based memory practices in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Bogotá, Colombia. It considers how two all female dance companies employ movement within larger urban intervention performances to re-member and demand justice for those "disappeared" by state violence in their respective contexts. Each instance represents a complex negotiation of “public” femininity in which the female dancing body functions as both a conduit for the disappeared and the embodiment of the nation’s cry for justice — a dual role which foregrounds the power of movement as memory practice at the same time that it traffics in deep histories of gendered nationhood.
Victoria is a PhD student in the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University. Her dissertation focuses on the relationship between Buenos Aires, Argentina based contemporary dance and politics from the 1960s to the present, with specific attention to how dance represents, resists, and remembers state violence. She is trained in classical and contemporary modern dance techniques and is an active choreographer and instructor.
Friedman, Sharon
(University of Cape Town, South Africa)
Struggling to be Heard above the Sound of the Vuvuzela: Assessing the Impact of the Tourist Gaze on the Voice of South African contemporary dance [PDF (172KB)]
Since the late 1980s there has developed in South Africa, a theatrical, contemporary South African concert dance which although often informed by indigenous roots, utilises a variety of contemporary dance techniques to express current concerns. However, at the same time, a popular form of 'African’ dance has developed which is defined by the tourist gaze This paper questions the extent to which this pervasive perception of ‘African’ dance as a tourist curiosity impacts on the continued development of contemporary African theatrical dance that may prefer to be recognised as the unique South African contribution to serious concert dance globally.
Sharon Friedman holds a BA (Hons) History, a Postgraduate Diploma in Education and an MMus (dance education). She is currently a Senior Lecturer at the UCT School of Dance lecturing in Contemporary Dance, Dance History and Teaching Methodology. Her main area of focus has been the restructuring of the dance teacher training programmes in the light of problematic areas in post-apartheid Arts education which has highlighted issues around the perception of South African Dance.
Garafola, Lynn
(Barnard College, Columbia University, U.S.A.)
Crafted by Many Hands: Re-Reading Bronislava Nijinska’s /Early Memoirs
In 1981 Bronislava Nijinska’s Early Memoirs, the last autobiography by a major figure in Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, was published to near universal praise. However, as the choreographer’s notes, drafts, and early autobiographical manuscripts make clear, Early Memoirs is a composite work, crafted by multiple hands and harboring within itself alternative and even contradictory readings of the dominant story.
Lynn Garafola is a Professor of Dance at Barnard College. A historian and critic, she is the author of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and Legacies of Twentieth-Century Dance, editor of several books, and curator, most recently, of the exhibitions New York Story: Jerome Robbins and His World and Diaghilev’s Theater of Marvels: The Ballets Russes and Its Aftermath.
Geduld, Victoria Phillips
(Columbia University, U.S.A.)
All Fall Down: The New Dance Group and Capitalism as the ‘Highest Stage’ of Communism, 1932-2009
The New Dance Group first appeared during a communist-inspired rally in 1932. Their 1933 program and dances including Hunger, Parasite, and later Van der Lubbe’s Head, demonstrated NDG’s ties to radical socialist ideology. Yet by 1935 they had moved to concert halls and the Works Progress Administration with dances that included protest, but championed the American spirit. In 1955, NDG entered the capitalist system it had once decried when it purchased a building. As the building became appropriated for its material asset value, this American institution reflected the twenty-first century spectacle of capitalism’s implosion in bankruptcy.
Victoria Phillips Geduld is a doctoral candidate Columbia University in the Department of History. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, American Communist History, Dance Chronicle, Ethel Winter and her Choreography, and Grant’s Interest Rate Observer. Her 2008 exhibit, Dance is a Weapon, opened at the Centre National de la Dance, continues to tour France, and included the publication of a catalogue. She has articles forthcoming in American Communist History, and Ballet Review.
Goff, Moira
(British Library, U.K.)
Scenes, Machines and Dancing in Restoration London
During the 1670s, two new playhouses were built in London, equipped with the latest in perspective scenery and stage machinery quickly put to use in several lavish spectaculars. Charles II’s court was also encouraged to put on elaborate entertainments. Dance was an important element in all these productions, which looked for inspiration to French court ballets and even had French dancers in the cast - despite growing anti-Catholic and anti-French feelings amongst Londoners. This paper focusses on the use of dance in these spectaculars, exploring this in the context of theatrical and cultural as well as political tensions.
Dr Moira Goff researches, reconstructs, performs and teaches the ballroom and theatrical dances surviving in notation from the early eighteenth century. She regularly gives papers and has published widely on baroque dance. The main focus of her research is dancing on the London stage 1660-1760, and her book The Incomparable Hester Santlow was published in 2007. Moira is a curator of early printed books at the British Library in London.
Gonzalez, Anita
(State University of New York at New Paltz, U.S.A.)
When to Wear Black: Dance Impersonations and Blackface Navigations
Recent Blackface performances by super model Laura Stone in the French Vogue magazine demonstrate that Blackface is one way of negotiating power in places and spaces where whites compete with blacks for economic advancement or social standing. Two case studies also illuminate the thesis. In Mexico, danced local responses to African presence create dialogic negotiations with Native American communities about the status of blacks, while in Liverpool UK, Irishmen use minstrelsy to distance themselves from local stereotypes and re-negotiate their social standing within British society. This paper investigates “wearing black,” as a multi-ethnic dance of contestable social standings. (Co-presenter. Also see Storckman, Annette)
Anita Gonzalez ( is an Associate Professor at the State University of New York – New Paltz. She is the author of Jarocho’s Soul: Cultural Identity and Afro-Mexican Dance (Rowan and Littlefield) and Afro-Mexico: Dancing Between Myth and Reality (U Texas Press). She has published essays in Radical History Review, Modern Drama, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Community and Performance Reader, and Dance Research Journal.
Gore, Georgiana
(Blaise Pascal University, France)
Flash Mob Dancing: Disruption and Intensification of the Habitual and Spectacular
This presentation addresses how the unexpected intrusion of dance in public spaces through Flash mobbing disrupts the temporal flow of daily activity and plays upon diverse registers of the senses. Designed to create a visual stir, flash mob dancing is inevitably a spectacle, but one which challenges received notions, as sometimes it blurs the boundaries between performer and audience and sometimes reinforces them. Territorialising anonymous spaces of public passage while deterritorialising staked out spaces, the dancing, Gore argues, is less about the exhibition of meaning through the moving body than a marker intensifying the relations at play in the situation.
Georgiana Gore is Professor of Anthropology of Dance at Blaise Pascal University, Clermont-Ferrand, and co-directs the Ethnomusicology and Dance Anthropology Masters co-validated with the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre. Her research focuses on epistemological and theoretical issues in dance anthropology, and on African dancing. Publications include Anthropologie de la danse: genèse et construction d’une discipline with Andrée Grau.
Grau, Andrée
(Roehampton University, U.K.)
Non Actualised ‘Spectacles’: Dance among the Tiwi of Northern Australia [PDF (180KB)]
This presentation engages with two aspects underpinning the popular notion of spectacle: the 'act of looking’ and the 'strange’, the 'interesting’. It examines the visual dimension of Tiwi Australian Aboriginal dancing (that is, body parts moving being the enactment of identifiable kinship ties in the 'Kinship dances’, Tiwi cosmology being embodied in the 'Dreaming dances’) and its relationship to what may be identified as a ‘Tiwi cognitive map’ (of kinship, landscape, the Dreaming etc.). Arguing that the spectacle is more virtual than spectacularly actualised, Andrée Grau will discuss its implications in relation to the creation of Tiwi tourist dance performances.
Andrée Grau is Professor of Anthropology of Dance at Roehampton University London. She coordinates the MA/MFA Dance Cluster and convenes the MA in Dance Anthropology. Her research areas include Tiwi aboriginal dancing and South Asian dance in Britain with a focus on issues of identity in the postcolonial world. She publishes widely in these areas and is currently completing a book on South Asian dance and the politics of multiculturalism in relation to the Sarabhai family.
Grotewohl, Jean
(Texas Women’s University, U.S.A.)
“But it’s still just step dancing!”: The Genealogical Confluence of Spectacle and the Spectacular as Practiced in Irish Dance [PDF (504KB)]
In multiple Irish dance traditions, it is the solo step dancer who creates spectacle. These traditions focus on the soloist who cultivates virtuosity that, in turn, emerges spectacular technique within the spectacle of each performance. This paper asserts that the transmissions and transformations of virtuosity serve to revise how critics and viewers see the spectacular within Irish dance performances today. Contemporary Irish step dancers utilize both spectacular technique and spectacle in their choreography. Specific dance enactments are discussed as contiguous contributions to an existing tradition that, historically, can be identified specifically through a play on virtuosity as both/and spectacular and spectacle.
Grotewohl is a life-long practitioner of living dance traditions, particularly Irish dance forms. Her research focuses on dance practices that emerge both imitated and invented repertoires and how practitioners transmit their dance knowledge to others. She is a Certified (Laban) Movement Analyst and Doctoral Candidate (A.B.D.) at Texas Woman’s University. She has been a dance educator since 1988, and is currently a Lecturer at UNCC-Charlotte teaching World Dance, Arts & Society, and Performance Practicum.
Hammergren, Lena
(Stockholm University, Sweden)
Dance, Democracy and Open Source Movement
My paper investigates the application of open source procedures in contemporary dance, in Europe. Choreographers use strategies such as recycling movement material without considering copyright. Part of the ideology is a critique of a neo-liberal capitalism, but also a universalized notion of democracy. Gendered or ethnic identity categories are absent. “Spectacular” expressions, as dancing in the nude, are not performed in dialogue with contemporary social debates about religious and cultural difference. Instead, politics are considered immanent to the practice of dancing itself, and these attitudes can be linked to the post-communist era and changes in the discursive aspects of democracy.
Lena Hammergren, Professor at the Department for Musicology and Performance Studies, Stockholm University, and University for Dance and Circus, Stockholm. Her research fields are dance history and cultural theory. She is currently working with the project Dance in Nordic Spaces. Her most recent publication in English is “The Power of Classification” in Worlding Dance, ed. S.L. Foster (2009). Since 2007 she serves as member of the Board of Directors of Society for Dance History Scholars.
Hammond, Helena
(University of Surrey, U.K.)
Spectacular Histories: The Ballets Russes, the gesamtkunstwerk, French Historiography and Staging the Past
This paper re-reads the Ballets Russes danced gesamtkunstwerk as potent vehicle for staging historical representations of the past. Analysing how a special conjunction of the total art work - so axiomatic of dance as spectacle — and history drove so much of the Ballets Russes project, it re-evaluates key works in the company’s repertoire. The enduring image of Diaghilev’s enterprise, as an avant-garde project interested only in breaking with the historical past, is highly partial, this paper suggests. It argues instead for the company as motor of the most thorough-going retrospectivism, proposing that in Diaghilev’s hands, the key to ballet’s progressive avant-gardism lay as often in its radical retrospectivism.
Helena Hammond is Lecturer in Dance at the University of Surrey, UK. Currently completing a book project on the politics of historical representation in dance, her recent publications include as contributor to the exhibition catalogue accompanying The Ballets Russes: the Art of Costume (National Gallery of Australia, Canberra/Thames and Hudson, 2010) and the new edition of Fifty Contemporary Choreographers (Routledge, 2010) for which she wrote the essay on Wayne McGregor.
Hamp, Amanda
(Luther College, U.S.A)
Protest for Viewing, Protest for Doing: How freedom of information Makes the Performer a Site Twice Over [PDF (156KB)]
freedom of information is a 24-hour score during which the solo performer moves continuously, wears a blindfold and earplugs, and refrains from eating. Its intention is to recognize the impact of the U.S.’s continued occupation in war zones. The project’s designer, Miguel Gutierrez, identifies it as a performance/protest/ritual. Emphasis on the performer’s experience might seem to diminish foi’s function as performance or spectacle, but it actually increases its performative complexity. My experiential research, as a participant in foi2008, discovers that the performer is both the visual site in terms of performance, and the practical site in terms of protest.
Amanda Hamp teaches in the Theatre/Dance department and Paideia program at Luther College. She collaborates with Jane Hawley in facilitating and developing the dance program and Movement Fundamentals curriculum, and teaches interdisciplinary first-year and capstone courses. She continues with compositional and performance work with various groups and individual artists. Hamp holds degrees from Luther College (B.A), the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance (Professional Diploma in Dance Studies), and the University of Iowa (M.F.A).
Hardin, Tayana L.
(University of Michigan, U.S.A.)
Josephine Baker and the Performance of Diasporic Memory [PDF (152KB)]
This paper focuses on the climactic performance of an Afro-Cuban conga in Princesse Tam Tam, a popular 1935 French film starring the African-American dancer Josephine Baker. The spectacle of Baker’s dancing in this scene represents a peculiar pooling or gathering of black diasporic experiences past and present, and, by extension, calls attention to the traffic in specters and violence that were so integral to the formation of black diasporic cultures. Relying on the filmed dance sequence, Baker’s memoir and secondary, critical sources, this paper demonstrates the capacity of dance to destabilize the constructions of historical time.
Tayana L. Hardin is a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Her dissertation project is entitled, “Rituals of Return: Remembrance and the Sacred in African-American Women”s Twentieth Century Dance, Performance, and Literature. Drawing from the fields of performance studies, cultural studies, and black feminist criticism and theologies, Hardin explores the coexistence of violence and the sacred in the works of Josephine Baker, Katherine Dunham, Ntozake Shange and Julie Dash.
Hargreaves, Martin
(Laban, U.K.)
Giving it all You’ve Got and More: Queer Spectacular Excess
This paper considers choreographic affirmations of spectacle which push it to excess. It examines Russian Roulette (2009) by Lea Anderson which redeployed chorus line displays and a sex-show aesthetic in order to propose an engagement with the spectacle that both seduces and repels, excites and repudiates. The work references the modalities of queer performances that embrace spectacle tightly, so closely that it invites recognition in the dancers’ perversities and transgressive erogenous appendages but also exposes the production of alterity through abjection and unsettles the reading of the work according to norms of theatricality.
