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) and Modern Dance, Negro Dance: Race in Motion (2004); curator of Danses noires/blanche Amèrique (2008); and coeditor of New German Dance Studies (2012). From 2004 to 2008 she served as President of SDHS/Society of Dance History Scholars, and in 2013 she received an award for distinguished scholarship from CORD/Congress on Research in Dance. In spring 2014 she was a Fellow at Interweaving Performance Cultures at the Free University Berlin, where she completed a series of essays for TDR: The Drama Review on her work as dramaturge for Reggie Wilson’s Moses(es). She currently serves as a member of the executive committee for the Chicago Dance History Project.
Janice Ross, Professor, Theatre and Performance Studies Department, and Faculty Director, ITALIC, at Stanford, is the author of Like A Bomb Going Off: Leonid Yakobson and Ballet as Resistance in Soviet Russia, (Yale University Press 2015), Anna Halprin: Experience as Dance, (UC Press 2007), San Francisco Ballet at 75 (Chronicle Books 2007) and Moving Lessons: Margaret H’Doubler and The Beginning of Dance in American Education, (U of Wisconsin Press 2001). Her Dance Studies essays have been published in numerous anthologies. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, Fulbright Scholar Fellowship to Israel, two Stanford Humanities Center Fellowships, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Fellowship, Jacobs’ Pillow Research Fellowship, and a 2015 Israel Institute research grant. For 10 years she was the staff dance critic for The Oakland Tribune and for 20 years the SF contributing editor to Dance Magazine. Her articles on dance have appeared in The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times among other publications. She is past president of both the international Society of Dance History Scholars and the Dance Critics Association.
Rebecca Schneider is a Professor in the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at Brown University. She is the author of The Explicit Body in Performance (1997), Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment (2011), and Theatre And History (2014). She has edited collections on directing practice and the historical avant-garde; on performance and precarity; and a forthcoming collection on new materialism and performance. Schneider has published a wide variety of essays with such titles as “Hello Dolly Well Hello Dolly: The Double and its Theatre”; “What I Can’t Recall”; “Remembering Feminist Remimesis”; “Patricide and the Passerby”; “It Seems as if I am Dead: Zombie Capitalism and Theatrical Labor”; “A Small History of (Still) Passing”; and perhaps closest to dance studies: “Solo Solo Solo,” first presented in Paris at the National Centre de la Dance in 2002. As a “performing theorist,” she has collaborated with artists at such sites as the British Museum in London, the Mobile Academy in Berlin, the Tanzquartier in Vienna, and the Gulbenkian in Lisbon, engaging with dancers/artists Marianne Goldberg, Hannah Hurtzig, Xavier Leroy, Marten Spangberg, Alice Chaucat, La Ribot, Tino Seghal.
Faculty and Invited Speakers
Ann Cooper Albright
A dancer and a scholar, Ann Cooper Albright is Professor and Chair of Dance at Oberlin College and President of the Society of Dance History Scholars. Combining her interests in dancing and cultural theory, she is involved in teaching a variety of courses that seek to engage students in both practices and theories of the body. She is the author of Engaging Bodies: the Politics and Poetics of Corporeality (2013), which won the Selma Jeanne Cohen Prize from the American Society for Aesthetics; Modern Gestures: Abraham Walkowitz Draws Isadora Duncan Dancing (2010); Traces of Light: Absence and Presence in the Work of Loie Fuller (2007); Choreographing Difference: the Body and Identity in Contemporary Dance (1997) and co-editor of Moving History/Dancing Cultures (2001) and Taken By Surprise: Improvisation in Dance and Mind (2003). Ann is founder and director of Girls in Motion, an award winning afterschool program in the Oberlin public schools.
A leading voice in Contemporary Indian dance, Ananya Chatterjea is a choreographer, dancer, and thinker who envisions her work as a “call to action” with a particular focus on women artists of color. Recently lauded for her “strong…fierce, Odissi-based” work (1/12/15 http://www.dancemagazine.com/blogs/wendy/6261) by Dance Magazine’s Wendy Perron, she is the Artistic Director of Ananya Dance Theatre (www.ananyadancetheatre.org), recipient of a 2012 McKnight Choreography Fellowship and a 2011 Guggenheim Choreography Fellowship. Her most recent work Neel was described as “powerful…dreams and dance in a potent combo” where the dancers “toil even within their mastery of the movement because there’s more at stake here than an evening of entertainment. They are dancing for their own lives and for the lives of women all over the world” (Star Tribune, 9/19/14). Chatterjea is the author of Butting Out: Reading Resistive Choreographies through Works by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Chandralekha (2004). She is Professor of Dance at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches courses on Dance Studies and technique.
