The Third Annual Stanford Colloquium on Dance Studies, 2016-17
Dance on the Move: Migration, Border Zones, and Citizenship
Organized by Heather Rastovac Akbarzadeh, 2016-18 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies in/and the Humanities at Stanford.
All events are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. To join the Colloquium’s mailing list, contact Heather Rastovac Akbarzadeh: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Stanford Colloquium on Dance Studies is sponsored by the Mellon “Dance Studies in/and the Humanities” initiative and is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Co-sponsors include the Stanford Humanities Center, Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity, Institute for Diversity in the Arts, Center for South Asia, Center for Latin American Studies, Stanford Global Studies, Clayman Center for Gender Research, and the Feminisms+Queerings working group. Administrative support provided by the Department of Theater & Performance Studies.
Since the beginnings of British South Asian dance in the 1990s, South Asian choreographers have looked to India to fill a gap in the British dance labor market. Drawing on fieldwork in London and Bangalore, this performative lecture examines the intimate lives and experiences of some of these migrant Indian dancers and the way in which they have been mobilized by global political and economic processes. Bodies, however, do not flow as easily as goods and capital. Neoliberal economic ideologies of free trade and the free movement of labor are in tension with anti-immigrant agendas and increasingly narrow notions of British citizenship, particularly since the terrorist attacks in London in 2005. Simultaneously mobilized and blocked, migrant Indian dancers reveal the contradictions of global capitalism as well as the new imaginative practices and new transnational subjectivities that are emerging at these sites of friction. Through dancerly tactics – de-centering, re-routing, stretching – they navigate uncertain economic times and increasingly precarious and temporary work regimes, negotiate personal relationships and family obligations, secure financial independence, and sustain dynamic careers. In doing so, they have found ways to circulate within a racialized and uneven global political economy that seeks to restrict and regulate their movements at every step.
Anusha Kedhar is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Colorado College. Her current book project, titledFlexible Bodies: British South Asian Dancers in an Age of Neoliberal Precarity, examines British South Asian dancers in the late 20th and early 21st century and the creative ways in which these dancers negotiate precarious racial, economic, and national identity positions through flexible bodily tactics. Her scholarly writing has been published by Dance Research Journal, The Feminist Wire, and The New York Times. Kedhar is also an established artist and choreographer, and has worked with various contemporary South Asian choreographers in the US and Europe, including Subathra Subramaniam (London), Mayuri Boonham (London), Mavin Khoo (London/Malta), Johanna Devi (Berlin), Cynthia Ling Lee (Los Angeles), and Meena Murugesan (Los Angeles).
What’s Left – Stories of Movement and Migration
Priya Srinivasan, Ph.D. – Independent Scholar
Natalie Zervou, Ph.D. – Lecturer in Dance, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Hannah Schwadron, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor of Dance History, Florida State University
What’s Left is an international, multimedia collaboration on Skype, phone, and FaceTime zoom to explore the issues around migration, involuntary movement, and what gets left behind in the process. The performance piece involves structured improvisation, playback dance, postmodern storytelling, and audience interaction and involvement in order to pay attention to the crisis of the movement of bodies through borders. Which bodies get to move and when? Whose stories are told and how? What is left? The piece plays with different kinds of time that are imprinted on our bodies: mythological time, historical time, the present and the future.
Priya Srinivasan is a dance scholar and performer who merges dance, immigration law, ethnography, history, critical race theory, performance, and post-colonial studies to investigate the embodied experience of Indian dance. She has lived and performed in Chennai, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Chicago, Shanghai, and more recently in The Hague and Amsterdam. She continues to work as an experimental dance/theatre artist who uses Indian performance practices to understand the effects of migration, history, and power on gendered bodies. She has presented excerpts of her award-winning book Sweating Saris: Indian Dance as Transnational Labor in the hybrid form of “talking dances” at the University of Chicago, University of California, Berkeley, Northwestern University, and Harvard University. She is a Visiting Associate Professor at UC Riverside in Dance, and Fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Srinivasan has a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University; an M.A. in Dance from UCLA, and a First Class Honors in Ethnomusicology from Monash University. She also received the Gertrude Lippincott Award in 2008, which is given by the Society of Dance History Scholars for the best English-language article published in dance studies.