Martin Hargreaves wrote a PhD on The Performativity of Masculinity in British Contemporary Dance at De Montfort University in Leicester. He the Editor of Publications and Programme Leader MA Dance Theatre: The Body in Performance at Laban.
Harris, Andrea
(University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A)
Sur la pointe on the Prairie: Ballet in the Wild West Spectacle
Audiences at The Scouts of the Prairie shivered as Buffalo Bill Cody fought fifty real-life, knife-throwing Indians on stage. Forerunner to the Wild West extravaganzas, the play also featured ballerina Giuseppina Morlacchi as Dove Eye, Cody’s Indian lover.
Studies of the Wild West’s impact on American culture abound, but the incongruous appearance of a La Scala-trained, Milanese émigré as an American Indian woman, wearing buckskin and pointes, is overlooked. I examine the dizzying visual play of artistic, cultural, and political oppositions in Morlacchi’s Dove Eye, arguing her dancing was central to the theatrical formation of a new “native” American identity.
Andrea Harris, assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the author of essays on American ballet in Interrogating America through Theatre and Performance, Avant-Garde Performance and Material Exchange: Vectors of the Radical, and Discourses in Dance. She also edited Before, Between, Beyond: Three Decades of Dance Writing. Her current research examines the migration and negotiation of modernist styles, artistic genres, national affiliations, and politics in the Cold War Americanization of ballet.
Hölscher, Stefan
(Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany)
Forget Sexuality — Desire Differently! On Virtuosic Spectacles and Virtual Orgasms [PDF (164KB)]
In her piece To come from 2005 Danish choreographer Mette Ingvartsen rises the question how bodies might connect differently and find new territories for desire in a world oversaturated by the pleasure of sexuality which is exhibited in various media. In his heavy polemic against Michel Foucault’s "The Will to Knowledge" Jean Baudrillard had asserted in 1976: “And what if sex itself is no longer sex?” Nevertheless there is something else than pleasure in the Foucaultian sense: How can bodies get into the position to invent new desires? What kinds of affects might connect bodies differently?
Stefan Hölscher was born 1980 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, where he also currently lives. He moved back there after he had studied Applied Theatre Studies in Giessen from 2001 till 2008. He now works there as research associate for a new MA programe called Choreography and Performance. Besides writing his PhD (working title: Capable bodies: Dance between aesthetics and biopolitics) he also develops his own pieces in cooperation with other people from Frankfurt and Giessen.
Geilinger, Fiona
(University of Brighton, U.K.)
‘WARP’ Moving Body Woven and Printed Patterns
‘WARP’ How can moving images of the human body, that create a ‘human fabric’, help an audience relate to their architectural environment?
The ‘Warp’ series of short videos are pattern-based, with woven and print inspired structures, designed to be projected onto architecture. The focus shifts between the individual and their anonymous place in the fabric of society, when replicated to a spectacular scale.
Fiona Geilinger was awarded a distinction for her ‘MA Art and Design by Independent Project’ at University of Brighton, 2009 and is planning a PhD. She has a BA in Performance Art (Contemporary Dance) and continues to study contemporary dance and ballet.
Fiona has worked as a Picture Editor and Presentation Director at Channel 4 and as a self-employed designer. She has video production, post-production and performance skills that she uses in the making of her work.
Giersdorf, Jens Richard
(Marymount Manhattan College, U.S.A.)
Identity Politics and Universal Historiography
This presentation scrutinizes two related aspects of political intervention in choreographic practice: the nationalized creation of ethnic differences and the canonization of cultural production. The East German choreography Spring in Vietnam!, celebrated the figure of the Vietnamese revolutionary. The inclusion of the Vietnamese revolutionary within the repertory of the East German Folk Dance Ensemble marked the parameters of socialist deployments of "the national" and “postcolonial.” Both categories operated as a mode of claiming ideological sameness with nationals marked by racial-as-cultural difference through their definition as a unified revolutionary force in Marxist/Leninist doctrine of the developing postcolonial countries. (Co-presenter. Also see Wong, Yutian)
Jens Richard Giersdorf is Associate Professor of dance at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. His research focuses on choreographies of nationhood and locality in a global context. He has published in a number of journals including Dance Research Journal, Theatre Journal, GLQ — Gay & Lesbian Quarterly, Forum Modernes Theater, Jahrbuch für Tanzforschung, and Maska. In his professional affiliations, Giersdorf is a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Dance History Scholars and the Gesellschaft für Tanzforschung.
Graff, Ellen
(Long Island University, U.S.A.)
Nationalism and Spectacle: The Case of Martha Graham’s American Document
Martha Graham’s American Document, premiered in 1938; drawing upon iconic American texts, the work integrated spoken words with movement. In 1939, Graham choreographed Tribute to Peace to celebrate the opening of the World’s Fair in New York City. Facing the threat of war in Europe both works embodied a patriotic sentiment, incorporating aspects of pageantry and spectacle. My paper analyzes elements which attracted Graham to these forms in the late 1930s
The paper concludes with a description of the collaboration between theater director Anne Bogart and the Martha Graham Dance Company in the revival/reinvention of the work in 2010.
Ellen Graff danced with the Martha Graham Company before earning a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from New York University. She writes on dance and politics and her book, Stepping Left: Dance and Politics in New York City 1928-1942, received a special citation from the de la Torre Bueno Prize Committee in 1998. Currently she teaches dance technique, theory and history; she is on the faculty of New School University, Long Island University and the Martha Graham School. She serves on the Editorial Board of the Society of Dance History Scholars
Jackson, Jennifer
(University of Surrey, U.K.)
Old Time Dancing: a New Spectacle
The institutionalised production of ballet performance by big companies in large theatres foregrounds the spectacular and athletic over the personal and intimate aspects of choreographic exploration. My presentation is an improvised dance that aims to contest ballet as spectacle by transposing its logic to 'other’, ageing, intimate bodies and spaces. As an artist/scholar, I investigate somatic approaches in ballet pedagogy and choreography. Somatic practices confer ownership of the 'body’ to the person; ballet practice renders the body as instrument of public performance. I research how working from the 'first person’ perspective returns embodied knowledge of ballet principles to creative development of form and explore relationships with Zarrilli’s theorisation of the ‘absent’ body in the performative moment’ (2007).
Jennifer Jackson lectures at Surrey University and the Royal Ballet School. A former dancer and choreographer with the Royal Ballet, her research into somatics and ballet choreography draws on her practical study with Roger Tully and Ballet Independents Group (BIG) activities in collaboration with Susan Crow. Recent performance as research includes choreography — Other Diamonds (2010) for English National Ballet, dancing — No time Ago (2009) and writing in Dancing Times, Research in Dance Education.
John, Suki
(Texas Chriatian University, U.S.A.)
Keeping the Gods at Bay: Making Ritual Dances Safe for Public Consumption in Cuba and the Rio Grande Pueblos
Ritual dances can induce trance or “bring down the god;” how are dances altered for outsiders to witness? Does this process dilute dances or preserve them in fractious times? This paper examines the intentional containment of power in Afro-Cuban orisha dances, performed secularly by Cuba’s Conjunto Folklorico. While this study focuses on Afro-Cuban tradition, it references historical tropes identified by scholars of the Rio Grande Pueblos of the Southwestern United States. As these peoples can be seen as survivor societies, their dance rituals raise questions of authenticity, coercion, and necessity. Reconfigured for performance, sacred dances are both protected and transformed.
Suki John PhD, Assistant Professor, School for Classical & Contemporary Dance, Texas Christian University, is published in the New York Times, Village Voice, Dance Magazine, Pointe, Ballet-tanz,International Encyclopedia of Dance, Caribbean Dance, and Dance Research Journal. She has choreographed for Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Narciso Medina, People’s Yugoslav Theater, Danza Contemporánea, Ritmo Flamenco, Adelphi, NYU, 92nd St. Y, University of New Mexico, and Route 66. Her book on Cuban Contemporary Dance will be published by McFarland Press.
Jones, Adanna
(University of California, Riverside, U.S.A.)
Sex, the Wine, and Soca: Pelvic Spectacles of Danced Intimacies within a Sea of Caribbeanness.
In this paper, I intend to tease apart the entanglements of winin’ and sexuality in hopes of obtaining a deeper understanding of pan-Caribbeanness. Using an ethnographic approach, I argue that the spectacularization of winin’ marks bodies as (sexually) excessive and momentarily inaccessible. I will address the complex socialization entailed within the winin’ culture, including the values attached to specific body parts and movements; their associations with gender, (hetero-) sexuality, class, and race; and contested ways in which winin’ bodies transmit representations of pan-Caribbeanness. Ultimately, I will focus on how these perplexing issues come into play as the dancing body rolls its hips.
Adanna Jones is a 3rd year PhD student in Critical Dance Studies at UCR. 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’.
Kant, Marion
(University of Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)
Spectacles of Ideology: The 20th Century Crisis of National Identities
This panel brings together Lauren Erin Brown, Tresa Randall and Lester Tome who work on acculturation, cultural transfer and national identities in dance in the 20th century. At the heart of these papers lie three individuals - George Balanchine (1904-1983), Hanya Holm (1893-1992) and Alicia Alonso (1920-) - whose lives and oeuvres have fundamentally shaped the aesthetics and the perception of modern ballet and modern dance. These three figures demonstrate that and how movement and its realization as a spectacle is shaped by yet also contributes to the battles of the 20th century — to the annihilation of human existence, to colonial oppression or cold war cultural struggles.
Ph.D. in musicology from Humboldt University Berlin, Germany Publications include: Hitler’s Dancers: German Modern Dance and the Third Reich (New York/Oxford: Berghahn 2003). Editor of the Cambridge Companion to Ballet (Cambridge University Press 2007). Book chapters on Human Rights and Dance, 2008 and Mary Wigman and Politics 2010. Together with musicians Marshall Taylor and Samuel Hsu she has organized and presented a series of concerts commemorating Entartete Musik, music forbidden by the Nazis.
Katrak, Ketu
(University of California, Irvine, U.S.A.)
Internalizing Spectacle: Contemporary Indian Dance
In exploring connections between dance and spectacle, I argue that elements of the spectacular are internalized in selected Contemporary Indian dancers’ choreography. As classical Indian dance assumes increasingly external spectacular features--elaborate costumes, posing like movie heroines influenced by popular Bollywood dance, Contemporary Indian Dance internalizes the gaze, adopts slow, minimalist movement, and evokes an inner spirituality that is more individualized than the externalization, even literalization of Hindu gods in classical Indian dance. I analyze spectacular dance representations of iconic Indian epic stories by classical Indian dancers and contrast the internalization of spectacle by Contemporary Indian dancers.
KETU H. KATRAK, born in Bombay, India, is Professor of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine. Founding Chair, Department of Asian American Studies (1996-2004). Author of Politics of the Female Body: Postcolonial Women Writers (Rutgers UP, 2006), among other co-edited books and essays. Forthcoming book contracted with Palgrave/Macmillan, Contemporary Choreography in Indian Dance. Published essays in South Asian Literary and Cultural Expression, Postcolonial and Disapora Literature, Drama and Performance.
Kedhar, Anusha
(University of California, Riverside, U.S.A.)
Between Stage and Street:Reading ‘Spectacular’ South Asian Male Bodies
The South Asian male has become a highly racialized and "spectacular" subject within the British media. This paper examines and deconstructs the spectacle of the South Asian male (dancing) body in the UK. Drawing on two “choreographies”, Shobana Jeyasingh’s Faultline (2008) and the July 7th terrorist attacks on London (2005), I argue that examining how we read the South Asian male body both on and off stage sheds light not only on how South Asian men are racialized in contradictory ways, but also how it is through dance that the “spectacular” South Asian male body is made safe for public consumption.
Anusha is a PhD candidate in Critical Dance Studies at UC Riverside. Her research examines contemporary South Asian dance in the UK in relation to discourses of race, citizenship, and transnational labor. She is a Bharata Natyam dancer-choreographer and has performed with dance companies in the US (Arpana) and UK (Angika). She was an APPEX fellow in 2006, a Fulbright Scholar in 2008, and the recipient of the Selma Jeanne Cohen award in 2009.
Kew, Carole
(Independent scholar)
Looking for the Outsider: the “Olympic Youth” Festspiel (1936) [PDF (193KB)]
The focus in this presentation is on showing how the Olympische Jugend ("Olympic Youth") Festspiel, staged as part of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, suppressed the individuality of the dancer. By consciously remembering what has been excluded from this spectacle, other ways of seeing come into focus.
Carole Kew is a dance writer/researcher with an MA Dance Studies (Laban London) and a PhD (London). Her main area of research is Ausdruckstanz and its contemporary extensions. Examples of her published work can be found in Dance Research (Rudolf Laban), Dance Theatre Journal (butoh), and (Pina Bausch).
Klein, Gabriele
(University of Hamburg, Germany)
Choreographing the Social: Movement and Space in Urban Life [PDF (201KB)]
Like the visual arts dance and performance look back to a development of arts production in public space for decades. Unlike the visual arts, the choreographic projects most notably question the relationship between body, movement and space, spatial planning and the arrangement of movement, structure and accident, the public perception an the specific communication of dance. Furthermore and starting from the moving body, these projects discuss the public space, its materiality in architecture, symbolic and imaginations.
The lecture aims to put the characteristics of this choreographic works up for discussion in dealing with everyday choreographies in the public sphere. Based on empiric results, a theoretical draft of the relationship between dance, choreography and public space will be presented.
Sociologist, dance researcher, Professor at the University of Hamburg, Director of Performance Studies / Hamburg. Main research fields: dance studies, sociology of body movements, sociology of culture and performing arts, gender studies, urban sociology. Publications include: Monographs: Electronic Vibration. Pop Culture Theory. Rogner & Bernhard, Hamburg 2004; Is this real? The culture of Hip Hop (2003), Suhrkamp 2003; Women Bodies Dance. The Civilizing Process of Dance, Weinheim/ Berlin 1992. Anthologies: Tango in Translation. Transcript, Bielefeld 2009 ; Methods of Dance studies. Transcript, Bielefeld 2007 (with G. Brandstetter)
Kostoula, Christina
(University of Surrey, U.K.)