Bonnie Brooks is Associate Professor of Dance and Lead Curator for the dance presenting series at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago. She chaired Columbia’s Dance Department from Fall, 1999-Spring, 2011. During the 2011-2012 academic year, she was Legacy Fellow of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Her recent scholarly papers include “Queering Cunningham,” for the CORD 2012 Special Topics conference; “The Last Dance: Choreographies of Closure” at the Dance Under Construction/CORD conference at UCLA in spring, 2013; and “Keeping it Local: Towards an American Dance Theater,” in progress. Her essay “Dance Presenting and Dramaturgy” will be published in Dance and Dramaturgy: Modes of Agency, Awareness and Engagement by Palgrave Macmillan in August, 2015. Brooks was visiting assistant professor in the World Arts & Cultures Department at UCLA (1996-99), and has held numerous administrative posts in the dance field including executive director of Dance/USA. She holds a Master of Arts degree in English from George Mason University.
Susan C. Cook
Susan C. Cook is Professor of Musicology and Director of the School of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her teaching and research focus on contemporary and American musics of all kinds and demonstrate her abiding interest in dance studies, cultural criticism and interdisciplinary scholarship. She most recently co-edited the collection Bodies of Sound: Studies Across Popular Music and Dance (Ashgate, 2013) with Sherril Dodds and is the author of Opera for a New Republic and essays in Audible Traces, The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Music, the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Teaching Music History, Contemporary Theatre Review, Women and Music and The Arts of the Prima Donna. She co-edited the groundbreaking collection Cecilia Reclaimed: Feminist Perspectives on Gender and Music (Illinois, 1994), and her essay “Watching Our Step: Embodying Research, Telling Stories,” on the gendered and racialized meanings of ragtime social dance won the Society for Dance History Scholars’s Lippincott Prize. Ragtime dance continues to drive her research interests.
Leslie Buxbaum Danzig
Leslie Buxbaum Danzig is Curator of the University of Chicago’s Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, a forum for experimental collaborations between artists and scholars. She is a collaborating director with Lucky Plush Productions (Julia Rhoads, Artistic Director), where she co-directed two productions, both of which received National Dance Project Awards and have toured throughout the US. She was a founding member & director with 500 Clown, a nationally-touring Chicago-based clown theater company. She has directed with Third Coast Percussion & Glenn Kotche (in spring 2015 at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC), About Face Theater, Redmoon, Chicago Children’s Theater, NYC’s Elevator Repair Service (actor) and the House Theater (upcoming production in fall 2015). She received her BA from Brown University and PhD in Performance Studies at Northwestern University and trained in physical theater and clown at École Jacques Lecoq and Philippe Gaulier.
Anita Gonzalez is professor of theater and drama at the University of Michigan. Her research and publication interests are in the fields of intercultural performance and ethnic studies, particularly the way in which performance reveals histories and identities in the Americas and in transnational contexts. Her books include a co-edited anthology with Tommy DeFrantz, Black Performance Theory (2014); Afro-Mexico: Dancing between Myth and Reality (2010); and Jarocho’s Soul: Cultural Identity and Afro-Mexican Dance (2004). Other publications include articles about cruise ship culture (“Maritime Scenography and the Spectacle of Cruising,” Performance Research International, 2013), utopia in urban bush women performance (Modern Drama, 2004), archetypes of African identity in Central America (“Mambo and the Maya,” Dance Research Journal, 2004), and the pedagogy of teaching African American drama (Theatre Topics, 2009). Gonzalez is also a director who has staged more than fifty productions during the course of her career.
Norm Hirschy is Senior Editor in the Academic and Trade Division of Oxford University Press, where his acquisitions focus on music, dance, and cultural biography. His books have been widely reviewed in both popular and scholarly periodicals and have won numerous awards, including the SDHS de la Torre Bueno Prize, the CORD Outstanding Publication Prize, and the ASCAP Deems-Taylor Award. He is Distinguished Fellow in the UCLA Humanities Editor-in-Residence program. Norm has been employed in book industry since 1993, serving as a bookstore clerk, library assistant, and book translator before joining OUP in 2004. He is a Fulbright Fellow and a graduate of The College of Wooster and The Ohio State University.
Anthea Kraut is an Associate Professor in the Department of Dance at the University of California, Riverside, where she teaches courses in critical dance studies. Her first book, Choreographing the Folk: The Dance Stagings of Zora Neale Hurston, was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2008, and received a Special Citation from the Society of Dance History Scholars’ de la Torre Bueno Prize® for distinguished book of dance scholarship. Her next book, Choreographing Copyright: Race, Gender, and Intellectual Property Rights in American Dance, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. Her articles have been published in the edited volumes The Routledge Dance Studies Reader and Worlding Dance and in Theatre Journal, Dance Research Journal, Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, The Scholar & Feminist Online, and Theatre Studies.
Carrie Lambert-Beatty is Professor of the History of Art and Architecture, and of Visual and Environmental Studies, at Harvard University. Her research and teaching focus on art since 1960, with a special interest in performance in an expanded sense. Her book Being Watched: Yvonne Rainer and the 1960s was awarded the 2008 de la Torre prize for dance studies, and her writing has appeared in journals such as Artforum and Signs, and in October, of which she is an editor. Her current book project expands on the 2009 essay “Make-Believe: Parafiction and Plausibility” (October 129), considering what happens, aesthetically and ethically, when artists deceive their audiences, and why the presentation of fiction as fact—“parafiction,” in Lambert-Beatty’s term—has become a common tactic in contemporary art and culture.