Natalie Zervou is a Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin, Madison Dance Department. She holds a Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies from the University of California, Riverside, an MA in Dance Cultures: Histories and Practices from the University of Surrey (UK), a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Athens (Greece), and a Diploma in Dance and Dance Pedagogy from the Higher Professional Dance School Morianova Trasta (Greece). Her research focuses on dance practices during the recent sociopolitical and financial crisis in Greece and explores the ways that performances engage with the current European refugee crisis and respond to the shifting social landscape. Her choreographic work revolves around questions of belonging and migration and has been presented in Athens (Greece), Surrey (UK), Riverside, CA (USA), and Amsterdam (Netherlands). Her publications include: “Bodies of Silence and Resilience: Writing Marginality,” Congress on Research in Dance Conference Proceedings, 2015, pp 174-181 and “Appropriations of Hellenism: A Reconsideration of Early Twentieth-Century American Physical Culture Practices,” CHOROS International Dance Journal, 3 (Spring 2014), pp. 50–68. Zervou also has two forthcoming articles: “Fragments of the European Refugee Crisis: Performing Displacement and the Re-Shaping of Greek Identity” that will be included in an upcoming issue of TDR, and “Rethinking Fragile Landscapes during the Greek Crisis: Precarious Aesthetics and Methodologies in Athenian Dance Performances” that is forthcoming in RiDE (Research in Drama Education) in February 2017. http://www.nataliezervou.com
Hannah Schwadron is Assistant Professor of Dance at Florida State University. She holds a Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies and M.F.A. in Experimental Choreography from the University of California, Riverside. Her research focuses on dance, Jewishness, and gender and she is currently preparing a book for publication, entitled The Case of the Sexy Jewess: Dance, Gender and Jewish Joke-work in US Pop Culture (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). She continues to choreograph and perform on related themes, and has shown work in intimate venues nationally and internationally. She organizes Field Studies, a creative development lab in NYC, that brings together dance artists and scholars to workshop independent and collaborative projects through writing and performance, and extends these intersections into her approach to coursework at the undergraduate and graduate level. http://www.hannahschwadrondance.com
“The Fandango Fronterizo: Moving Borders and Son Jarocho’s Speaking and Space-Making Bodies”
Lecture with Jade Power Sotomayor, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts, Univ. of Washington, Bothell
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2017
5:30pm – 7:00pm
Roble Gym Room 139, Stanford University
This presentation examines the politics of movement at the Fandango Fronterizo, an annual bi-national son jarocho event that takes place on both sides of the Tijuana/San Isidro border. Dr. Power Sotomayor engages indigenous scholarship on embodied sovereignty to make sense of this embodied music making as a political gesture that challenges and defies the borders imposed by colonial powers. Furthermore, she examines the way that corporeal blackness circulates both as a contestation to the historical erasure of blackness in discourses about Mexico, as well as a valuable signifier of resistance and liberation that, sometimes troublingly so, relies on the construction of black difference and the further bordering of identities.
Jade Power Sotomayor is an Assistant Professor in Interdisciplinary Arts at the University of Washington, Bothell. As a code-switching, hyphen-jumping, border-crossing, Cali-Rican educator, dancer, actor and scholar of performance, Dr. Power Sotomayor engages embodied practices of remembering and creating community as a lens for theorizing performative constructions of Latinidad. Her research focuses on epistemologies of the body, the intersections between race, gender and language, and on inter-cultural performance in the Latin Caribbean diaspora. Her book project ¡Habla!: Speaking Bodies in Latinx Dance and Performance examines what she calls the “speaking body” in various sites of performance (solo-performance, Puerto Rican bomba, Mexican son jarocho) and its relationship to the politics of race and ethnicity, to bilingualism and to communities of belonging as constituted through doing versus being. She has recently started research on the experiences of women of color who teach Zumba, and the dancing of a Latinidad that variously cites and appropriates brownness and blackness through complex circuits of embodied signification.