Dance Mobs: Crowds of One under an Invisible Choreographer
Dance mobs, as endorsed by the Big Dance campaign, are critiqued as the spectacle of a single and universalist - rather than multiple - cultural order; preconceived and expressed digitally in visual terms by a virtual choreographer. Dance mobs embody instrumental values of individual cooperation within a hierarchy ("the network"), supported by internalised self-management; a mentally institutionalised and culturally effective i-panopticon. This is the basis for exclusion and bias in favour of those who possess the ability to use the technological network to access a “community application” needed for each moment.
Christina Kostoula holds a BA in Greek and French Literature and Linguistics from the National University of Athens, and a MA in Performance and Culture from Goldsmiths College. In 2008, she was awarded a PhD (Dance Studies, University of Surrey) for her thesis Divided by Ability: A Critique of Inclusion in Dance Education and Performance. She is currently working as a visiting lecturer for Goldsmiths College, Middlesex University and the University of Surrey.
Kowal, Rebekah
(University of Lowa, U.S.A.)
A Postwar Spectacle of Foreignness: Internatl’ Dancers in NYC
This paper looks at the cultural politics surrounding the popular dance subscription series, “Around the World with Dance and Song,” staged at the American Museum of Natural History. Inaugurated in 1942 by then museum education director Hazel Lockwood Muller, the series drew an audience of nearly 160,000 people during its heyday (1949-1952). Based on an account of the series drawn primarily from documents in Muller’s copious personal archive, I will investigate its contradictory functions and meanings as a postwar spectacle of foreigness.
Rebekah Kowal teaches dance history and theory at the University of Iowa. Her book, How to Do Things with Dance: Performing Change in Postwar America, will be released by Wesleyan University Press this summer. Her current research examines the impact of postwar world dance performance on the formation of American concert dance forms and in the context of U.S. foreign relations, immigration, and trade policies. She is the 2008 co-recipient of the Gertrude Lippincott Award.
Lenart , Camelia
(State University of New York at Albany, U.S.A)
Turning the Tide and Reconstructing the Spectacle — a New Perspective on Martha Graham’s Tour to Britain in 1954 and the Response to its Artistic and Political Complexity [PDF (225KB)]
Half a century after, Martha Graham’s tour to Britain in 1954 is perceived as a failure. But, as my paper questions, was it? In Britain there was a positive reception started by Richard Buckle, enriched among others by Kenneth Tynan, E. M. Forster, and Marie Rambert, while Graham’s art also transcended the artistic audience, igniting the special encounter between modern dance and Robin Howard. Reconstructing the spectacle of art and politics together, and the way in which "the tide was turned" for Graham, my paper demonstrates that the dancer’s Pearl Lang cry “in Britain they loved us” was undeniably true.
Camelia Lenart is completing her PhD thesis at the State University of New York at Albany. Her dissertation focuses on Martha Graham’s European tours and examines the way in which political, social, cultural and gender history intermingled in the nuanced response the Martha Graham’ art received, varying from one European country to another and from the West to the East. She presented her work at conferences, symposiums and workshops in America and Europe.
Lin, Yatin
(Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan)
Spectacularizing International Ceremonies in “Localized” Styles
Recently, large-scale opening ceremonies of international athletic events were held in Beijing (Summer Olympics 8/08), Kaoshiung (World Games, 7/09) and Taipei (Deaflympics 9/09). Focusing on the World Games Ceremony held at Taiwan’s southern port city, our panelists will reflect on their experience as core members of this creative team.
Based on a harmonious narrative of mutual coexistence among Taiwan’s ethnic groups, this Ceremony highlighted Kaoshiung’s heroes/heroines through the incorporation of local rituals and contemporary festivities. However, comparison with the more “nationalistic” emphasis of the Beijing Olympics, as well as the fine line between art and politics will also be examined.
Dr. LIN Yatin, Assistant Professor of the Graduate Institute of Dance Theory, Taipei National University of the Arts. She received her Ph.D. from UC Riverside’s Dance Department and serves on the SDHS Board.
Former editor of Taiwan’s Performing Arts Review (PAR) and the Taiwan Dance Research Journal, she has published in: The Routledge Dance Studies Reader (2nd Ed., 2010), Dialogues in Dance Discourse: Creating Dance in Asia Pacific (2007), and Dance Studies and Taiwan (2001).
Lindgren, Allana
(University of Victoria, Canada)
Making a Spectacle of Themselves? Gender Politics and Dance in Canada
How does theatrical dance contribute to existing narratives about female agency in Canada during the early twentieth century? Through their pedagogical programs, female teachers literally reshaped the bodies of their students. Through their choreography and companies, women controlled public representations of their own gender as well as that of their male dancers. By examining how and why certain bodies were idealized while others were regulated and censured by these women, this presentation argues that women in positions of power in Canadian dance frequently re-inscribed traditionalist ideas about gender, morality and nationalism.
Dr. Allana C. Lindgren is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She has published articles about dance and theatre history in various journals and books, including American Journal of Dance Therapy; Canadian Dance: Visions and Stories; CTR; The Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society; and Theatre Research in Canada. Her monograph From Automatism to Modern Dance was published in 2003.
Liu, Chih-Chieh
(University of Surrey, U.K.)
Disrupting Spectacle as a Spectacle: Teletubbies’ Sexy Dance in Contemporary Taiwanese Pop Music Video
Engaging with Debord’s theory of spectacles, this paper is an attempt to update the embedded Marxist assumption of passive spectatorship and the hegemonic view of spectacle into the age of Internet. By examining dance in Agent J (2007), one of the music videos from a Taiwanese pop star, Jolin Tsai, and one of its online parodies, Agent Ding (2007), I analyse how audience’s fun-making in mixing two spectacles can result in a mutation of spectacles on a bodily level. Therefore, spectators are no longer passive, nor spectacles monolithic. Rather, they indicate a porous cultural topography where audiences have the ability to contradict, disrupt and (re)create bodily spectacles in the digitalised Internet world.
Chih-Chieh Liu is a PhD candidate in the Department of Dance, Film and Theatre, University of Surrey. Her research interests lie in Asian popular culture and translation theories with special focus on dance in Taiwanese music videos. She has presented her papers to various conferences in the U.K., and a recent article will appear in RHUL’s Platform.
Lu, Yuh-jen
(National Dong Hwa University, Taiwan)
Decolonized Imagination: Spectacles of Modernity and Modern Dance in 1970s’ Taiwan
This essay examines Liu Feng-shueh’s Nilpotent Group (1977) and Lin Hwai-min’s Legacy (1978), two modern dance representations during the late-1970s’ Taiwan, when Martial Law (1949-1987) was still in effect. Although public expression was censored, choreographers managed to make their voices heard. By shielding Japanese influences from the public view, aesthetic autonomy actually involves political debates on modernism and nativism. Triggered by the 1978 Taipei-Washington diplomatic break, the artists began to look into Taiwan’s status quo and moved from "generation-in-itself" to “generation-for-itself.” The study concludes that Nilpotent Group represents belief in national progress, while Legacy signifies a continuum of social growth.
Yuh-jen Lu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Indigenous Cultures at National Dong Hwa University in Taiwan. She was also the recipient of the Cynthia Jean Cohen Bull Memorial Award in 2002 for her PhD dissertation, Wrestling with Angels: Choreographing Chinese Diaspora in the United States (1930s-1990s).
Main, Lesley
(Middlesex University, U.K.)
The Spectacle of Silence and Stillness. An Exploration Through the Work of Doris Humphrey [PDF (156KB)]
This paper explores the interconnecting themes of 'silence’ and 'stillness’ as they relate to notions of 'spectacle’. The discussion will be illustrated with examples from Doris Humphrey’s choreographic works along side contemporary reference points. The paper considers the meaning/s and occurrence of spectacle and will discuss the implications of definitions such as 'wonderment’, 'breathtaking’, 'mesmerising’ and 'escapist’ in relation to the viewer’s response. A further premise is that the appeal of 'silence’ and 'stillness’ is a growing phenomenon in a contemporary society besieged by visual and aural stimulation, and that our notions of what constitutes ‘spectacle’ are shifting accordingly.
Teaches Doris Humphrey’s technique and repertory at Middlesex University. Lesley danced with Ernestine Stodelle from 1985, is director of the Doris Humphrey Foundation UK and stages Humphrey’s work for Arke Compagnie D’Arte in Turin, Italy and Momenta Dance Company, Chicago, USA. Publications include Preservation Politics, (Jordan, S. ed.); Dance Research; CORD conference, June 2009. She is currently completing a book on directorial strategies for dance and will be staging The Shakers for Arke in 2011.
Manning, Susan
(Northwestern University, U.S.A.)
German Dance Studies Now II
These three interrelated panels present new research on German dance by scholars inside and outside Germany. Organized roughly in chronological order, the presentations highlight the concerns of recent scholarship on German dance—less historical than theoretical in orientation, preoccupied with defining such fundamental concepts as choreography, embodiment, archive, legacy. Do these theoretical concerns reflect the ascent of Konzepttanz (conceptual dance) in Germany and across Europe? To what extent do intellectual trends in German theatre studies impact scholarship on dance? While the first two panels comprise formal papers and prepared responses, the final panel takes up the approach of Performance as Research.
Susan Manning is Professor of English, Theatre, and Performance Studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of Ecstasy and the Demon: The Dances of Mary Wigman (1993; 2nd ed. 2006), Modern Dance, Negro Dance: Race in Motion (2004), and Danses noires/ blanche Amerique (2008). From 2004 to 2008 she served as president of SDHS/Society of Dance History Scholars.
Mathis-Masury, Elizabeth
(University of Stuttgart, Germany)
The Spectacle of the Stuttgart Ballet Miracle [PDF (152KB)]
In the year 1969 provincial Germany entered onto the world’s stage: the "Ballett des Württembergischen Staatstheaters" was named best ballet company of Western Europe by New York critic Clive Barnes. Documentation of the international reception of the company, the so-called “Stuttgart Ballet Miracle”, is here supplemented by a look at the ability of the hero pattern, fan culture, star cult and historical spectacles to launch and stabilize new identities. These concepts underlie an analysis of interview transcripts done with members of the Stuttgart audience, as well as an iconological analysis of the visual culture offered by the Stuttgart Ballet.
A former dancer, she studied dance at Kentucky’s performing arts high school, music and dance at the University of Louisville, design at the University of Cincinnati and sociology and cultural studies at Antioch and Tuebingen Universities. Currently she is assistant professor for dance at the Department of Sport and Exercise Science of the University of Stuttgart, owner of a state-certified educational center for dance, and founding director of a non-profit supporting dance.
McGrath, Aoife
(Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)
Do You Want to See my Hornpipe?: Mutations of the Spectacularized
The Riverdance (1994) spectacle is the cause of much debate, with some praising its “revitalisation” of Irish step dancing, and others connecting it to an ‘ongoing campaign to sell Ireland abroad and to ourselves as a bucolic idyll peopled with happy-clappy bodhrán rapping riverdancing rustics’ (Fay, 2000). This paper will conduct a socio-political analysis of mutations of a spectacularized traditional dancing body in recent dance-theatre works (such as former Riverdance star Colin Dunne’s Out of Time (2008)), examining how challenges to the determinacy of traditional technique in these anti-spectacular choreographies might also problematise perceptions and reifications of an “Irish” corporeality.
Aoife McGrath is a doctoral candidate at Trinity College Dublin where she is researching dance theatre in Ireland. She is a TCD Gold Medallist and her research is funded by a Trinity College foundation scholarship and a Government of Ireland post-graduate scholarship (Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences). Aoife has worked as a dancer and choreographer in Germany and Ireland.
Meglin, Joellen
(Temple University, U.S.A.)
Bible Stories Meet Music-Hall: Ruth Page’s Ballet Satire of Religious Revivalism, Billy Sunday
I propose that Ruth Page used the spectacular to satirize religious revivalism in Billy Sunday, premiered by Sergei Denham’s Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo at New York City Center on March 2, 1948, with Frederick Franklin as Billy and Alexandra Danilova as Mrs. Potiphar. I examine the ballet’s lowbrow transgression of ballet conventions to render the populist preacher’s flamboyant, streetwise techniques in the retelling of four Bible stories. In Page’s choreography, campy excesses of the female body capsized the sermon’s censure and censorship of female identity—the first of a series of incongruities through which spectacle played on the absurd.
Joellen A. Meglin is associate professor of dance at Temple University, where she was also coordinator of doctoral studies for nine years. Recent publications have appeared in Dance Research Journal, Studies in Dance History monographs, and Dance Chronicle—the last-mentioned of which she was appointed co-editor in 2008. Previously, she served on the board of SDHS and as reviews editor of DRJ. On sabbatical for 2010–11, she is writing a book on Ruth Page.
Mercer, Elliot
(New York University, U.S.A.)
Choreographing the Spectacle of Biopolitics [PDF (918KB)]
This paper investigates the way internment is represented and reperformed choreographically in Antony Tudor’s Echoing of Trumpets. In analyzing this ballet I explore Giorgio Agamben’s theory of bare life, Julia Kristeva’s concept of self-subjectification, Arjun Appaduri’s discussion of the predatory majority, and John Scanlan’s work on garbage. Applying these theories to a choreographic analysis of Echoing of Trumpets, I investigate the physical representations of both the abject body and the process of abjection. Mobilizing the performative potential of biopolitics as it appears within the camp, Tudor’s ballet is a philosophical and political statement that spectacularizes theoretical discourses on totalitarian rule.
Elliot Gordon Mercer has danced professionally with Company C Contemporary Ballet and several other San Francisco-based dance companies. He is a graduate of the Idyllwild Arts Academy and received his BA summa cum laude from the LEAP program at St. Mary’s College of California. Elliot is currently an MA candidate in Performance Studies at New York University, where his research focuses on the intersection of dance performance and environmental culture.
Milanovic, Vesna
(Sheffield Hallam University, U.K.)