Mike Levine has been an Acquisitions Editor at Northwestern University Press since 2007, following eight years as an editor at the Great Books Foundation. In addition to drama and theater and performance studies, he acquires in film studies, Slavic studies, fiction, and literature in translation. Among the authors with whom he has worked are Horton Foote, David Ives, and Mary Zimmerman. His books have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award and included in the Wall Street Journal’s Best Books of the Year (2013). He is also an instructor in the Seminars Program at the Newberry Library.
Dr. Susan Lee is the founding director of the Dance Program, former chair of the Department of Theatre, and founding director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts (CIRA). Her scholarship covers a range of research interests including lead author on dance for the Chicago Guide for Teaching and Learning in the Arts. She has also been an active Artistic Director and Presenter, co founder of the Jazz Dance World Congress and The First International Argentine Tango Congress. Her exhibition entitled Step by Step on the history of Dance at Northwestern University highlighted archival research and pieces from The Collected Dancer, a private collection of images of dance to be featured in a forthcoming virtual museum. She is a recipient of the Ruth Page Award for Outstanding Contribution to Dance, the Clarence Simon Teaching Award (NU), and the Presidents Award from NDEO. She is co-chair for Dance 2050 in Phoenix. 2015.
Tessie Liu is jointly appointed in the History Department and Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Northwestern. A specialist on France and empire, she recently completed a monograph on the French and Haitian Revolutions entitled A Frail Liberty: Anti-Racism and the Challenge of Universality. Having been a life long devotee and participant in modern concert dance, Tessie is making her first foray into academic dance studies in two current projects: one on beauty culture and the feminist sublime and another study on Martiniquican folk dance and jazz in the interwar Paris.
Ramón H. Rivera-Servera
Ramón H. Rivera-Servera’s research focuses on contemporary performance in North America and the Caribbean with special emphasis on the ways categories of race, gender, and sexuality are negotiated in the process of (im)migration. His work documents a wide array of performance practices ranging from theatre and concert dance to social dance, fashion, and speech.His teaching ranges from seminar courses on Latina/o and queer performance, sound and movement studies, and visual cultural studies to workshop courses on social art practices, the performances of non-fiction, ethnographic research methods, and performance art.
He is author of Performing Queer Latinidad: Dance, Sexuality, Politics (University of Michigan Press, 2012), a study of the role performance played in the development of Latina/o queer publics in the United States from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. The book received the 2013 Lambda Book Award in the LGBT Studies, the 2013 Book Award from the Latino Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association, the 2013 Outstanding Publication Award from the Congress on Research in Dance, a Special Citation for the 2012 de la Torre Bueno Book Prize in Dance Studies from the Society of Dance History Scholars, and the 2014 Honorable Mention for the Best Book Award from the Association of Latina/o Anthropologists at the American Anthropological Association.
He is currently conducting research for two book projects: Exhibiting Performance: Race, Museum Cultures, and the Live Event, which looks at the ways race has been collected and exhibited in North America and the Caribbean since the mid-1990s and Choreographing the Latina/o Post-Modern: Puerto Rican Moves in the New York Dance Avant-Garde, a cultural history of Puerto Rican participation in the New York City experimental dance scene since the 1980s.
Joel Valentín-Martínez was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He initiated his theater/dance training at American Conservatory Theater, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, Rosa Montoya’s Bailes Flamencos, Oakland’s Dimensions Dance Theatre, and San Francisco State University. From 1990-2003, he was a member of Garth Fagan Dance (Tony Award Winner) and toured with the troupe throughout the United States, Canada, the Middle East, Europe, Australia, South America, and the Caribbean. Since 2003, Mr. Valentín-Martínez has devoted his time to teaching at the university level and developing his own choreography projects. His work with Fulcrum Point-New Music Project, Misplaced Flowers (2010) and Tlatelolco Revisited (2008) were both commissioned by Luna Negra Dance Theater and premiered at the Harris Theater in Chicago. He choreographed the musical adaptation of Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street (2009) at the Steppenwolf Theatre. He has developed choreography for the Joel Hall Dancers and John Jota Leaños’ multi-media performance Imperial Silence: Una Ópera Muerta (2008), which has been performed at El Museo del Barrio in New York City, throughout California, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Valentín-Martínez is also the Artistic Director of Valentín Projects. He is currently a Distinguished Senior Lecturer and Dance Program Director, in the Theatre Department at Northwestern University. Prior to joining Northwestern, he taught dance at Arizona State University and the University of Rochester. Valentín-Martínez earned a B.A. in Dance Studies from the State University of New York and an M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Panel on Chicago Dance History
Alison Hinderliter is the Manuscripts and Archives Librarian at the Newberry. Along with managing the metadata for The Newberry’s manuscripts collections, she has worked on a variety of major archival collections, including the Newberry Library Archives, The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company Records, the Illinois Central Railroad Company Records, and The Ann Barzel Dance Research Collection. Since 2001 her work at the Newberry has focused on making all of their manuscript materials accessible to the public through processing and creating finding aids. She has been an archivist in Chicago for over 20 years, working for the Chicago History Museum, The Chicago Public Library, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Old Town School of Folk Music. She holds a B.A. in English from Oberlin College and an M.L.I.S. from the University of California-Berkeley.