A performance-lecture by Cynthia Ling Lee
Assistant Professor of Dance, UC Santa Cruz
Thursday, December 1, 2016
5:30pm – 7:00pm
Prosser Theater / Memorial Auditorium
Free and open to the public
Cynthia Ling Lee will present a lecture-performance on her newest solo show, blood run, a work that asks what hidden histories are contained in the body, while poignantly acknowledging the impossibility of fully reclaiming what has been lost. blood run investigates Lee’s Han Chinese colonizer and Taiwanese plains indigenous heritages within the context of larger political histories, asking: “What is the difference between an immigrant and a colonizer?” “How do the colonizer and colonized live inside the same body?” “When does survival require disappearance?” Combining critical theorization with performing excerpts of the show, Lee will discuss blood run’s development as part of the Post Natyam Collective’s long-distance process, Reimagining Citizenship. She will also address their newest project, Resurfacing Borders, on borders, migration, and citizenship. The Post Natyam Collective is a transnational, web-based coalition of dance artists whose work triangulates between theory, art-making, and activism.
Cynthia Ling Lee creates choreography and scholarship that instigate postcolonial, queer, and feminist-of-color interventions in the field of experimental body-based performance. Trained in US postmodern dance and North Indian classical kathak, she is committed to intimate collaborative processes and foregrounding marginalized voices and aesthetics. Her interdisciplinary performance work has been presented at venues such as Dance Theater Workshop (New York), REDCAT (Los Angeles), East West Players (Los Angeles), Taman Ismail Marzuki (Jakarta), Kuandu Arts Festival (Taipei), IGNITE! Festival of Contemporary Dance (New Delhi), and Chandra-Mandapa: Spaces (Chennai). Cynthia was the recipient of a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, an Asia-Pacific Performing Arts Exchange Fellowship, and a Taipei Artist Village Residency. Recent publications include a case study in Dance Education Around the World: Perspectives on Dance, Young People and Change (Routledge) and co-written articles with Sandra Chatterjee in Feminist Media: Participatory Spaces, Networks and Cultural Citizenship (eds. Elke Zobl and Ricarda Drüeke), Studies in South Asian Film and Media, and Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance, ed. Clare Croft (Oxford University Press, anticipated publication date Fall 2017). Influential teachers and mentors include Simone Forti, Eiko & Koma, Judy Mitoma, Pallabi Chakravorty, Bandana Sen, Kumudini Lakhia, Anjani Ambegaokar, and the contact improvisation community. Cynthia is a member of the Post Natyam Collective, a board member of the Network of Ensemble Theaters, and an assistant professor of dance in the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of California at Santa Cruz. www.cynthialinglee.com
Excerpts from blood run:
“Finding Intimacy at the Borders of Fatalism:
When Winin’ Becomes a Crime Scene”
Adanna Kai Jones, Ph.D.
Visiting Faculty in Dance, Stanford University
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
5:30pm – 7:00pm
139 Roble Gym, Stanford University
How does the performing pleasure during this year’s (2016) pre-Carnival, J’Ouvert festivities in Brooklyn, NY complicate how we understand anti-black violence and #BlackLivesMatter? The sweaty labor produced by the very act of rolling one’s hips and winin’ dong di streets fuh J’Ouvert reveal the intimately microscopic ways in which winers navigate the colliding politics of pleasure, gun-violence, and state policing. As winers take up public space in a foreign place—namely a place that recognizes or presents their winin’ bodies as in but not of that nation—their rolling production of sweat remain rooted to a bodily logic (i.e. winin’) that reads as fatalistic. Dr. Jones argues that “[…] winin’s association with sexual play leaves especially the female winer vulnerable to depictions of fatalism, nihilism, and ultimate tragedy (e.g., beliefs that skilled female winers are prone to prostitution, out-of-wedlock motherhood, or sexual violence).” In effect, this further positions them within and along the interstices and borders of contesting feelings of blackness, contesting uses of pleasure, as well as contesting performances of (trans)nationhood, or rather a sense of belonging. Ultimately, this talk attends to the unsettling link between violence, pleasure, and blackness, as it is navigated by the dancing body.