‘Tito and I’ - Dancing in the Spectacle of Tito’s Birthday in the former Yugoslavia [PDF (438KB)]
For forty-five years from 1956 to 1987, President Tito’s birthday was celebrated each year with a specific dance spectacle called “slet”. May 25th had a special place in Yugoslav history: it was a spectacle, a mass celebration of Tito’s birthday, culminating in a Youth Relay baton being handed over to Tito himself. The grand finale was also known as a ‘slet’ and was performed as a mass dance spectacle in Belgrade, in front of the President. The last slet’ in President Tito’s presence was performed in 1979. In this paper I shall take a dual position, as a dancer and a spectator, as a looker and the looked at, in order to reveal the gaze and the female subject.
After some fourteen years at University of Surrey, I took a new role at Sheffield Hallam University’s Materials and Engineering Research Institute as a research network co-ordinator for the EPSRC funded Bridging the Gap project, entitled Engineering for Life - Enhancing people’s lives. My main areas of scholarly and artistic interest include interdisciplinary approaches to performance and dance practice and theory, volatile identities, bodies and subjectivity, belonging, otherness, drawing from feminist theories, contemporary performance practice, and theories of spectatorship. I have also studied and taught in the areas of women and ‘resistance performance’ (or political theatres of repressed groups), and in critical theory and performance practice using and creating new technologies.
Milazzo, Kathy
(University of Surrey, U.K.)
The Black African in Spain’s Romantic Age: Negotiations of Identity [PDF (565KB)]
This paper investigates the negotiations that negated sub-Saharan black African contributions to flamenco dance by examining the works of Romantic writers and artists who sought out the spectacular in Spanish gypsy dance. In the mid-nineteenth century the Tango Americano or the Tango de negros was recognized as an Africanist dance from Cuba. After its introduction, it was renamed the Tango Gitano or gypsy tango. What appears evident is that this dance was absorbed into the repertoire of flamenco and given another history attributed to other bodies in order to satisfy the Romantic dance market that capitalized on the “Carmen” of fantasy.
Kathy Milazzo is a Ph.D. candidate in Dance Studies at the University of Surrey. She completed a MA in Dance History at the University of New Mexico and a MALS in Spanish Culture at SUNY/Empire State College. After twenty years of dancing, studying, and writing about flamenco, she is now examining the Africanist aesthetics in flamenco dance.
Monaghan, Terry
(Goldsmiths, University of London, U.K.)
Fending off the Grip of Spectacle: Charles Lindbergh versus the Lindy Hop
The Lindy Hop’s alleged inspirational subservience to the spectacle of Charles Lindbergh’s first solo-flight across the Atlantic should be a classic example of the expropriation and reification of the original meaning and intention of this dance by socially dominant forces. While the Lindbergh association made limited progress when the Savoy Ballroom functioned, no real advance occurred until the bulk of Lindy Hop practice became re-located in the new global Lindy community that emerged in the 1980s, and increasingly organised itself via the Internet in the 1990s. This shift from being Harlem community centred, made possible its transformation into an act of homage to this noted ‘white’ hero but at the price of loosing mastery of the technique of the original dance.
Terry Monaghan’s involvement in dance studies flowed from co-founding the Jiving Lindy Hoppers in 1984. He has created and produced most of its productions, subsequently directed rhythm-tap dance shows, wrote for The Dancing Times, The Guardian and other publications, engaged in TV research, served two terms on the Society of Dance History Scholars’ Board of Directors, and has almost completed a PhD on the interaction of jazz music and dance in Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom.
Monroe, Raquel
(Columbia College Chicago, U.S.A.)
How to Write Field Notes While Receiving a Lap Dance: Or the Multiple Interpellations of the Ethnographer [PDF (135KB)]
The discipline of performance ethnography incites fragmented identities, which require the ethnographer to negotiate familiar binaries: participant and observer, performer and spectator, and activist and scholar, to name a few. This paper explores the fragmentation of the ethnographer’s identity once interpellated by the co-researchers, and how it impacts ethnographic methods, writing, and publishing; research in sexually charged performance spaces further complicates this “hailing.”
From 2002 to 2006 I conducted research on Oakland, California’s Punany Poets. In their live and televised performances, the Poets riff erotic poetry, dance, and song that reflect hip-hop, blues, and the aesthetics of the Black Power Movement to incite a much-needed dialogue on gender and sexuality in urban black communities. This paper then interrogates the documentation of sexually charged performance spaces and audience responses to both the performance and the ethnographer, particularly once the latter is “hailed” as “expert” and used to validate the performances as viable public health interventions, or once sexualized after receiving a lap dance, or dismissing / entertaining sexual advances.
Raquel L. Monroe is an Assistant Professor at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago. Her work explores the dynamic interplay between the performance and socio-political construction of black female sexualities, black social mobility, and various socially relevant issues including the discourse on HIV/AIDS.
Morris, Gay
(New York University, U.S.A.)
Anti-Spectacular Elements in American Experimental Dance of the Late 1960s and Early 1970s
Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, which appeared in 1967 with an English translation in 1970, expanded work done by Marx, Weber, the Frankfurt School and others concerning the objectification of experience. This paper argues that although American experimental dancers of the 1960s and ‘70s are most often characterized as concerned with reconfiguring the boundaries of dance, they also struggled with the issue of spectacle. I will examine ways in which dancers attempted to solve this problem, a problem that would seem, at best, intractable, in a performing arts medium.
Gay Morris is a dance and art critic whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including Dance Research, Dance Research Journal, Art in America, ARTnews, and Body and Society. She is the author of A Game for Dancers: Performing Modernism in the Postwar Years, 1945-1960 (Wesleyan University Press 2006), which won the 2007 De La Torre Bueno Award. She is also the editor of an anthology, Moving Words, Rewriting Dance (Routledge 1996).
Mouat, Anna
(University of Calgary, Canada)
Solving the Chinese Puzzle: Pointing Fingers at Dance Iconographic Research Design [PDF (11.6MB)]
A contextual analysis of J.B. Martin’s 1750 engravings, Le Chinois and La Chinoise, colourful costume designs from Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes, demonstrates how the application of Panofsky’s art historical iconographical methodology, with its rigidly structured hierarchy of research tasks, is inadequate for performing-arts iconographical analysis. For example, description devoid of contextualization may lead to the misinterpretation of historical visual documents and has produced the stereotypical movement motif of pointed index fingers in the Chinese Dance of the Nutcracker; whereas, an integrated analysis of these images permits a clear understanding of how such ethnic stereotypes arose and why they are perpetuated. (Co-presenter. See also Mouat, Melissa)
Anna Mouat, Associate Professor, is Head of the Dance Department at the University of Calgary. Her writings have appeared in Dance Connection, Dance Current, and the Calgary Herald, as well as in books and periodicals. Her research interests include dance history iconography, and writing dance books for children. She is currently completing Dancing Images, a multimedia resource integrating text, image, and sound, which illustrates the history of Western theatrical and social dance, 1581 to 1900.
Mouat, Melissa
(University of Calgary, Canada)
Solving the Chinese Puzzle: Pointing Fingers at Dance Iconographic Research Design [PDF (5.5MB)]
A contextual analysis of J.B. Martin’s 1750 engravings, Le Chinois and La Chinoise, colourful costume designs from Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes, demonstrates how the application of Panofsky’s art historical iconographical methodology, with its rigidly structured hierarchy of research tasks, is inadequate for performing-arts iconographical analysis. For example, description devoid of contextualization may lead to the misinterpretation of historical visual documents and has produced the stereotypical movement motif of pointed index fingers in the Chinese Dance of the Nutcracker; whereas, an integrated analysis of these images permits a clear understanding of how such ethnic stereotypes arose and why they are perpetuated. (Co-presenter. See also Mouat, Anna)
Melissa Mouat is an undergraduate history major at the University of Calgary. In 2008, she presented a paper at the Third Annual Arts in Society Conference. In 2009, one of her papers was read in absentia, at the University of Western Ontario’s Undergraduate Conference. Fervently interested in both Chinese and British history, she is presently investigating masters programs in England. If you happen to know anyone at Cambridge, please put in a good word.
Myers, Jennifer
(Northwestern University, U.S.A)
Stylizing a Political Agenda: The Artistic Spectacle of Black Cultural Forms in the Repertoire of the Chicago Negro Unit of the Federal Theatre Project, 1936-1939
This paper advances a new conception of “Negro drama” in the mid- to late 1930s as a cross-fertilization of commercial musical theatre, community theatre, and leftist theatre. Focusing on select productions of the Chicago Negro Unit (CNU), including, Katherine Dunham’s L'Ag’Ya (1938) and a “swincopated” version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1885 operetta, The Mikado—entitled Swing Mikado (1938)—I suggest that CNU contributors used forms of black music and dance to construct artistic spectacles. Through these theatrical, creative, and spectacular stylizations, they provided means of black self-representation and alternative venues of social analysis and criticism to challenge to racist rhetoric.
Jennifer is a PhD candidate in musicology at Northwestern University. She has presented her research at various conferences, including, Society for Ethnomusicology Midwest, Society for American Music, and the North American British Music Studies Association. Her interdisciplinary dissertation advances a more modern conception of “Negro drama” in the mid- to late 1930s by focusing on black cultural forms—specifically music and dance—in the repertoire of the Chicago Negro Unit of the Federal Theatre Project.
Nereson, Arial
(University of Pittsburgh, U.S.A.)
Krump or Die: Racist Narrative in the Spectacle of Black Moving Bodies
David LaChapelle’s 2005 documentary Rize chronicles the lives of South Central L.A.’s krumpers, splicing together dance footage and interviews to create a spectaclist and racist master narrative. Borrowing Brenda Dixon Gottschild’s phrase “enculturated somatophobia,” I analyze how LaChapelle’s inscription of primitivism reveals the persistence of racially motivated fears about black moving bodies and their context. I contend that LaChapelle’s framing of krumping as an escape back to Africa functions as a containment strategy to assuage viewers’ fears. I place LaChappelle’s choices in conversation with the voices of the krumpers, voices that disrupt the spectaclist and consumerist aims of popular culture.
Ariel Nereson is a Ph.D. student at the University of Pittsburgh, where she focuses her research on inscriptions of identity politics onto dancing bodies, in both dance and theater performances. Ariel is also a choreographer and dancer, holding a BA in Dance from St. Olaf College. While a performer in Minneapolis, she also interned with the Guthrie Theater’s Literary Department. She has published on her dramaturgical work for Kazimierz Braun at the University of Buffalo.
Nevile, Jennifer
(University of New South Wales, Australia)
What Happened Before a Spectacle? Dance Rehearsals and their Significance in Early Modern Europe
Dance played a prominent part in early modern court spectacles. Yet unlike modern spectacles the dance performers then were frequently the heads of state, members of the ruling family and the elite stratum of society. Given those who were involved, and drawing on material from the Italian, English and French courts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, I examine the rehearsal process for danced court spectacles, its characteristics, how it was regarded by those involved, and whether the rehearsals themselves served any political purpose in addition to that of the spectacle performance itself.
Jennifer Nevile’s research on fifteenth to early seventeenth-century dance practices and their relationship with other contemporary artistic practices has been published in over twenty journal articles and book chapters, in addition to the monograph, The Eloquent Body: Dance and Humanist Culture in Fifteenth-Century Italy. She also edited the essay collection Dance, Spectacle, and the Body Politick, 1250-1750, and has an honorary research position at the University of New South Wales.
Nijhawan, Amita
(Roehampton University, U.K.)
Squatting in London: Dance in the South Asian Diaspora
This piece (a collaboration between Amita Nijhawan and Anusha Kedhar) experiments with classical Kathak and Bharatanatyam technique, and verbal narrative, to question the image of the woman dressing up in front of a mirror. This image is a staple of classical South Asian dance repertoire and includes prescribed maquillage and mimetic interpretation. This practice-based research piece interrogates gaze relationships, and the image of the exotic woman or “other”.
Amita Nijhawan completed her PhD at the University of California, Riverside, and had taught in various dance programmes in London. She is a Kathak practioner and combines theory and practice to experiment with classical and contemporary technique. Her research examines femininity in South Asian dance practice, and issues of spectacle and identity in the South Asian diaspora. Her research appears in the Journal of South Asian Popular Culture, Performance Art Journal, Body and Society and Pulse magazine.
Nugent, Ann
(University of Chichester, U.K.)
William Forsythe and the Model Viewer
Who is qualified to interpret Forsythe’s multi-layered choreography, as it unfolds across interdisciplinary networks to question the status of knowledge? Performances are not spectacles so much as discrete texts, and texts, according to Barthes (1990), are methodological fields open to multiple interpretations. They are directed at viewers rather than spectators, for spectator ‘is a bad word’ suggesting a seeker of immediacy and superficiality (Boal, 1979). Those who react against Forsythe’s radicalism are dissatisfied when works fail to measure up to past practices. Yet when questions are raised relative to a focal text, the journey can begin towards the theorising of a model viewer.
Dr Ann Nugent is a senior lecturer in dance at the University of Chichester specialising in criticism and European dance. She has published some 50 papers and articles about Forsythe’s work, and completed a manuscript: Writing William, Reading Forsythe: a critical approach to William Forsythe’s choreography. She was editor of Dance Now and Dance Theatre Journal, and began her career in ballet. She was a board member of SDHS for 6 years, and chaired the Selma Jeanne Cohen Award.
Paris, Carl
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S.A.)
[Re]presenting the Black Masculine: Reggie Wilson’s Big Brick- a man’s piece [PDF (94KB)]
New York-based, African American modern dance choreographer Reggie Wilson created Big Brick?a man?s piece specifically with four black males in mind (from interview, June 28, 2007). Combining black spirituals, folk songs, and black cultural physicality, Wilson invites the spectator to ponder an open-ended and potentially dialectical notion of black male interaction.
This paper examines ways in which Big Brick?s poli-situational [re]presentation of the black masculine implicates a discursive interplay between class, sexuality, and camaraderie. Choreography, the dancing body, performance venue, and critical reviews provide the semiotic and pragmatic texts for exploring contexts of meaning around the black masculine.