Meida Teresa McNeal is an Independent Artist and Scholar of performance studies, dance and critical ethnography. Dr. McNeal works with the Chicago Park District as Arts & Culture Manager supporting partnerships and programming initiatives across the city’s parks and cultural centers. She is also faculty in Interdisciplinary Arts at Columbia College Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Education. She serves as Artistic Director of Honey Pot Performance, an Afro-diasporic multidisciplinary performance ensemble committed to chronicling and interrogating feminist and fringe subjectivities amidst the pressures of contemporary global life. Recent performance projects include The Ladies Ring Shout, The Sweet Goddess Project, Price Point, and Juke Cry Hand Clap: A People’s History of House & Chicago Social Culture. HPP are currently 2015 Crossing Boundaries artists-in-residence at the Washington Park Arts Incubator, part of the Arts & Public Life Initiative at the University of Chicago.
Onye Ozuzu is a dance administrator, performing artist, choreographer, educator and researcher currently serving as Chair of the Dance Department at Columbia College Chicago. Her administrative work is notable for a balance of visionary and deliberate progress in the arenas of curricular, artistic, and systemic diversity, cultural relativity, collaboration and inter-disciplinarity. She has been actively presenting work since 1997. Her work has been seen nationally and internationally at The Joyce Soho (Manhattan, NY), Kaay Fecc Festival Des Tous les Danses (Dakar, Senegal), La Festival del Caribe (Santiago, Cuba), Lisner Auditorium (Washington DC), McKenna Museum of African American Art (New Orleans, LA), as well as many anonymous site-specific locations. Only 3 years in Chicago so far she has performed locally at Hamlin Park Summer Sampler, with Red Clay Dance in La Femme, and in the Afro-Latin@ Summer Dance Intensive at Columbia College Chicago. She has recently been Artist in Residence at EarthDance Workshop and Retreat Center, Bates Dance Festival and Chulitna Wilderness Lodge and Retreat and Camp Merveilles. She currently working on a commission by Links Hall Constellation in collaboration with jazz composer Greg Ward to premier a new work of live dance and music performance in honor of Charles Mingus’ album “The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady”. The work is scheduled for performance as a part of Made in Chicago at the Pritzger Auditorium August 13, 2015.
Jenai Cutcher West
Jenai Cutcher West is a dancer, journalist, and teacher who recently moved to Chicago to direct the Chicago Dance History Project, which aims to investigate, preserve, and present the oral and corporeal histories of dance in the city. She has performed internationally as a soloist and with choreographers such as Brenda Bufalino, Michelle Dorrance, Barbara Duffy, John Giffin, Savion Glover, Derick Grant, Max Pollak, and Lynn Schwab. Jenai has written articles for several dance publications, three dance books for children, and Columbus Moves: A Brief History of Contemporary Dance. Her first documentary, Thinking On Their Feet: Women of the Tap Renaissance, screened at The Wexner Center for the Arts, Southern Utah International Film Festival, and Newfilmmakers Film Festival in New York and her recent digital video collaboration with Emily Coates and Sarah Demers will soon screen at the Guggenheim. Jenai has an MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University.
Mellon Dance Studies Postdocs
Joanna Dee Das
Joanna Dee Das, who received her PhD in history from Columbia University, is the 2014-15 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies in/and the Humanities at Stanford University. In the fall of 2015, she will join the dance department at Williams College, first as a postdoctoral fellow and then as an assistant professor in July 2016. Her research interests include African diasporic dance, musical theater, and urban cultural policy. Her book manuscript, Katherine Dunham: Dance and the Creation of Diaspora is under contract with Oxford University Press, and she is working on an article about dancing “Dahomey” in the Broadway musicals In Dahomey and Show Boat. Dee Das is also committed to bringing dialogue about dance to a wider public. During her time at Stanford, she instituted the Stanford Colloquium on Dance Studies, a space for dance scholars, students, performance curators, practitioners, and critics in the San Francisco Bay Area to engage in thoughtful conversations about new directions in dance research (stanforddancestudies.wordpress.com). The previous year, she co-curated the exhibit “American Ballet Theatre: Touring the Globe for Seventy-Five Years” at the Library of Congress. She is a certification candidate in Dunham Technique and in a previous life, worked as a professional dancer and choreographer in New York City, where she performed at Dance Theater Workshop (now NYLA), the Cunningham Studio, WAXWorks, DanceNow/NYC, and Yale Summer Cabaret.