About the Presenter:
Adanna Kai Jones received her Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside, and her BFA in Dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts—Rutgers University. She has performed in professional dance companies based in NYC, including the Julia Ritter Performance Group and Souloworks with Andrea E. Woods. In general, her research remains focused on Caribbean dance and identity politics within the Diaspora, paying particular focus to the rolling hip dance known as winin’. She has published the chapter “Can Rihanna Have Her Cake And Eat It Too?” in The Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies, which became the point of discussion for a roundtable conversation hosted by the Oxford Comment podcast series. Her upcoming chapter, “A Waist Full of Winin’ Counter-Tails/Tales,” will appear in The Futures of Dance Studies edited volume next year. In her own creative pursuits, she has choreographed dance theater pieces that were not only based on her research but were also used as tools for generating more research questions. In July 2015, she presented “Wine & Tales” in Port of Spain, Trinidad, which was commissioned by New Waves! 2015 and the Dancing While Black Performance Lab. And in May 2016, she presented “Rum & Coke” in New York City at Field Studies 2016. Both performances were rooted in her ethnographic fieldwork on the wine and Caribbean Carnivals within the US. Currently, she is a Lecturer at Stanford University in the Department of Theater and Performance Studies. This quarter, she is teaching two research driven dance courses. One is a survey class on folkloric and popular Afro-Caribbean dances and the other is fusion class that brings together Afro-Caribbean dance techniques with contemporary US-concert dance practices.
If you’d like to get to know Dr. Jones’ work, please feel free to listen to an Oxford U Press podcast featuring Dr. Jones speaking about her chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies. https://soundcloud.com/…/rihanna-episode-39-the-oxf…/s-dzVbL
The Second Annual Stanford Colloquium on Dance Studies, 2015-16
Dance, Racism, and Resistance
Organized by Rachel Carrico, 2015-16 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies in/and the Humanities at Stanford
The 2015-16 Stanford Colloquium on Dance Studies featured several scholars and artists addressing the work of dance in constructing race, perpetuating racism, and resisting the status quo.
All events were free and open to the public.
The 2015-16 Stanford Colloquium on Dance Studies was sponsored by the Mellon “Dance Studies in/and the Humanities” initiative and is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It received administrative support from Stanford’s Department of Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS), and additional funding from Stanford’s Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity.
Monday, May 9
Umi Vaughan, Associate Professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Monterey Bay
Drum Talk, Rebel Dance
- 5:30-7:00 PM
- Memorial Hall, Prosser Studio Theater (2nd Floor)*
This multimedia performance lecture explores the importance of music and dance in African Diaspora cultures. Dr. Umi Vaughan will use examples from his experience as a researcher, percussionist, and dancer in Oakland, Cuba, Brazil and elsewhere to examine concepts such as improvisation, collective memory/action, redemption/healing, and cultural counter attack in relation to survival and social justice struggle in black communities.
*Note the location change!