Carl Paris holds a Ph.D. in Dance and Cultural Studies (Temple University). He has performed major roles with Olatunji African Dance, Eleo Pomare, Martha Graham, and Alvin Ailey. He taught in Spain and received the Dance Association of Madrid Award in 1995. He has published articles on blacks in modern dance and he is working on a book of essays that will examine connections between black dance aesthetics and individual representations of race, culture, gender, and sexuality.
Penrose, Mara
(The Ohio State University, U.S.A.)
Reconstructing Titan
This paper analyzes group movement patterns in Rudolf Laban’s movement choir Titan. I seek to connect the group forms in Titan to political ideology, and compare and contrast Titan with other political dance, particularly Nazi propaganda spectacles. Using 1927 and 1935 notation scores of Titan as data sources, I will demonstrate that Laban’s choirs performed egalitarian politics, evident in the fluid movement between roles of leader and follower by individual performers. I propose that this performance of egalitarianism and freedom within structure may explain Laban’s ultimate ejection from the Nazi Party in 1936.
Mara Penrose is a Master’s of Fine Arts Candidate in Dance at the Ohio State University. Her research focuses on the work of Rudolf Laban, and she is currently reconstructing Laban’s Titan using Laban notation scores. Mara holds a Teaching Associate position in the Department of Dance where she teaches dance technique and history. She also holds a GA position at the Dance Notation Bureau collection of archives housed at the Ohio State University Libraries.
Phillips, Maggi
(WA Academy of performing Arts at Edith Cowan University, Australia)
Spectacle and Experiential Theory [PDF (197KB)]
Dubord claims that 'spectacle’ is parasitic on its own reduction of “concrete life to a universe of speculation” (Dubord, 1983, 11). While this angle on 'sight’ can be argued to dominate western thought, other resonances of the word 'spectacle’ deserve consideration. The eye may be the aperture of 'spectacular'’ reception but, as Barthes’ concept of punctum suggests, visual experience is not confined to ‘sight.’ Rather with the interconnectivity evident in phenomenological perspectives, the projection and its receptor are irrevocably enmeshed. A spectacle played out on a stage is somehow transported to become a visceral re-performance within the body of the viewer/spectator.
Associate Professor Maggi Phillips is the coordinator of Research and Creative Practice at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, a position that fuses her disparate influences, provoking understanding of knowledge’s variable manifestations and a desire to privilege such diversity in scholarship and access. Maggi led the Australian Learning and Teaching Council project, Dancing between Diversity and Consistency: Refining Assessment in Post Graduate Degrees in Dance, highlighting the particularities encountered in multi-modal artistic research.
Ping, Heng
(Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan)
The Spectacular Dance — 2009 World Games in Taiwan [PDF (643KB)]
Taipei National University of the Arts(TNUA) organized the opening ceremony for 16th World Games in July 2009, the first global athletic event held in Taiwan since 1949. First encounter was not the challenge for the production with such size, but it proved to be a mission impossible for the communication with the governors and the media. The challenge to make team members to an agreeable creative decision took a painful yet meaningful process. As the chief director for TNUA artistic team, the author intends to use documented process through this 8-months project to discuss the making of spectacular dance.
M.A. in Dance from New York University and a certified Labanotation teacher. Ping started Taipei Dance Workshop in 1984 and Dance Forum Taipei Dance Company in 1989. In addition to teaching in the Taipei National University of the Arts, Ping is also dedicated to the preservation of Taiwanese aboriginal culture. She is currently Dean of College of Dance, TNUA. She was honored with the Literary and Arts Award from the National Culture and Arts Foundation in Taiwan in 1999.
Preston, Virginia
(Stanford University, U.S.A.)
Tendering the Flesh: Dave St-Pierre’s Media Provocations
Quebecois choreographer Dave St-Pierre has been described as the "pornographic son" of Pina Bausch; his performances pervert a "society of the spectacle" through provocative intersections with the contemporary media: videoclips, talk shows, or the Vegas hype of Celine Dion. St-Pierre’s “Tryptique Sociologie/ Sexologie et autres utopies contemporaines” (La Pornographie des ames (2004), Un Peu de Tendresse, Bordel de Merde! (2007) and the double solo-group show Over My/Our Dead body/Bodies (2009/2010)) frays the edges of performance, reworking spectacle via an affective urgency of vulnerability to resist its presupposed audience passivity. St-Pierre’s shows are prefaced by audience provocations as mis-performances, deliberate openings of the boundaries of performance that make us unsure of when we can and cannot respond in his work. Virginia Preston addresses Dave St-Pierre’s stagings of love in Pornographie, where explosive physicality offers a contemporary account of turbulent, queer identity in the grip of powerful affect. Alanna Thain explores an audiovisual fleshiness of St-Pierre’s work, in relation to Over My Dead Body and Tendresse, considering how his performances activate theatrical space as an audiovisual medium, challenging fetishistic and passive notions of spectatorship through audiovisual conventions.
Virginia Preston is a doctoral student in drama at Stanford University. She studies early modern and contemporary dance-theaters with an emphasis on dramaturgy, affect, political allegory and tensions between media. Her work includes queer analysis, critical race theory and the history of disciplinarity.
Prickett, Stacey
(Roehampton University, U.K.)
Parades, Pageants, Picket Lines and the New Dance Group
Some new archival material facilitates a close reading of worker dance group performances to inform a comparative analysis of the two dance constituencies that joined forces under the Workers Dance League banner in 1932. New Dance Group creations typify a socially responsible aesthetic aimed at broad legibility of working class identities, which became aesthetically differentiated from the danced spectacles of union groups, with performances on picket lines and in political pageants. This paper explores the interrelationships between the two camps and the extent to which they adapted or rejected representational strategies seen in workers theatre productions and the pageantry movement.
Stacey Prickett lectures in the Dance Studies programme at Roehampton University, London, specialising in sociological approaches to dance studies and dance criticism. Her BA is from UC Riverside and postgraduate degrees undertaken at Laban. Research outputs include conference presentations and articles on dance and politics in the 1930s, the San Francisco Bay Area dance scene and South Asian dance. She is currently writing a book on dance and politics in the USA and Britain.
Pritchard, Jane
(Victoria and Albert Museum, U.K.)
‘Rude, Nude, Brutal, Democratic’, the Spectacular Ballet at the Eden-théâtre, Paris (1883-1893), and its Impact on the European Dance Scene
The Italian ballo grande at the Eden-théâtre challenged the post-Romantic traditions of French ballet introducing a new style of sensational productions featuring scantily clad ballerinas with ‘steel toes’ and phenomenal techniques. From Paris, the heart of European culture, ballo grande spread throughout Europe, America and Russia impacting strongly on popular ballet productions and even those in the opera houses. The presentation will provide an introduction to an overlooked phenomenon in the history of Parisian dance and the range and influence of the ballets presented at the Eden-théâtre, both those imported from Italy and those created for Paris.
Jane Pritchard was appointed Curator of Dance for the V& A, London, in 2006 and is co-curator of, Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929, opening September 2010. Previously Archivist for Rambert Dance Company and English National Ballet, she created the Contemporary Dance Trust Archive. She has mounted a number of exhibitions, curated seasons of dance films and contributed to numerous journals. She is Chair of the Society for Dance Research.
Profeta, Katherine
(Yale School of Drama, U.S.A)
Ralph Lemon’s Resistance to Making a Spectacle
Ralph Lemon has asserted that if he could get away without presenting his current research on a proscenium stage, he would. This paper explores the rehearsal-room development of Lemon’s latest work (a portion of which will nevertheless premiere on stages this Fall under the title How Can You Stay in The House All Day and Not Go Anywhere) in light of his ever-growing aversion to the spectacular aspects of his lifelong work. I investigate the roots of Lemon’s unease as a way to question the definition of spectacle in relation to the act of performance, as well as explore the evolving tradition of valuing process over product.
Katherine Profeta holds a DFA from the Yale School of Drama, conferred this past December for her dissertation More Lost than Found: Charting Ralph Lemon’s Geography Trilogy from Conception through Performance. She has served as dramaturg to Ralph Lemon since 1996. Her writing has been seen in Performing Arts Journal, Theater Magazine, Movement Research Performance Journal, and TCG’s Production Notebooks. Katherine is also founding member and resident choreographer of the New York-based experimental theater group Elevator Repair Service, and a Visiting Instructor at Yale School of Drama.
Radeke, Brent
(University of Minnesota, U.S.A.)
Echoing Spectacles: Refracting Postcolonial “Translation”
On June 27th the streets of New York echo with the sounds and sights of hoards of queer bodies. Here, hypervisibilization and spectacularization create a profound imprint in the global queer consciousness. How does the transfer of hegemonic Western queer subject positions shift transnationally to places such as Singapore?
I examine Foster’s notion of “gender as accessory” in “Throwing Like a Girl”, but expands the concept by incorporating Boellstorff’s theories of “cultural dubbing” in The Gay Archipelago. The juxtaposition of these theories will refract hegemonic notions of spectacle, unearthing new intersections of "queer" and “postcolonial”.
Brent Radeke is an alum of the University of Minnesota where he studied dance and GLBT Studies. As a dancer, choreographer, and writer, Brent is interested in investigating intersectionality in dance through the lens of queerness. Brent plans to pursue a Master’s and Ph.D. in some discipline pertaining to Dance Studies and will continue to write about dance, always making sure to go back to the body.
Randall, Tresa
(Ohio University, U.S.A.)
Spectacle and Social Critique: Trend and Hanya Holm’s Political Predicament
Hanya Holm’s mass dance spectacle, Trend (1937) was grand in scale, concept, and innovation. Trend ostensibly portrayed the decline of Western civilization, but German émigré Holm later acknowledged that it was also an indictment of the ills of American society: materialism, hero worship, religious fanaticism, and loss of authentic community. This paper will provide an example of how spectacle can serve to hide political tensions. The spectacular nature of Trend, its universalized social critique, and its significance as Holm’s first major work in the U.S., enabled her to transcend the political tensions that threatened to undermine her career.
Tresa Randall, PhD, Assistant Professor at Ohio University, is a dance scholar currently focusing on German and American historical modern dance. She has published book reviews and articles in Dance Research Journal, Theatre Journal, and Jahrbuch Tanzforschung (Annals of Dance Research in Germany). Dr. Randall serves on the Editorial Board of the Congress on Research in Dance as Proceedings Editor. She holds degrees from Hamilton College, University of New Mexico, and Temple University.
Reynolds, Dee
(University of Manchester, U.K.)
When Seeing is Breathing
In this paper I draw on qualitative audience research on responses to live and film dance carried out through the ‘Watching Dance: Kinesthetic Empathy’ project ( Some participants reported experiencing altered breathing, linked with feelings of expectation and/or tension. Responding through breathing drew spectators to develop their visual experience kinesthetically, which was pleasurable for those who desired proximity but sometimes less so for those who preferred to retain the distance of visual spectacle. Specific responses will be theorised in terms of embodied anticipation as empathic response.
Dee Reynolds is Professor of French at the University of Manchester. She is currently Principal Investigator of ‘Watching Dance: Kinesthetic Empathy’ (, funded by the AHRC 2008-2011. Recent publications include: Rhythmic subjects: Uses of Energy in the Dances of Mary Wigman, Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham (Dance Books, 2007) and ‘Kinesthetic Rhythms’, in Rhythms: Essays in French Literature, Thought and Culture (ed. Elizabeth Lindley and Laura McMahon. Bern. Peter Lang, 2008), pp. 103-118.
Richter, Katrina
(Independent scholar)
Trading Taps: Spectacle and Meaning in the Percussive Dance Challenge [PDF (524KB)]
Combining structural and historical modes of analysis, this paper will examine how Trading Taps, a show-stopping “challenge” in the Riverdance repertoire, facilitates the juxtaposition of two diverse percussive dance traditions, tap and Irish step dance. Choreographed in 1996 by Collin Dunne and Tarik Winston, Trading Taps questions the representation of cultural identities through the use of Broadway-style production values and intertextual references. Upon exploring how these questions are raised, I propose that the combination of structural and historical perspectives allows for the analysis of two dance genres rarely endowed by scholars with the capacity to convey meaning.
Kat Richter holds MA in Dance Anthropology at Roehampton University and earned Distinction for her dissertation entitled, “Importing Rhythm Tap: The Structure and Significance of the Shim Sham Shimmy at the London Tap Jam.” A former principle dancer with the New Jersey Tap Ensemble, Richter teaches rhythm tap throughout the US and the UK. She plans to begin her PhD in 2011 and her work may be found in Dance Teacher and Dance Theatre Journal.
Rivera-Servera, Ramón
(Northwestern University, U.S.A.)
Rican Choreoscapes in the Mexican Joto Bar: Inter-Latino Economies of Pleasure and the Research Imagination
This panel brings together a group of dance ethnographers to reflect on the methodological, theoretical, and ethical dilemmas of conducting fieldwork in highly sexualized environs. Looking at examples that range from protest dance performances in Buenos Aires and the sexually explicit choreographies of the Punani Poets in California to social dance practices in Latina/o queer clubs in Arizona and “queer cowboy” bars in Los Angeles, panelists will outline the webs of identities, affects, and politics that shape spectacular performances of the erotic and their approximation by researchers who traverse these spaces with personal, scholarly, and political investments of their own.
Ramón H. Rivera-Servera is Assistant Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University. His essays on Latina/o Performance have appeared in Modern Drama, Text and Performance Quarterly, Ollantay Theatre Magazine, and Transcultural Music Review. He is currently completing his book manuscript, Performing Latinidad: Queer Sexualities and Global.
Rosa, Cristina
(UCLA, U.S.A.)
Jogo Bonito: Choreographing Identification across Soccer Dancing Fields
In this presentation, I map the rhetorical strategies that professional athletes from Brazil have improvised across soccer (dancing) fields. I analyze, more specifically, the topography of the "Beautiful Game," according to two variants: corporeality and choreography. In soccer-art, "ginga" - a particular kind of bodily syncopation associated with Afro-Brazilian heritage - has enabled the production of choreographic discourses that, similar to samba and capoeira performances, exceeds Western thought. As an apparatus of enunciation, ginga introduces a structured deviation along side “classical” soccer (non-verbal) narratives, whose logic, grammar, and rhetoric maneuver through the game’s rules, while setting players apart.
