2015 Conference Paper Presentation

During the 2015 Women in Dance Leadership Conference, four female scholars presented their paper.

Invisible Identities and Intersectionality in Dance: Finding Voice in Higher Education by A’Keitha Carey

Abstract: In this article, I discuss the term intersectionality and how I am engaging with it from the perspective of curricular reform in dance. I share my experiences with academic racism and sexism through autoethnography that is prescriptive, descriptive, and reflexive in its approach. I will discuss my experiences in various institutions and the behaviors of faculty, administration and students. I will engage with personal narrative to illustrate the culture in which I am immersed—academe. It is my hope that sharing my personal experiences in a reflexive manner will encourage the reader to survey, investigate, and analyze the culture from an interpretive and investigative lens, surveying the multiple layers of consciousness and realities that exist. I argue that  “Studying others invariably invites readers to compare and contrast themselves with others in the cultural texts they read and study, in turn discovering new dimensions in their own lives” (Chang 34). I am interested in exploring strategies that will encourage and support junior faculty of color find voice who may be experiencing racism and sexism. I am also investigating how to implement these strategies, exploring what are some helpful resources, and what are the methods for self-care and healing.

Dancing on the 50-Yard Line: A feminist Perspective of Drill Team by Chell Parkins

Abstract: This paper explores drill team, the group of girls who dance in football half time shows, from a feminist perspective. Drill teams thrive across Texas due to the popularity of football and have created a pocket in the male sports arena for females to dance, but for the male gaze. The dancing girls present themselves in traditional Southern Belle fashion, seeming to perpetuate what Naomi Wolf labels the beauty myth in her nonfictional work The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used against Women. However, my experience as the director of a drill team in a Title 1 high school in rural Texas led me to believe that drill team also provides the opportunity for adolescent girls to become empowered, reclaim their bodies, and strive for success. As a self proclaimed feminist I wondered how this paradox was possible, an art form that is seemingly chauvinistic in presentation but that guides young girls in a feminist direction. This paper presents historical and experiential research scrutinized in relation to feminist theory on societies limited perspective of female bodies.

Moving Past Patriarchy: How Embracing Female Choreographers Can Transform the World of Ballet by Lauren Wingenroth

Abstract: This paper focuses on the systematic way that women are discouraged to choreograph for ballet, considering both historical influences and current practices in the ballet world. I posit that the authoritarian pedagogical methods used in ballet, the larger competition for women in ballet companies, the larger demand for women in canonical works, the favoritism towards boys and men in ballet, and the way we approach craft are factors that exclude women from creative positions in the ballet field. I argue that it is essential to rethink ballet in a way that is inclusive of women creators, and that the inclusion of these new choreographic perspectives will push the ballet world forward immensely.

Touching Water by Lisa Craig

Abstract: Touching Water was inspired by Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, Contact Improvisation and Continuum Movement.  It is a study of theology, movement, touch and water and how they are integral to our relationships with others. The research on touch is in its infancy.  A deeper interest in this sense began developing in the 1970’s/1980’s, the same timeframe that Contact Improvisation (1972) and Theology of the Body (1979-1984) were introduced into the world.  What did a post-modern dance technique and a series of lectures by the Pope have in common?  The importance of the connection between bodies.  Emilie Conrad’s Continuum Movement can be used to further unite theology and dance.  Through her immersion into the undulating movements of Haitian prayer, she discovered “God is not elsewhere, but is moving through our cells and in every part of us with its undulating message.”  She compares the “movement of God within us” to the “fluid nature of ourselves”, an analogy also reflected in Theology of the Body. Touching Water applies the principles of Continuum Movement to Contact Improvisation; through movement and touch we create a physical dialogue between couples, enriching their bond.  Weaving arts and sciences with theology and relationships, we aim to connect the physical body to our deepest desire, our oneness with God – from a universal human level, to our intimate partners, to ourselves. 

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