Tuesday, March 29
Anthea Kraut, Associate Professor of Dance and Chair of the Dance Department, University of California, Riverside
- 5:30-7:00 PM
- Memorial Auditorium 125
This talk rehearses the major arguments that Kraut makes in her recently published Choreographing Copyright: Race, Gender, and Intellectual Property Rights in American Dance (Oxford University Press, 2016). In the book, Kraut traces the history of efforts to assert copyright protection for choreography in the United States and teases apart their raced and gendered politics. The talk will highlight the stories of some of the major and minor players involved in those efforts. It will also underscore the importance of choreographic copyright for thinking through questions about dance’s reproducibility and for confronting the ways whiteness has functioned as a property-like right in the U.S.
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Latanya d. Tigner
Choreographer; Coordinator of Dimensions’ Rites of Passage program for youth; and Director, Dimensions Extensions Performance Ensemble
Dimensions Dance Theater: A Legacy of Staged Protest
- 5:30-7:00 PM
- Conference Room: Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity; Main Quad, Building 360, Room 361 J/K*
Through video and discussion, Latanya d. Tigner will share Oakland based Dimensions Dance Theater’s legacy of manifesting art emerged from socially and politically charged catalytic events throughout the African Diaspora that have resulted in mass movements to action. Project Panther: Phase I, To March, Common Ground, and the most recent, The Town on Notice, and several other works brought to the stage the struggles, resistance, resilience and hopes of marginalized communities.
*Note the location change!
Tuesday, February 9
Assistant Professor of Dance, University of Michigan
Centering Race in Dance Research:
Dancers as Diplomats in the Archive and the Interview
- 2:30-4:00 PM
- Memorial Auditorium, Room 125
In this talk, dance historian and theorist Clare Croft, author of the recently published Dancers as Diplomats: American Choreography in Cultural Exchange (Oxford 2015), considers how dance research requires a specific attunement to questions of race and racism. How does dance research locate racism among bodies? In the archive? In interviews? Croft considers these questions in relationship to the archival work, performance analysis, and 70+ interviews with dancers that form the spine of Dancers as Diplomats, while also gesturing toward how these questions might guide her new work on dance critic and lesbian activist Jill Johnston.
Monday, January 25, 2016
Imani Kai Johnson
Assistant Professor of Dance, University of California-Riverside
The Global Cypher? Black Sociality, Soulful Allies, and a Truly Global Culture
- 5:30-7:00 PM
- Memorial Auditorium, Room 125
In this talk, Dr. Imani Kai Johnson will present excerpted material from her manuscript, Dark Matter in B-Boying Cyphers. Her work explores Africanist aesthetics within b-boying culture, and uses the metaphor of dark matter–the physics concept for invisible matter–to discuss the substantive impact of invisiblized black culture. This talk builds on previously published work on the global context of breaking by examining the stakes of a discourse of globality, and the frictions of working across differences to enact moments of global connection within cyphers.
Tuesday, November 10
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies in/and the Humanities, Stanford TAPS (2015-16)
Footwork! Bodily Discourses of Dissent at the New Orleans Second Line
- 5:00-6:30 PM
- Memorial Auditorium, Room 125
On most Sundays in New Orleans, you can find a second line parade winding through one of the city’s African American neighborhoods. Since the late-nineteenth century, black New Orleanians have staged these grassroots processions, attracting thousands of residents to dance behind a brass band for hours on end. Second liners move their feet in time with complex rhythms, climb atop buildings and leap over one another, all while following the parade’s multi-mile route. In this talk, Carrico will share her research on the second line’s rich dance tradition, proposing that second lining can be productively considered as a bodily discourse of dissent. For citizens who have been historically barred from mainstream discourses, dance can be harnessed as a vehicle for articulating radical worldviews about citizenship, white supremacy, and patriarchy. This talk examines second liners’ dissenting discourses in danced movements and in choreographic uses of the cityscape.
The Inaugural Stanford Colloquium on Dance Studies, 2014-15
Organized by Joanna Dee Das, 2014-15 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies in/and the Humanities at Stanford
On October 7, 2014, we had our first colloquium guest: Thomas F. DeFrantz. The event was a great success, and we thank everyone for coming and contributing to a thoughtful, dynamic conversation! More information about the topic of his talk is below.