Cristina Rosa is a dance scholar and artist. She has received a PhD in Culture and Performance from UCLA in 2010. In her doctoral dissertation, whose title is “ Choreographing Identification: the Presence of Ginga in Samba, Capoeira, and Grupo Corpo,” Dr. Rosa focuses on the processes of recuperation-cum-invention of embodied knowledges associated with Afro-Brazilian heritage in Brazil. Her creative work includes performance, visual arts, and graphic design.
Rossen, Rebecca
(University of Texas at Austin, U.S.A.)
“Jews on View: The Spectacle of the Jewish Body in Postmodern Dance”
The Jewish body has historically been considered pathological, excessive, and queer. Although Jews in mid-century modern dance aimed to counter such images, a number of recent works use spectacle to amplify, rather than diminish, Jewish difference, and critique “acceptable” modes of Jewish self-representation. This paper will discuss Jewish corporeality, excess, violence, and revulsion in Larry Goldhuber and Heidi Latsky’s Worst Case Scenario (1999), Rebecca Pappas’s Monster (2008), and Steven Cohen’s controversial Cleaning Time (2007), in which the South African performer crawled through Vienna’s Heldenplatz—in Jewish drag, sporting a giant toothbrush—to confront the Nazi practice of forcing Jews to clean streets.
Rebecca Rossen is an assistant professor in the Department of Theater and Dance and the Performance as Public Practice Program at the University of Texas at Austin. A dance scholar and choreographer, she is currently completing her first book, Dancing Jewish: Jewish Identity in American Modern and Postmodern Dance.
Rottenberg, Henia
(Kibbutzim University College, Israel)
‘Ways of Looking’ at Contemporary Dance [PDF (266KB)]
In Tetris (2006) choreographer Noah Dar and plastic artist Nati Shamia-Ofer collaborate in a dialogue with viewers through a unique performance space. Viewers observe the performance by sticking their heads through holes ruptures in the dance floor, in close proximity to where the dancers’ feet meet the floor. This penetration of the performance space exposes the dancers to the viewers’ penetrating looks while utilizing the great vicinity to seduce or threaten them. This paper will examine how the intimacy imposed on spectator-performer’s relationships affects the tension created between closeness and distance, alienation and involvement in the common experience.
Henia Rottenberg is a lecturer at the Kibbutzim College of Education. Henia’s PhD thesis (2004) focuses on hybrid relationships between dance and painting in Postmodern Culture focusing on Lea Anderson’s dance The Featherstonehaughs Draw on the Sketch Books of Egon Schiele (1998). Henia is a co-editor of the Israeli magazine Dance Today and recently co-edited the book Dance Discourse in Israel.
Ruprecht, Luica
(University of Cambridge, U.K.)
Ambivalent Agency: Gestural Performances in Weimar Dance and Film
This presentation is organised around the expressivity of hands as both discursive topos and performative practice in Weimar cinema and dance. Mary Wigman’s Hexentanz II (1926), Conrad Veidt’s “Expressionist ballet” in Robert Wiene’s Orlacs Hände (1924), and Peter Lorre’s confession in Fritz Lang’s M (1931) give evidence of a gestural practice that negotiates the fault line between agency and impotence, yet they do so in very different ways. Wigman’s body contains the other, conveying a sense of mythical power. In contrast, the filmic images expose a body given over to the other, unable to resist its dissociating impact.
Lucia Ruprecht is a Lecturer in the Department of German at the University of Cambridge and an affiliate of Emmanuel College. Her book, Dances of the Self (2006), received a special citation for the de la Torre Bueno Prize.
She co-edited Performance and Performativity in German Cultural Studies (2003) as well as a special issue of German Life and Letters on cultural pleasure, and is currently working on a study of charisma and virtuosity.
Sabo, Linda
(Elon University, U.S.A.)
Romanticism versus Realism or Choosing How Things Should be Over How They Are: The Historical Use of Spectacle to Subvert the Effects of Social Crisis [PDF (201KB)]
Spectacular entertainment has long been associated with American musical theatre, which evolved from both large and small scale entertainments. While intimate revues were associated with having a social conscience, more lavishly produced productions like early Broadway and film musicals, though seemingly mindless, helped Americans mentally and emotionally survive hardships present in their lives. Did they only provide a temporary escape or did these entertainments serve a deeper purpose? An examination of recent findings regarding a person’s response to mental diversion through entertainment and a close reading of Depression era entertainment hopes to uncover a relationship between content and effect.
Director/choreographer, teacher and former performer Linda Sabo was a founding member of the musical theatre program at Syracuse University and presently teaches musical theatre and dance at Elon University in North Carolina. Sabo’s background teaching young performers spans 33 years and many of her former students have successful careers as dance and theatre professionals. She holds degrees from Boston Conservatory, Iowa State University and is presently completing additional degree work at UNCG in North Carolina.
Schmidt, Theron
(Queen Mary, University of London, U.K.)
1967 and the Situation of the Spectacle [PDF (807KB)]
1967 saw two vehement attacks on spectacle: Michael Fried’s 'Art and Objecthood’ with its call to 'defeat or suspend theater’, and Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle. During the same period, Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A (1966-8) and Peter Handke’s Offending the Audience (German 1966, English 1970) appeared to reject spectacle. But Rainer and Handke’s relationship to spectacle is more complicated than simple refutation, and their influence is still felt in contemporary theatre and dance. The legacy of these two works reflects an ongoing interest in what might be called, in a twist on Debord, ‘the situation of the spectacle’.
Theron Schmidt is a writer and performer based in London. He is currently completing his PhD, on theatricality and the politics of spectatorship, in the Department of Drama at Queen Mary, University of London. His critical writing on live art and performance has been published in Contemporary Theatre Review, Dance Theatre Journal, The Live Art Almanac, Platform, RealTime, and Total Theatre.
Schroedter, Stephanie
(Bayreuth University, Germany)
Dance Spectacles and Spectacular Dances between the July Monarchy and Second Empire [PDF (38MB)]
Paris was not only one of the leading dance centers of the 19th century, it was also a flourishing, ever expanding city. My ongoing project, “Music in Movement: Dance Cultures of the 19th Century,” examines concurrent forms of dance in Paris against the backdrop of the city with its socio-cultural-political changes between 1830 and 1870. Paris, under these preconditions and with its diverse venues for social and theatre dance, effectively becomes a stage. In this paper I will demonstrate the central place of spectacle in theatre dance performances and urban social dance events.
Stephanie Schroedter, scholar in Musicology, Dance and Theatre Studies, is working on her second book in the context of a project entitled “Music in Motion: Dance Cultures of the 19th Century”, which is subsidized by the DFG (German National Academic Foundation). Along with a primary focus on subjects relating to dance studies, she is especially looking at (and listening to) interactions between dance and music in theatre, performance and film.
Scolieri, Paul
(Barnard College, Columbia University, U.S.A.)
Ted Shawn and Dance of the Ages (1913)
Dance of the Ages is "the first all-dance movie ever made," at least according to Ted Shawn who conceived the six-minute silent film, which was produced by the Thomas Alva Edison Company in 1913. The film depicts Shawn and his dancers "in miniature" as they perform interpretations of dances from “primitive” times to the ragtime era for a panel of dancing masters. During this presentation I will show the film and discuss its relevance to Edison’s early experiments with dance in film, to Shawn’s life and career before Denishawn, and to Shawn’s evolving ideas about dance history.
Paul Scolieri, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of dance at Barnard College, Columbia University. His first book project, Dances of Death: Aztec Ritual and Colonial Discourse, is a study of the relationship between choreography and historiography in sixteenth-century conquest of the Americas. He completed this project as the 2008-09 Peggy Rockefeller Visiting Scholar at Harvard University and is currently working on a book about the life, dances, and writings of Ted Shawn.
Scott, Ariel Osterweis
(University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A.)
Visualizing the Afro-Asian Pas De Deux in Dance Posters of Desmond Richardson
This panel stages Afro-Asian interconnections in contemporary American dance, questioning the status of the Asian/American “body.” Lorenzo Perillo posits that the spectacle of Filipino dancing bodies in America is dependent on the black body to the extent that hip-hop becomes equated with blackness. Ariel Osterweis Scott brings together discourses from visual studies and performance studies to interrogate the status of race, surface, and the senses in posters featuring virtuoso Desmond Richardson in duets with Asian women. Hentyle Yapp suggests that bodies of Asian descent serve as both archive and repertoire of companies such as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
A dancer and choreographer, Ariel Osterweis Scott is a Ph.D. Candidate in Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research lies at the intersection of race, sexuality, and virtuosity in contemporary dance in the US and Africa. Scott has a BA in Anthropology from Columbia University, and her writing has been published in Women and Performance: a journal of feminist theory, e-misférica, In Dance, and Dancer Magazine, and is forthcoming in Dance Research Journal.
Shaw, Brandon
(University of Massachusetts Amherst, U.S.A.)
To Grieve, To Cleave: The Spectacle of Pain in Martha Graham’s “Lamentation” and Sasha Waltz’s noBody
Martha Graham’s "Lamentation" (1930) and a section from Sasha Waltz’s noBody (2002) provide images which could have special resonances someone undergoing grief. While “Lamentation” externalizes the private, invisible sensations of grieving, noBody centers upon and stretches images of the grieving conscience. Both of these pieces provide strong cases against Aristotle’s calculated exclusion of spectacle from catharsis. While the exaggeration and harrowing images may repel spectators, they no less strongly compel an empathetic return to the dance. Notions of grief and empathy are considered in light of contemporary clinical psychology and neurology, especially the recent discovery of empathy neurons.
Brandon Shaw is pursuing his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is writing his dissertation, "Representations of Grief and Pain in Contemporary Concert Dance." The study employs “rich description” and a spectator-sensitive approach to discerning meaning in dance. Brandon will be researching contemporary dance in Berlin in 2010-11 with a DAAD scholarship, focusing on Sasha Waltz. Brandon also studies modern dance, contact improvisation, and Argentine tango.
Shay, Anthony
(Pomona College, U.S.A.)
The Spectacularization of Folk Dance
For over a century, totalitarian governments on both Fascist and Communist, have used large numbers of colorfully costumed, native dancers in large spectacle settings, such as stadiums and festivals, to symbolize mass support for the respective nation-state. In 1937, Bolshoi Ballet dancer and choreographer Igor Moiseeyev was assigned to create a dance ensemble, now known throughout the world as the Moiseyev Dance Company. Moiseyev created a new style of “folk” dance, in which he incorporated a new folk dance vocabulary, based on ballet technique. Instead of the previous model of folk dance for spectacle, Moiseyev spectacularized folk dance.
Anthony Shay is Assistant Professor of Dance and Cultural Studies at Pomona College, Claremont, CA. He is the author of Choreophobia: Solo Improvised Dance in the Iranian World, Choreographic Politics, Choreographing Identities: Folk Dance, Ethnicity and Festival in the United States and Canada, Dancing Across Borders: The American Fascination with Exotic Dance Forms, and editor/co-editor of Belly Dance: Orientalism, Transnationalism, and Harem Fantasy, Balkan Dance, and When Men Dance. He is currently working on Dance and Ethnicity, a new edited volume for Oxford University Press.
Sicchio, Kate
(University of East London, U.K.)
Beyond TV Spectacle — The Choreographic Craft of So You Think You Can Dance
This paper aims to explore the choreography on the American version of the television programme, So You Think You Can Dance. It will particularly examine dance pieces with an emphasis on choreographic craft, rather than elements of TV production. Work by choreographers Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo and Shane Sparks will be used as case studies as their choreographies have been accredited with the creation of a new genre of dance Lyrical Hip Hop and a discussion of how elements of their choreography contribute to this title will be presented. When exploring beyond the spectacle of TV there is still a place for choreographic craft and this can be found within the performances on So You Think You Can Dance.
Kate Sicchio is a choreographer, media artist, and researcher. Her work includes dance performances, installations, web and video projects and has seen shown in the US, Canada, Germany and the UK. She is currently pursuing a practice-based PhD at University of East London, where she is also programme leader for the BA (Hons) Dance: Urban Practice.
Siegmund, Gerald
(University of Giessen, Germany)
William Forsythe: Impossible Choreographies
Taking Forsythe’s installation performance Human Writes (2006) as my main example this paper will explore some of Forsythe’s choreographic principles. The piece will appear as emblematic of what choreography does with bodies that engage with the letter of the law, a missed encounter that produces dance. Forsythe’s methodologies create impossible choreographies that challenge the dancers and necessitate decisions on their part. This will then lead towards a possible definition of choreography. Choreography appears to be a machine-like structure of relational differences, an inhumane symbolic language that, together with the bodies’ manifold possibilities of movement, produces a choreographic text.
Gerald Siegmund studied Theatre, English and French Literature at the Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main. Between 2005 and 2008 he was professor for Contemporary Theatre at the University of Berne, Switzerland. Currently he is professor for Dance Studies and head of the MA-programme “Choreography and Performance” at the University in Giessen. Gerald Siegmund is editor of the book William Forsythe — Denken in Bewegung, published in 2004 at Henschel Verlag, Berlin. His most recent book Abwesenheit. Eine performative €sthetik des Tanzes was published in 2006.
Sparling, Peter
(University of Michigan, U.S.A.)
Naked Came I/Eye: Lights, Camera and the Ultimate Spectacle [PDF (17.3MB)]
The naked body, though the most commonly shared ‘fact’ of existence, is also the most scripted, censored, and “performed” spectacle. Western concert dance has provided a certain protected space and esthetic rationale for the stripped-down body on stage. What kind of status is my naked body granted once it is performed, edited and produced as screendance? Does the translation allow for greater objectification and a fusion of corporeal and idealized aesthetic orientations—such that the naked dancing body aligns itself with Modernity and high art vs. porn, narcissism, exhibitionism and eroticism? Or am I merely making a spectacle of myself?
Peter Sparling is Thurnau Professor of Dance at University of Michigan. As former principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, chair of the U-M Department of Dance from 1988-93 and Artistic Director of Peter Sparling Dance Company from 1993-08, he has extensive experience as performer, choreographer, director, teacher, lecturer, screendance artist, writer, interdisciplinary collaborator, administrator and dance/arts consultant. His screendances have been featured in international festivals and he has written for Ballet Review.
