Transdisciplinary Methodologies and Modalities of the Moving Body in Performance

May 11, 2017


As members of a field that is in productive and perpetual friction with traditional academic structures, scholars who work on dance often come from a range of disciplines. Although this can be viewed as a challenge for defining the field, it also provides fertile ground for exploring the opportunities interdisciplinarity provides in dance scholarship.

Structured around working sessions and a roundtable discussion with Thomas DeFrantz (Duke), VK Preston (Toronto), Katherine Profeta (Queens College, CUNY), and Paul Scolieri (Barnard) moderated by Erika T. Lin (The Graduate Center, CUNY), this day-long conference aims to discuss and exchange methodological approaches to dance and to build a network for emerging scholars inside and outside of dance studies. We will interrogate how interdisciplinary approaches to topics such as movement, choreography, embodiment, and corporeality can enter into and expand dance studies. Additionally, we seek to ask what a dance studies perspective can bring to scholarship in other fields. We welcome papers on any dance subject, broadly construed, from fields including but not limited to performance praxis, theatre and performance studies, musicology, visual arts, art history, anthropology, cultural studies, sociology, political science, history, literary studies, women and gender studies, queer theory, disability studies, critical race studies, and architecture.

Our goal is to think through the theoretical and methodological opportunities and challenges posed by transdisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity:

  • What are the common threads and trends among different academic disciplines in the analyses of artistic and social performances that are predicated on dance and movement, broadly construed?
  • How is scholarship shaped by dance practice? What can thinking through practice offer to methodological and analytic approaches to movement and dance?
  • How do different disciplinary methodologies respond to dance? How do they communicate with or differ from discipline-specific dance scholarship in knowledge production? What can they learn from each other?
  • As concepts of “dance” and “choreography” are further deconstructed and used in an expanded way, what does it mean to use knowledge specific to them as theoretical tools for analysis?

Participants will be grouped into working sessions with papers circulated in advance, followed by targeted discussion at the conference itself facilitated by student leaders partnering with participating scholars. There will be a session on publishing in Dance Studies with Norm Hirschy, Senior Editor at Oxford University Press, and Mariellen R. Sandford, Associate Editor at TDR, moderated by Susan Tenneriello (Baruch College, CUNY). The day will culminate in a roundtable discussion, and a performance by The Bureau for the Future of Choreography, co-sponsored by the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center.

This event took place thanks to the generous support of Sidney E. Cohn chair Distinguished Professor Marvin Carlson, Vera Mowry Roberts chair distinguished professor David Savran, The Ph.D. Program in Theatre and Performance, MARTIN E. SEGAL THEATRE CENTER, and the Doctoral Students’ Council.