Choreographing Alienation: Dancing the Museum
This talk explores the phenomenological distancing created by dance performances in the context of 21st-century museums as practiced by hired performers working for celebrity choreographers. The essay considers movement from modern to postmodern, contemporary, relational, and live art articulations of dance practice, and the embodied assumptions that surround each of these chronologically-based namings of dance. The essay considers the ‘high status’ of museum culture and the ‘trading up’ that encourages choreographers to work in the rarefied sites of museums, even as the ethical dimensions of hiring performers to work in these spaces goes under-critiqued. Performances created by Deborah Hay, Tino Seghal, Merce Cunningham company, and Marina Abromovic are considered along axes of race, class, and location.
For Thomas DeFrantz’s biography, please click here.
On November 11, we had Yutian Wong from San Francisco State University present a talk on Shen Yun, which sparked fascinating discussion. Details below!
Shen Yun: An Asian American Dance Company?
Posters for Shen Yun Performing Arts (SYPA) featuring dancers caught mid-leap in impressive displays of balletic virtuosity have become a ubiquitous presence in major cities across the U.S. Using the discourse of Asian American dance studies to think through Shen Yun’s marketing strategies sheds light on the reasons why seemingly overdetermined concepts of authenticity and cultural purity continue to hold such powerful appeal in an era of globalization. The question mark in the title of the paper refers to the way in which SYPA uses both distance and proximity to China, Chinesesness, and the West to establish its authoritative claim to an authentic Chinese culture that is imagined as both ahistorical and pre-communist.
Yutian Wong is the coordinator of the dance program at San Francisco State University. She teaches courses in critical dance studies and writing for dance majors. She is the author of Choreographing Asian America (Wesleyan UP, 2010) and the editor of Contemporary Directions in Asian American Dance Studies (forthcoming).
SanSan Kwan, Assistant Professor in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at University of California, Berkeley started off the Colloquium for the Winter Quarter on February 11 with a fascinating discussion of “love” as a potential framework for understanding intercultural choreography. Below are more details of her talk.
Love Dances: Collaboration in East-West Intercultural Choreography
How do artists collaborate across cultural divides? How do they bring different bodily knowledges to each other and come together to create mutual choreography? What are the ethics and the politics of intercultural engagement? This talk will explore love as a form and a feeling that can structure the sometimes difficult encounter between cultural others. Remembering dance history’s legacy of Orientalism, I will look particularly at a few examples of dance duets between European and Asian or Asian diasporic choreographers (Jérôme Bel and Pichet Klunchun; Emmanuelle Huynh and Akira Kasai; Honji Wang and Sébastien Ramirez). I am interested in the different modes of collaboration they engage, with the hope that love can be a force that shapes cross-cultural commitment.
For SanSan Kwan’s biography, click here.
Jacqueline Shea Murphy, Associate Professor of Dance at the University of California, Riverside, closed the series on May 19. Shea Murphy writes about indigenous dance and rounded out a successful year. More details of her talk appear below.
Dancing in the Here and Now: Indigenous Presence and the Contemporary Choreography of Emily Johnson/Catalyst and DANCING EARTH
This presentation addresses ways that Indigenous choreographers are using contemporary dance in ways that strengthen and assert Indigenous knowledge. Shea Murphy will offer some thoughts about two specific contemporary dance making practices and what they say about time, space, caregiving and taking, disrupted and disputed ways of knowing, visual markers of Native American identity, and being in relationship to each other and the world. She will tease out points of tension around “Indigenous choreography,” including questions about different ways it is and isn’t visible to those viewing; about its strategies of refusal, response-ability, relationality, and “radical decolonial love;” and about the multiplicities, complexities, and possibilities it engages to assert ongoing Indigenous presence and refute the presumptive force and finality of ongoing settler colonization.
For Jacqueline Shea Murphy’s biography, click here.