Speer, Kate
(Independent scholar)
The Spectacle of Globalization [PDF (139KB)]
With the increased globalization of dance forms and touring productions, the presentation of the body and movement rest precariously between "dance" and “spectacle.” The high transfer of images and cultural knowledge risks misinterpretation, objectification, and exotification as it transforms into spectacle when presented outside its cultural context. Choreographers Faustin Linyekula and Cynthia Oliver, among others, have maintained a heightened awareness to cultural specification and a sensitivity towards the presentation of images across cultural contexts so that the integrity of their art work is conserved.
Kate Speer, a Philadelphia-based dancer, choreographer, and scholar, holds a BA in dance and biology from Swarthmore College. She is an artist-in-residence at Mascher Space Co-op, a member of the Philly Contact Collective, and has presented her own choreography at Here[begin] Dance’s Current Series, ETC Performance Series, and React/Dance’s South Philly Salon. In 2009, she presented research at DUC XI Conference at UCLA and was recognized as a New Edge Mix Artist by the CEC (Philadelphia).
Stewart, Nigel
(Lancaster University, U.K.)
Dance and the Event: John Jasperse’s Giant Empty and the Disclosure of Being
I explore John Jasperse’s Giant Empty in terms of Heidegger’s concept of Ereignis. I thereby develop an "event theory" through which it is possible to grasp how kinaesthetic presence and meaning emerge through the dynamic unfolding event of dancing itself. If Ereignis is ultimately registered in a radical apprehension of "groundless opening-up" (Zimmerman 2003: 93), then Giant Empty exemplifies Ereignis. At first movement is painstakingly spatialized and framed so as to reproduce a spectacle of difference, but as the work unfolds that whole spectacle is dismantled and disarticulated. The “ensuing sense of vastness — a ‘giant empty’” (Jasperse 2009) — provides a profound opening for the disclosure of human there-being.
Nigel Stewart is Senior Lecturer in the Institute for Contemporary Arts at Lancaster University, is the Artistic Director of Sap Dance, and was Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded project Re-enchantment and Reclamation: New Perceptions of Morecambe Bay Through Dance, Film and Sound ( He is co-editor of Performing Nature: Explorations in Ecology and the Arts (Peter Lang 2005). He will be choreographing two major site-specific performance works: Jack Scout (Silverdale, 18-26 September 2010) and Fissure (Yorkshire Dales, 20-22 May 2011).
Storckman, Annette
(State University of New York at New Paltz, U.S.A.)
When to Wear Black: Dance Impersonations and Blackface Navigations
Recent Blackface performances by super model Laura Stone in the French Vogue magazine demonstrate that Blackface is one way of negotiating power in places and spaces where whites compete with blacks for economic advancement or social standing. Two case studies also illuminate the thesis. In Mexico, danced local responses to African presence create dialogic negotiations with Native American communities about the status of blacks, while in Liverpool UK, Irishmen use minstrelsy to distance themselves from local stereotypes and re-negotiate their social standing within British society. This paper investigates “wearing black,” as a multi-ethnic dance of contestable social standings. (Co-presenter. Also see Gonzalez, Anita)
Annette Storckman is a student at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in English, with minors in Creative Writing and Theater Arts. She has been working with Anita Gonzalez since January 2010, first with an independent study, then as a research assistant. She and Professor Gonzalez are now working on a play for their larger project “Liverpool Trading.”
Tai, Juan Ann
(Tainan University of Technology, Taiwan)
Dance and Power: Political Ideologies and Aesthetic Preferences in Dance Spectacles for Cultural Diplomacy in Taiwan [PDF (926KB)]
This paper examines the power of political ideologies and aesthetic preferences in dance spectacles for cultural diplomacy in Taiwan, particularly during the martial law period, by using the Chinese Youth Goodwill Mission (for students in higher education) (1974-2001), as an example. Historical understanding and analyses are drawn from semi-structured interviews with eight of the former participants. Using Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of symbolic violence as the main analytical framework, this paper discusses how politics asserts its power in dance spectacles and the mechanism of the shifting of power relations between choreographers, dancers, dance teachers and dance students in Taiwan in the process of manipulation and appropriation, in the past and at present.
TAI Juan Ann is an Associate Professor in the Department of Dance at Tainan University of Technology in Taiwan. She has been a full-time member of the faculty since 1992, specializing in dance education and dance history. She received her PhD from the Department of Dance, Film and Theatre at the University of Surrey, M.A. in Dance and Dance Education from New York University, and B.A. in Dance from Hunter College of City University of New York.
Templeton, Melissa
(University of California, Riverside, U.S.A.)
Multicultural Spectacle and the Colonial Gaze: FIND’s 1999 Production
This presentation examines Festival International de Nouvelle Danse‘s African themed festival (held in Montreal) and puts it into dialogue with multiculturalism and racial construction in Québec. The Afrique: Aller/Retour production attempted to counter claims that Montreal dance was Eurocentric, and in many ways, the festival successfully promoted African dance practices in this city. However, instead of examining the performances as spectacle, I analyze the colonial gaze that framed these performances. A closer inspection of the programming, advertisement, and subsequent documentation of Afrique: Aller/Retour calls attention to the focus of the production and makes a spectacle out of the gaze itself.
Melissa Templeton is currently pursuing her PhD in critical dance studies at the University of California Riverside. She received her BFA in dance from York University in 2003, and her BA in western culture and society with a minor in music from Concordia University in 2007. Her current research examines Canadian multicultural policies in relation to Québécois identity, racial construction, and African diaspora dance practices.
Thain, Alanna
(McGill University, Canada)
Tendering the Flesh: Dave St-Pierre’s Media Provocations
Quebecois choreographer Dave St-Pierre has been described as the "pornographic son" of Pina Bausch; his performances pervert a "society of the spectacle" through provocative intersections with the contemporary media: videoclips, talk shows, or the Vegas hype of Celine Dion. St-Pierre’s “Tryptique Sociologie/ Sexologie et autres utopies contemporaines” (La Pornographie des ames (2004), Un Peu de Tendresse, Bordel de Merde! (2007) and the double solo-group show Over My/Our Dead body/Bodies (2009/2010)) frays the edges of performance, reworking spectacle via an affective urgency of vulnerability to resist its presupposed audience passivity. St-Pierre’s shows are prefaced by audience provocations as mis-performances, deliberate openings of the boundaries of performance that make us unsure of when we can and cannot respond in his work. Virginia Preston addresses Dave St-Pierre’s stagings of love in Pornographie, where explosive physicality offers a contemporary account of turbulent, queer identity in the grip of powerful affect. Alanna Thain explores an audiovisual fleshiness of St-Pierre’s work, in relation to Over My Dead Body and Tendresse, considering how his performances activate theatrical space as an audiovisual medium, challenging fetishistic and passive notions of spectatorship through audiovisual conventions.
Alanna Thain is assistant professor of cultural studies at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Her current research examines affect and intermediality in cinema and dance in the work of Dave St. Pierre, Norman McLaren, DV8 Physical theatre and Williams Kentridge, among others. She is an editor and co-founder of Inflexions: A Journal for Research-Creation ( and her work has been published in differences, Parallax, Flow and Invisible Culture.
Thomas, Philippa
(Goldsmiths College, U.K.)
Owning Beyoncé
This paper examines articulations of ownership and identification around the body of Beyoncé Knowles, via the cyclical relationship between her 2009 hit; 'Single Ladies’ various 'public's’ (Warner) and Exploring notions of audience, authorship, authenticity, labour, race, gender and power, I will argue that responses to Knowles work are predominantly textually-overdetermined and blind to her performative irony. I am using this dance phenomenon as a conduit for examining her ‘multi-accentual’ (Voloshinov) star personae; as a powerful industry insider, African American woman who controls her own image, family-industry, capitalist, sex symbol, Christian, Democrat and wife. Beyoncé as an epistemological uncertainty.
Philippa will be undertaking her PhD in the department of Sociology in Goldsmiths College from September 2010. She formerly taught at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, has written for Dance Theatre Journal and is also an artist and writer.
Thorp, Jennifer
(New College, University of Oxford, U.K.)
Monsieur L’Abbé and Le Palais des Plaisirs: a New Source for a London Spectacle [PDF (119KB)]
The little-known Divertissement donné a sa Majesté Britannique a Kensington was, according to its synposis, a ballet 'composed of different extracts from operas’, with a cast of French singers, French and English dancers, and choreography ‘by Monsieur L’Abbé, already famous in France’. Set in the Palace of Pleasure, the ballet consists of five entrées with the accent on visual spectacle as well as vocal music. Although clearly derivative in its sources and inspiration, the work adds to our knowledge of Anthony L'Abbé’s career in London, and to the nature of staged entertainments and spectacle at the late Stuart Court.
Jennifer Thorp is a dance historian with a particular interest in seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century dance for court and theatre in England and France. She is currently working on major studies of the dancing-masters Mr Isaac and Anthony L’Abbé; her edition of F. le Roussau’s Collection of New Ball- and Stage Dances (1720) was published in 2008, and her contribution to The Ballet de la Nuit (1653) is published by Pendragon in 2010.
Timmons, Michelle
(University of California, Riverside, U.S.A.)
The Electronic Counterpart
Drawing upon the historical narrative of the Weather Underground, Dorfman’s underground choreographically interrogates the abstract boundary between activism and terrorism. His dancers’ bodies navigate multiple media systems, exploring the political ramifications of bodies that are simultaneously lived and represented. Utilizing Guy Debord’s theories of spectacle, I interpret these dancing bodies as social mediators between the physical body of the audience and the electronic bodies on the screen. Focusing on the performative space that emerges when the electronic and physical bodies collide, I argue that the dancers’ positioning creates a circulation of power that reveals a negotiation with the electronic counterpart.
Michelle Timmons is currently a Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at UC Riverside. She holds an M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU and a B.F.A./Ballet and B.A./English from Texas Christian University. Awards include: UCR Graduate Fellowship, NYU Tisch Departmental Scholarship, Kappa Alpha Theta Graduate Scholarship, TCU Provost Scholarship, the Nancy Evans Memorial Award for Texas Writing, and the Elise Carlton Memorial Scholarship. Michelle is a performer, teacher, and choreographer in the Los Angeles area.
Tomé, Lester
(Smith College, U.S.A.)
Officializing a Cuban Giselle: The Staging of History in Four Tribute Galas for Alicia Alonso
The legend of Alicia Alonso’s Giselle was solemnized in splendid galas in Havana that commemorated the 25th, 35th, 40th and 50th anniversaries of her debut in this ballet. These symbolic spectacles (1968-93) officialised Alonso’s accomplishments by integrating performance, ritual and the participation of artists, critics and politicians, from Anton Dolin to Fidel Castro. The events generated historical records (publications, pictures, films) that sought to reaffirm Alonso’s status as a legendary Giselle. As rites of passages, they facilitated her delayed retirement and marked her transition from active performer of Giselle to a glorified legend and reference for this ballet.
Lester Tomé, professor of dance history at Smith College and the Five College Dance Department, in Massachusetts, recently finished a dissertation that examined how Alicia Alonso and the Cuban ballet formulated a Cuban cultural identity in this art form of European origins, in response to nationalist, cosmopolitan and postcolonial forces in Cuban culture. He has been a fellow of Temple University, the New York Times Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tomko, Linda
(University of California Riverside, U.S.A.)
Pastoral “Places” and Particular Kinesthesis in Two Tragédies en Musique.
This paper explores one dimension of early modern spectacle by considering, in two tragédies en musique, how dance and song interact with “pastoral” topoi to articulate particular ways of being in the world. Both Méléâgre (1709) and Callirhoé (1712) present miseries inflicted on the people of Calydon by the gods. Cessation of the miseries intersects with the mutual acknowledgement by lead figures of their problematic attraction for each other. At these junctures, signifying in concert with “pastoral” settings, shepherds and shepherdesses kinesthize and visualize, together with the acoustic register, highly charged choices to be made by the protagonists.
Linda J. Tomko is a historian, dancer, and embodier of dances past. She is Associate Professor of Dance at the University of California Riverside, a Past President of SDHS, and editor of the Dance & Music book series published by Pendragon Press. In 2009-10 she is a recipient of an American Council of Learned Societies fellowship.
Tsang, Hing
(University of Surrey, U.K)
Trusting the Dancer
The paper explores Van der Keuken’s engagement with dance in its folkloric popular, (rather than modernist) form in a film called The Eye Above the Well (1983) We argue that this film is instrumental to his contribution to documentary form, which has invariably been associated with scientific and ‘objective’ accounts of reality.
We argue that there are differences between documentation and documentary, that the former derives from notions of neutral spectator theory while documentary is ultimately personalised, participative and embodied. The ‘spectacular’ then is ultimately related to the long term development of the documentarist whereby a qualitative imbrication in the lifeworld is part of the emergence of self within the filmmaker. It is qualitative immediacy and that distinguishes documentary from documentation, and accounts for our embodied awareness of self and other.
Hing Tsang is a tutor in the Dance, Film and Theatre Department of Surrey University, where he teaches a mixture of practical and theoretical film modules. He is currently writing a book about Documentary Semiotics with an emphasis upon Peirce and filmmakers Jon Jost, Van der keuken and Rithy Panh. His research interests include Chinese Cinema, American Independent Cinema, American philosophy (pragmatism and social interactionism) as well as bio-semiotics.
Tuan, Iris Hsin-Chun
(National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan)
Dance and Spectacle in Pina Bausch’s Café Müller in Almodóvar’s Film [PDF (254KB)]
Spectacles, for example, chairs, flowers and a hippopotamus, three crocodiles, etc. are used in Pina Bausch’s Das Tanztheater Wuppertal. Pedro Almodóvar’s film Talk to Her adopts the men’s points of view, in “the male gaze,” to talk about love, friendship, communication and solitude. As Marcantonio said: “[Almodovar] speaks both to and through the mute woman’s body” (23). His shooting methods are innovative, such as cross-cutting, close-up, and the mime film The Shrink Lover inserted in Talk to Her. This paper explores Bausch’s delicate choreography Café Muller and Masurca Fogo are represented by Almodóvar’s unique shooting methods incorporating spectacle in dance.