Amanda Jane Graham is the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies at Northwestern University, where she teaches between Dance, Art History, and the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. Graham has her MA and PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester, a MA in Communication and Culture from York University, and a MS in Education from Brooklyn College. Graham’s dissertation, “The Myth of Movement: Trisha Brown and Lucinda Childs Dancing on the New York City Grid, 1970-1980” examines post-Judson site-situated choreography representative of Manhattan’s shifting economic, political, and architectural landscape. Derived from her dissertation, Graham’s current book project Dance on Display: A Performance History of the Visual Art Museum investigates dance’s ambivalent history with art museums (1930-present). She has published articles on dance, visual art, and culture and media in academic journals including Dance Chronicle, Latin American Perspectives, and InVisible Culture.
Noémie Solomon is Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow in Dance Studies at Brown University, where she teaches in the Theater Arts and Performance Studies department. Previously, she was Mellon Postdoctoral fellow in the English department at McGill University. She holds a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University where her dissertation, Unworking the Dance Subject, was awarded the Michael Kirby Memorial Prize for Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation in 2012. She edited DANSE: An Anthology and A Catalogue, which gather key texts on contemporary choreography across French and English languages (Les Presses du réel, 2014; 2015). She initiated and collaborated on a series of dramaturgical and curatorial initiatives in the dance field internationally, including: Dance on Time (iDANS, Istanbul, 2009); Self-Methodologies (Tanzquartier, Vienna, 2011); the Photomusée de la danse (Festival d’Avignon, 2011); Solos and Solitudes (Danspace Project, NYC, 2012-13); Dancing is talking / Talking is dancing (MoMA PS1, NYC, 2014).
Mellon Dance Studies Alumnae Fellows
Takiyah Nur Amin
Takiyah Nur Amin, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Dance Studies and affiliate faculty in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her research and teaching interests include Black performance and aesthetics, Black feminist thought and activism, 20th century American concert dance and pedagogical issues in dance studies. Her forthcoming book project explores the work of black women choreographers during the height of the US-based black power and black arts movements. Dr. Amin is a member of the Board of Directors for the Congress on Research in Dance CORD,) co-founder of CORD’s Diversity Working Group and a founding member of the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance (CADD.) She has served as a reviewer for Oxford University Press, Dance Research Journal and Dance Chronicle and is the host of the Dance Channel on the New Books Network.
Clare Croft is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dance at the University of Michigan, where she is a dance historian, performance theorist, and dramaturg. Croft is the author of the recently published book, Dancers as Diplomats: American Choreography in Cultural Exchange (Oxford University Press 2015). She is currently at work on the hybrid print/Web/performance project, Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance. Clare’s work in creative practice includes serving as a dramaturg and documentarian of creative practice; current collaborators include artists Thomas DeFrantz & SLIPPAGE, Jennifer Monson, and Andee Scott. Before joining the faculty at Michigan, Clare was a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Michigan. She holds PhD in Performance as Public Practice from the University of Texas-Austin.
Emily Wilcox is assistant professor of modern Chinese studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on dance in the People’s Republic of China and the role of anti-colonial movements in global twentieth century dance history. Currently, she is the recipient of a Humanities Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies for her book project National Movements: Socialist Postcoloniality and the Making of Chinese Dance. She is also working on a co-edited anthology titled Dancing Global East Asia and is curator of a new digital humanities dance image collection “Pioneers of Chinese Dance” sponsored by the University of Michigan Asia Library. Emily’s publications appear in Asian Theatre Journal, TDR, Body and Society, Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, and other venues. She is a Board Member of the Society for Dance History Scholars and president-elect of the Association for Asian Performance.
Mellon Dance Studies Summer Seminar 2015 Class
Jennifer Aubrecht is a doctoral candidate in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Her dissertation examines the influence of yoga on the development of American modern dance, and suggests that yoga as movement practice and philosophy is deeply interconnected with the goals of modern dance in the United States. Additional research interests include how the use of yoga and other physical culture practices as tools for developing an ideal body have changed over time, the politics of appropriation, and the sexualization of yoga. A certified yoga instructor, Aubrecht also holds a BA in Dance and English from the University of Minnesota.
Rebecca Chaleff is a doctoral candidate in the department of Theater & Performance Studies at Stanford University, minoring in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her scholarship explores how temporal structures open new spaces for affective resonance within dance performance, particularly in relation to constructions of legacy. Rebecca has shared her research and performance work at ASTR, PSi19, the Critically Kinesthetic Symposium, and the Dance Discourse Project, and she has published several performance reviews in Performance Research. As a dancer, she is currently a member of GERALDCASELDANCE and Molissa Fenley and Company.
Alison D’Amato is a Ph.D. candidate in UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, where her dissertation focuses on choreographic scores. In particular, she looks to generative and indeterminate scoring to address relationships between choreography, inscription, agency and archival. She also holds a BA in Philosophy from Haverford College and an MA from Trinity Laban, for which she was awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholarship. Her choreographic work has been presented in Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, the UK, and Poland. Her writing on performance can be found in Choreographic Practices, Itch Dance Journal, and Native Strategies.
Kathryn Dickason is a doctoral candidate in Religious Studies at Stanford University. She focuses on western medieval Christianity (c. 1200-1450), with particular interests in embodiment, performance, iconography, gender, early dance history, and medievalism. Currently she is writing a dissertation on the religious ambivalence of dance in the Middle Ages. Her publications (past and forthcoming) appear in Dance Chronicle, Dance Research Journal, Proceedings of the Society of Dance History Scholars, Journal of Anglican and Episcopal History, European Drama and Performance Studies, as well as edited volumes on performance and gender under contract with Boydell and Oxford University Presses.
Mana Hayakawa is a Ph.D. candidate in the Culture and Performance program in the Department of World Arts & Cultures/ Dance at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research examines Asian American dancers of the 1930s to 1960s and looks at cross-race performances in the context of war, imperialism and national building. Her dissertation project focuses on how Japanese American dancers negotiated shifting terms of race, gender and citizenship prior to, during and following WWII mass incarceration. Mana holds a B.A. in American Studies and a M.Ed. in Social Justice Education. In her capacity as an educator and student affairs professional she has worked at UCLA, Stanford University, Pomona College, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Mt. Holyoke College.
Colleen Hooper is a Temple University Dance PhD Fellowship recipient and she holds a B.A. in Dance and English from George Washington University and a M.F.A. in Dance from Temple University. Her research focuses on how dance functions as public service and she is writing about dancers funded by the Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA) from 1974-1982. She received the 2013 Edrie Ferdun Award for Scholarly Achievement and her choreography has been presented in New York City, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee. She serves as the Dance Research Journal Editorial Assistant and is a Graduate Student Representative to the SDHS Board of Directors.
Yasmine Marie Jahanmir is a Chancellor’s fellow and doctoral candidate in the Department of Theater and Dance, with an emphasis in Feminist Studies, at UC-Santa Barbara. A lifelong synchronized swimmer, her dissertation “Bathing Beauties: Gender, Nationalism, and Parody in Theatrical and Competitive Synchronized Swimming” identifies synchronized swimming as an important nexus of feminine labor, nationalist spectacle, and bodily display in American popular culture. She published a chapter in The Living Dance: An Anthology of Essays on Movement and Culture. She holds an MA in Performance Studies from NYU and a BA in Theater and Performance Studies from UC-Berkeley.
Adanna Kai Jones
Adanna Kai Jones is currently in her final year of the Critical Dance Studies PhD program at the University of California, Riverside (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 NJ and NYC, including Julia Ritter Performance Group and Souloworks with Andrea E. Woods. Currently, she is completing her dissertation on the contentious ways winin’ (a rolling hip dance) mediates Trinidadian and Caribbean identities within the US Diaspora.
Evadne Kelly is an artist-scholar with a PhD in Dance Studies from York University. Evadne has written, presented, and published on topics relevant to the fields of anthropology and dance studies with a particular focus on danced experience and expression as a source of social change. Her current research centers on the political and social dimensions of trans-locally performed Fijian dance traditions. For this research, she received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Scholarship. Evadne’s research builds on her 20 years of professional experience as a performer, teacher, and rehearsal director for celebrated neo-expressionist Canadian choreographer, David Earle.
Pamela Krayenbuhl is a Mellon Interdisciplinary Fellow and Ph.D. candidate in Screen Cultures at Northwestern University. She holds an M.A. in Screen Cultures and a Graduate Certificate in Critical Theory from Northwestern and a B.A. in Rhetoric and Interdisciplinary Studies from UC Berkeley. Her dissertation examines the intersection of dance cultures with commercial film & television cultures in midcentury America, focusing in particular on issues of race and masculinity. Pamela choreographs and dances for Modet Dance Collective, which she cofounded in 2013. She is also currently the archivist and cataloguer of the Ruth Page Collection at the Chicago Film Archives.
Esther Viola Kurtz is a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at Brown University whose research focuses on the cultivation of embodied knowledge in capoeira Angola, the Afro-Brazilian fight-dance-game. Her dissertation will explore how participation in this musical and bodily Afro-diasporic practice raises social and political consciousness. She earned a BM from Eastman School of Music and a MM from the Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands. As an oboist, she has played improvised and experimental music and Brazilian choro and co-produced the community-oriented Junk Kitchen concert series in Cambridge, MA. Esther has trained and played capoeira throughout Europe, Brazil, and the U.S.
Mario LaMothe is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Interdisciplinary Sexuality Studies at Duke University’s Women’s Studies Program. He received a doctorate in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Mario began dance studies in Haiti. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts and French from Boston College, and a certificate of dance from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. Mario also earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Performing Arts Management from Brooklyn College. Additionally, he has worked as a MSM (Men who Have Sex with Men) health educator and rights advocate in Haiti since 2011. Mario’s research interests focus on critical dance ethnography and theories of performance, African diaspora cultures and Caribbean performance traditions. His writing has appeared in L’imparfaite (Paris, France), and New York University’s peer-reviewed online journal e-misférica. Mario is also a performing artist, arts manager, and LGBTQ activist.