Iris Hsin-chun Tuan is Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. Tuan got her Ph.D. in Theater conferred by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Tuan’ specialty is in Theatre. Her interests are dance and film. Tuan’s publications include the four books, such as Alternative Theater in Taiwan, Intercultural Theatre, some journal papers, numerous conference papers and others.
Tzartzani, Ioanna
(University of the Peloponnese, Greece)
Choreographing a National Spectacle: Dance, Art, Spectatorship and the Politics of Representation in Modern Greece
This paper explores the socio-cultural, ideological and aesthetic implications, and the tensions residing the conjunction of dance and spectacle in the choreographing of national identities, focusing on two examples drawn from Greek (dance) history: the Delphic Festivals, conceived and realized in 1927 and 1930 by poet Angellos Sikelianos and his wife Eva Palmer-Sikelianos and the Opening and Closing Olympic ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympics, directed by choreographer Dimitris Papaioannou. Approached as large-scale spectacles, these two manifestly different events will be juxtaposed, examining the employment and usage of dance, within their negotiations of (a Greek) national and cultural identity.
Ioanna Tzartzani (Dr) studied sociology at Panteion University in Athens and dance at the Gregoriadou Professional School of Dance. She holds an MA and a PhD (titled: Interplays of ethnicity, nationalism and globalisation within the Greek contemporary dance scene: choreographic choices and constructions of national identity) in Dance Studies from the University of Surrey. She currently teaches in the University of the Peloponnese (Theatrical Studies), and in the Athens Metropolitan College (Dance Performance). She is a member of the editorial team of [chi o rho o sigma -- all caps] plus dance magazine.
Urrutia, Maria
(University of Arts, Goddard College, U.S.A.)
Cuban Rumba, the Spectacle Within Solares
Cuban Rumba, originated in 19th century solares, tenement houses with tight living quarters in highly populated urban areas. The architectural framework of solares is central to the aesthetic of spectacle in rumba. Solares are several floors high and thus the balconies create layers of vantage points for spectators. These voyeuristic perspectives allow for the viewing of highly theatrical dances such as the guaguanco style of rumba. The spectacular character of rumba is commonly attributed to the sexualized and exotic movement. However, as this paper argues, the architecture of the solares is another essential component of rumba’s aesthetic of the spectacle.
Cuban Born, Maria Urrutia, is currently an MFA candidate in Interdisciplinary Studies at Goddard College. She has earned both an EdM from Temple University and a BFA in Modern Dance from The University of the Arts. Ms.Urrutia has presented original Cuban Dance research in Montreal and Edinburgh. Additionally her teaching of Cuban Rumba took her to Tokyo, Japan and Santiago, Chile. Ms. Urrutia is Adjunct Faculty and Assistant Director in the School of Dance at The University of the Arts.
Uytterhoeven, Lise
(University of Surrey, U.K.)
Extreme Virtuosity: Moments of Disbelief [PDF (131KB)]
Virtuosity occupies a central place in the oeuvre of Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Hamera (2000) proposes an understanding of virtuosity beyond the conventional plot of heroism, mastery and talent towards a romance between the labouring bodies of monstrous performer and longing spectator. This paper explores the labour of looking at extremely virtuosic bodies. I find myself doubting whether their movements are humanly possible. I argue that extreme virtuosity causes moments of disbelief, which is unsuspendable because in the intimate performance situation the human bodies moving in front of the eye are not fictional.
Lise Uytterhoeven is PhD candidate at the Department of Dance, Film and Theatre of the University of Surrey. She received AHRC funding for her doctoral project on new dramaturgies and the ontology of performance with regard to the work of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. She works as an associate lecturer at the University of Surrey and London Studio Centre, addressing a broad range of topics in Critical Theory, Choreographic Analysis and Dance History.
Valverde, Isabel
(Institute of Humane Studies & Intelligent Sciences, Portugal)
Transnational Media Performance
I propose an ad-hoc group aiming to gather scholars, artists, and researchers, to exchange and discuss work that focuses on or implies inter, transnational and transcultural themes, issues, dimensions and particularities, regarding new hybrid performance processes, forms, formats, discourses, audience reach, reception and participation. How do works integrate or address the cultural intercourse, such as collaborations amongst artists/audience participants from different places/nations/regions. The working group will make a call for papers, performances, or other formats of work, to be read and watched ahead of the meeting, in order to anticipate a more in depth discussion on the theme.
Isabel Valverde is a transdisciplinary performer, choreographer and scholar from Portugal. Develops experimental solo and collaborative performance art/dance work since 1986. Graduated in Dance Theory and History (UCR), Interdisciplinary Arts (SFSU), New Dance (SNDD). Author of Interfacing Dance and Technology: a theoretical framework for performance in the digital domain, published Portuguese by FCG/FCT. Valverde’s present post-doctoral research in Dance-Technology (BPD/FCT) includes practice as theory, teaching, and collaboration in mixed-realities networked performances and environments as well as videodance.
Vass-Rhee, Freya
(University of California, Riverside, U.S.A.)
Sound the Spectacle: Listening to Two Works by William Forsythe [PDF (197KB)]
This paper turns away from a purely visual analysis of William Forsythe’s choreographies by favoring consideration of their spectacular aurality. Focusing on Artifact (1984) and Decreation (2003), the first and last evening-length works created by Forsythe for the Ballett Frankfurt, it offers a comparison of sonic and visual aspects of these two works which illuminates — or more aptly, amplifies — perceptual mechanisms underlying the experience of spectacle, as well as ways in which the joining of sound and sight in contemporary dance taps the performativity of the spectacular.
Freya Vass-Rhee is a doctoral candidate in Dance History and Theory at the University of California, Riverside. Her research focuses on cognitive approaches to dance studies and on arts/sciences interdisciplinarity. A former dancer, ballet mistress, teacher, and choreographer, she currently works as dramaturgical and production assistant for The Forsythe Company and teaches cognitive dance studies and dramaturgy at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst (College of Music and Performing Arts) in Frankfurt am Main.
Vriend, Laura
(University California Riverside, U.S.A.)
Structures of Enchantment: The Magical Urbanism of Nichole Canuso’s Wandering Alice
Through an examination of Philadelphia choreographer Nichole Canuso’s Wandering Alice, performed in 2008 throughout the three stories of Philadelphia’s historic Christ Church neighborhood house, this paper explores how Canuso’s choreography of spatial discovery engages with discourses of urbanism and spatiality. Building on Henri LeFebvre’s notion that art creates and illuminates “structures of enchantment”, in urban spaces, I examine choreographic elements that produce a multisensorial and intimate sense of enchantment within the site and argue the spatiality of Christ Church is an integral component of how Canuso choreographs the mundane and magical and locates structures of enchantment in everyday spatial practice.
Laura Vriend is a doctoral candidate in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California at Riverside. Her dissertation research mines the relationship between social theories of space and choreographic uses/ideas of space in the site based work of several Philadelphia area choreographers. She intends to focus on how these works themselves propose and perform specific understandings of spatiality and urbanism and how these understandings alter the spatial text of the city.
Wang, Yunyu
(Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan)
The Role of Dance in the World Games — What is Dance Spectacle? [PDF (1.2MB)]
Recently, large-scale opening ceremonies of international athletic events were held in Beijing (Summer Olympics 8/08), Kaoshiung (World Games, 7/09) and Taipei (Deaflympics 9/09). Focusing on the World Games Ceremony held at Taiwan’s southern port city, our panelists will reflect on their experience as core members of this creative team.
Based on a harmonious narrative of mutual coexistence among Taiwan’s ethnic groups, this Ceremony highlighted Kaoshiung’s heroes/heroines through the incorporation of local rituals and contemporary festivities. However, comparison with the more “nationalistic” emphasis of the Beijing Olympics, as well as the fine line between art and politics will also be examined.
A certified Movement Analyst, Labanotation Teacher and Reconstructor. Wang is the founding dancer of Cloud Gate Theatre, Taiwan and has a MFA from the University of Illinois. Yunyu is the Professor at Colorado College and Taipei National University of the Arts. Her researches are in dance technology, restaging and movement analysis. She is the CEO of the Chin-Lin Foundation for Cultural and Arts and serves as the Vice-President of World Dance Alliance – Asian Pacific.
Wawrejko, Diane
(Columbia College Chicago, U.S.A.)
Banafsheh Sayyad’s NAMAH: Displaying/Displacing Feminist Identity and Politics [PDF (193KB)]
This paper probes Banafsheh Sayyad’s dances as displaying and displacing the tensions between politics and identity using the theories of nationalism and feminism. Born and raised in the Islamic Republic of Iran where public dancing by women continues to be banned, her family fled to London before moving to Los Angeles. In what ways does her dancing body displace and deposit sedimented residues of history, culture, identity, politics, religion, and feminism; and, ironically, how are these on display? Sayyad re-negotiates notions of politics and feminism through displaying embodied practices as spectacle, thus problematising their re-examination through these lenses.
Diane Wawrejko, performer, educator, and scholar, is on the dance and humanities faculties at Columbia College Chicago and College of DuPage. She was the sole exchange artist from the city of Chicago to Lucerne, Switz for July 2009 and was a Senior Fulbright Scholar in dance Fall 2006 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Her PhD in dance studies is from the University of Surrey, UK and her MFA in choreography and performance is from Arizona State University.
Weisbrod, Alexis
(University of California, Riverside, U.S.)
Creating Spectacle: The Rhetoric of So You Think You Can Dance
Reality competition television shows highlight the labor of the dancing body by merging the spectacle of the performance with competition. The language used to critique the show’s contestants creates a juxtaposition between traditional dancing bodies—those trained in a studio—and non-traditional bodies—those trained in non-normative (i.e. urban) spaces. This paper looks at the rhetoric of a particular show, So You Think You Can Dance, and how language is used to enhance the spectacle of the dance, while simultaneously training the interactive audience, as it accentuates the spectacle of dance by concealing complexities of certain bodies and racially marking dance genres.
A doctoral candidate in Critical Dance Studies at University of California, Riverside, Alexis A. Weisbrod received her BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota. In addition to her work as a scholar she is a dance competition director for DanceAmerica/ Dance Olympus and International Dance Challenge. Alexis currently holds an Associate Faculty position in the Dance and Theater Program at Mount San Jacinto College in Menifee, California.
Whatley, Sarah
(Coventry University, U.K.)
The Spectacle of Mediated Dance; Making and Looking at Dance in New Spaces [PDF (172KB)]
Dance is confidently moving into different spaces, blurring the boundaries between dance and other artforms, and is now increasingly transmitted and distributed via digital platforms through a web (screen) interface. In this new environment the previously passive viewer of dance becomes more active. Our relationship with dance is changing. Is the spectacle of dance is also changing? This paper focuses on two related but unique dance projects; the Siobhan Davies digital archive and Davies’ gallery-based project The Collection (2009) to ask how these new spaces in which dance appears might challenge previous theories of spectatorship or generate new ones.
Sarah Whatley led an AHRC-funded project to create the Siobhan Davies digital archive and is now working in partnership with Surrey University to enhance user-engagement with online dance resources (also AHRC-funded). She is also part of an AHRC-funded Network project ‘Screendance’ and researches pedagogical practices for disabled dancers. She is an international associate for a pan-European research cluster; Inside Movement Knowledge — and edits the international Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, published by Intellect.
Wong, Yutian
(San Francisco State University, U.S.A.)
Identity Politics and Universal Historiography
This presentation scrutinizes two related aspects of political intervention in choreographic practice: the nationalized creation of ethnic differences and the canonization of cultural production. The East German choreography Spring in Vietnam!, celebrated the figure of the Vietnamese revolutionary. The inclusion of the Vietnamese revolutionary within the repertory of the East German Folk Dance Ensemble marked the parameters of socialist deployments of "the national" and “postcolonial.” Both categories operated as a mode of claiming ideological sameness with nationals marked by racial-as-cultural difference through their definition as a unified revolutionary force in Marxist/Leninist doctrine of the developing postcolonial countries. (Co-presenter. Also see Giersdorf, Jens Richard)
Yutian Wong is an Assistant Professor in the School of Music and Dance at San Francisco State University. She is the author of Choreographing Asian America (Wesleyan University Press, 2010). Other publications include “Artistic Utopias: Michio Ito and the Trope of the International” in Worlding Dance, ed. S.L. Foster (2009).
Wongkaew, Manrutt
(University of Surrey, U.K.)
God Saves the (Mc)Queen: Punk Ideologies and Politics of Performance in a Cross-over Between Dance and Fashion in Deliverance (2003)
Deliverance (2003) is a fashion show collaborated between Michael Clark and Alexander McQueen. Influenced from punk movements, these artists fabricate the shock value and interlace it within this event. As a result, it allows them to disturb the conventional grains of glamour from the lucrative fashion context within which they operate. Through punk destructive charismas, grotesque bodily movements and provocative inter-texts, Deliverance challenges a representation of the clothed bodies in the mainstream high-fashion and critique on commercialism in the capitalist society. Nevertheless, this performance is commodified and inevitably subjugated by fashion merchandising and marketing strategies which overshadowing their artistic practice.
Manrutt studied Fashion at Central Saint Martins before pursuing his dance career at London Studio Centre and completed his Master degree at the Laban Centre. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Surrey where his research investigates collaboration between contemporary dance and fashion advertising.
Professionally, Manrutt performed in numerous theatrical, commercial and television productions including ENO’s Madam Butterfly, Transitions Dance Company, Channel 4’s Perfect Match and Trevor Sorbie International hair show.
Woodhouse, Angela
(Central St. Martins, U.K.)
24ct will be a short improvisation that explores the idea of the spectacle as a quiet and intimate experience.
Angela Woodhouse and Caroline Broadhead have for some years created installations and theatre work that situate the audience within the work. The intention in this presentation is to allow intimate dialogues to be publicly shared and to contribute to questions of visibility and bareness within the context of dance performance. (Co-presenter. Also see Broadhead, Caroline)