Lizzie Leopold is a PhD candidate in Northwestern University’s Interdisciplinary PhD in Theater and Drama program. Her dissertation, Commodifying Choreography, looks at licensing and appraisal practices in western concert dance. She holds a BFA in dance from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Performance Studies from New York University. She is also a choreographer and the artistic director of Chicago-based modern dance company the Leopold Group. Leopold serves on the board of the Congress on Research in Dance as graduate representative, and on the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theater, and Dance Alumni Board of Governors.
Meryl Lauer Lodge
Meryl Lauer Lodge is a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at the University of Minnesota and a Mellon fellow at Minnesota’s Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change. She holds a B.A. in dance from Barnard College. Currently, Meryl is conducting ethnographic fieldwork for her dissertation, “Performances of Privilege: The Practice of Politics in South African Ballet.” Drawing from critical race theory, postcolonial studies, dance studies, and anthropology, her research tracks the intersections of political and dancing bodies from studio to stage.
Nan Ma is currently finishing her dissertation “Dancing into Modernity and Socialism: Kinesthesia, Narrative, and Revolutions in China (1900-1970)” and getting her Ph.D. at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has taught at Swarthmore College for about two year. She taught advanced courses on transmedia studies of modern Chinese dance, cross-listed under Literature, Asian Studies, and Dance programs. In Spring 2015, she taught the senior colloquium on “Performance and Politics of Space in Contemporary Chinese Documentary Film.” Her research focuses on Chinese dance performances and visual cultural studies. From Fall 2015, Nan Ma will teach at Dickinson College as an assistant professor.
Originally from San Francisco, Dr. Nyama McCarthy-Brown is an Assistant Professor of Contemporary Dance at Indiana University, in the Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance. She completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at Bowdoin College where she also served as a Visiting Professor. She was awarded the Future Faculty Fellowship from Temple University, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2007. At Temple, she completed her doctorate in Dance Studies. Recent publications include, Decolonizing Dance Curriculum in High Education: One Credit at a Time, and Poverty of Diverse Dance Readings. Committed to at-risk youths, Nyama taught dance in public schools from 1999-2011.
Elliot Gordon Mercer
Elliot Gordon Mercer is a dancer, dance notator, and Ph.D. candidate in the Interdisciplinary Program in Theatre and Drama at Northwestern University. His research focuses on documentary practices in dance as well as the development of choreographic legacy plans. Elliot’s dissertation examines issues of preservation and reconstruction in American post-modern dance through an analysis of the choreographic practices of Anna Halprin, Lucinda Childs, Yvonne Rainer, and Laura Dean. Elliot received a B.A. from the Liberal Education for Arts Professionals (LEAP) program at St. Mary’s College of California and an M.A. in performance studies from New York University.
Megan Metcalf is a PhD candidate in UCLA’s Department of Art History, specializing in contemporary art. Her dissertation provides historical context for the art world’s recent interest in dance, addressing the appearances of artists such as Merce Cunningham, Simone Forti, and Trisha Brown in art museums in the US and Europe over the last half-century. Megan’s research builds on her experience as a dancer: her approach to the dissertation and other projects has included courses with Simone Forti, Yvonne Rainer, Deborah Hay, and Anna Halprin, among others. Additional research areas include performance art, participatory practices, “new media,” and experimental music and theater.
Dr Royona Mitra is a Lecturer in Theatre at Brunel University London, UK where she teaches physical theatre, intercultural performance and critical theory. Her monograph Akram Khan: Dancing New Interculturalism is due for publication in May 2015 with Palgrave Macmillan, and is the first book length project to examine the works of this seminal British-Asian artist. She has published on body, sexuality and identity in Dance Research Journal, Feminist Review, Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory and contributed book chapters to several edited volumes on body, culture and identity.
Hodel Ophir (Ph.D. Sociology of Education, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) is a dance educator and researcher. Her dissertation explored the work and experiences of dance teachers in Israel in negotiating conditions of late modernity, and her current research focuses on Palestinian dance teachers in Israel as “dancing between cultures”, maneuvering between Western aesthetics and values, and a traditional Arab society which holds an ambivalent relationship with dance and the body. Hodel is currently working on a joint manuscript for a book, while teaching at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the David Yellin College of Education.
Meghan Quinlan is a PhD candidate in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Her dissertation uses the case study of Gaga – the movement language developed by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin – to explore politics embedded in contemporary dance training, such as the racialization of the term ‘technique’, dance as cultural diplomacy, and the training of dancers as global citizens in the era of neoliberalism. Quinlan is a Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellow and Gluck Fellow at UCR, and holds a BA in Dance and English from Marymount Manhattan College. Her research interests include physical cultures, modernism, nationalism, and Israel/Palestine studies.
Jennie Scholick is a Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles and holds a B.A from Princeton University. Working at the intersection of literary, dance, and Cold War studies, she studies the 20th century’s long-standing relationships between dance, poetry, and politics, particularly as they mutated under the pressures of the nuclear age. Her dissertation explores the increasingly important position of modern(ist) ballet, specifically as defined by the choreographers and writers working in and around the New York City Ballet, in the crafting of America’s self-image in the years following World War II.
Arabella Stanger is Lecturer in Dance at the University of Roehampton, London. She holds a PhD in Theatre and Performance from Goldsmiths, University of London, an MA in Performance and Culture from Goldsmiths, and a BA in Classical Studies and English from King’s College London, before which she trained professionally in ballet and contemporary dance. Arabella’s research investigates choreography as cultural practice across the fields of dance, theatre, and performance. She is published by Oxford University Press, the Journal of Black Mountain College Studies, and New Theatre Quarterly, and is currently preparing a monograph on the politics of choreographic space.
Maeve Sterbenz is a PhD candidate in music theory at Columbia University, where she is currently working on her dissertation, entitled “Moving with Music: Approaches to the Analysis of Music-Movement Interactions.” Maeve studies a diverse range of dance and music genres including ballet, modern, and hip hop, focusing on the ways in which the dancing body brings out particular musical experiences. In addition to her academic study of interactions between music and dance, Maeve has forged artistic collaborations with modern dancers, composing music and creating interactive musical environments for dance.
Raegan Truax works broadly across the disciplines of performance, dance, art history, gender and sexuality studies, and visual culture. In her dissertation, Truax traces a multi-national constellation of durational performance as a genre with its own strategies and practices. Truax holds an MA in Humanities and Social Thought with a concentration in Gender Politics from Draper Interdisciplinary Program at NYU and an MA in Performance Studies from NYU. She received The Leigh George Odom Memorial Award for Distinguished Master’s Student from NYU’s Department of Performance Studies in 2011 and The Shannon McGee Prize in Women Studies in 2002. Truax’s performances have been featured by the Marina Abramovic Institute and presented at Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik (ZKU), Berlin Art Week and grüntaler9 in Berlin, SOMarts and the Performance Arts Institute in San Francisco, The NorCal Performance Platform, Performance Studies International, and Centro Negra in Blanca Spain.
Giulia Vittori is a PhD student in Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University. In 2007 she graduated with a master thesis on Robert Wilson from the department of Theater at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, Italy. Her research studies the phenomenology of the experience of the performer’s gesture across theatre, dance, painting, and photography in contemporary performance. Her believe in the complementary sides of theory and practice brought her to adopt performance-as-research methodologies in her pedagogical and artistic projects. Her work as a performer and director includes site-specific performance, devised theatre, choreography, and solo performance.
Tara Aisha Willis
Tara Aisha Willis is a dance artist and PhD candidate in Performance Studies at New York University, where she theorizes the work of black choreographers through experimental dance genealogies and black feminisms. She is Co-Managing Editor of TDR/The Drama Review, an editorial collective member of Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, co-editor of a forthcoming issue of The Black Scholar on African diaspora dance with Thomas F. DeFrantz, and a summer Thesis Writing Mentor for Hollins University Dance MFA’s. She coordinates the Artists of Color Program for Movement Research; her writing will appear in Movement Research Performance Journal #46. Tara was a 2009 Dance Theater Workshop Van Lier Fellow and her choreographic work has been shown in various NYC theaters, kitchens, churches, studios, galleries, and lofts. In 2015 she is performing in projects with Kim Brandt, Megan Byrne, and Emily Johnson.
Soo Ryon Yoon
Soo Ryon Yoon is a PhD candidate in Performance Studies, Northwestern University. Her dissertation Dancing Africa, (Un)Doing Koreanness: The Circulation of “African Culture” in Contemporary South Korea investigates how South Korea’s new racial politics, multiculturalism, and nationalism are both consolidated and deconstructed through the practices and reception of “African” performances in the contemporary global era. She has served the Interdisciplinary Asian Studies Graduate Student Group and the Colloquium on Ethnicity and Diaspora as the co-chair. Before coming to Northwestern, she worked as a curator, translator, and research assistant for performing arts organizations in South Korea including the SIDance and KAMS.
Queen Meccasia Zabriskie
Queen Meccasia Zabriskie is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at New College of Florida. Her research and teaching interests include: race, class, and gender; the sociology of dance; the sociology of culture; performance theory and practice; social inequality; qualitative methods; and culture and performance politics in the African/Black Diaspora. Zabriskie is co-author of Black Theater is Black Life: An Oral History of Chicago Theater and Dance, 1970-2010, which traces the development of Black theater and dance communities in Chicago. A choreographer, performer, and scholar, Zabriskie has presented her artistry and scholarship in numerous cities around the U.S. and internationally.
Ying Zhu is an Assistant Professor of Dance in the School of Theatre and Dance and an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities and Cultural Studies at the University of South Florida. She holds a Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies from the University of California, Riverside. Her scholarly interests converge at the intersection of bodies, space, architecture, and memory. She is presently at work on a book project using the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as a case study to consider the body, as a complicating factor, in processes of national, collective memorialization. As a professional dancer, Ying has worked with Ann Carlson, Maedée Duprès, a founder of London’s X6 Collective, KC Chun-Manning and Angie Simmons of Evolving Doors Dance.