2018 Conference Paper Presentation

During the 2018 Women in Dance Leadership Conference, four scholars were selected by the reviewing committee to present their papers.

Women at Work: The Politics of Process and Production


Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to introduce the concept of Productive Negation as a dramaturgical feedback strategy in theatre- and dance-making processes. Liz Lerman’s four-step Critical Response Process forms the basis for this model, while the via negativa of Katie Duck, Katherine Profeta’s “De-skilling” and Bojana Cvejić’s “Methodology of Problem” form the theoretical underpinnings of this new methodology. Initially inspired by Yvonne Rainer’s “No Manifesto”, I have created my own set of guidelines that contextualizes each woman’s philosophical contribution. Questions surrounding the need for productivity, the importance of the word “no” and the power dynamics of collaborative working relationships are addressed. The paper journeys through these theories of negation towards a working template that puts Productive Negation in action, expanding its manifesto along the way.


in/fertile territories by Dr. Shantel Ehrenber

Abstract: The piece expresses narratives, bodily expressions, and imagery that relate to women’s experiences and negotiations of infertility and maternal loss. The work speaks to issues of female gendered identity, sexuality, politics, and the body through academic research and choreography. This presentation will implicitly contribute to the topic of female leadership in dance because it will represent what is created and possible when female issues and voices are foregrounded. Performance and research on infertility is growing but has been neglected across many fields, not least performance and performance studies. This neglect is in part because of the lack of women leaders, with power and influence to focus on the subject. The lecture-performance sits between paper and performance formats; it is a ten to twenty-minute presentation that includes text and visual imagery, including original solo choreography.


Dance Leadership: Perspectives from the Local to the Global

Women Leading Dance: Practice Into Theory By Jane M. Alexandre

Abstract: What is dance leadership?  Who practices it, in what setting, and why?  What distinguishes the work of women leaders in dance from that of men?  This “what is” rather than “how to” paper proposes a theoretical framework for understanding dance leadership, illustrated by portraits of four women dance artists in action in India, South Africa, the US, and Brazil.  Based on my book Dance Leadership:  Theory into Practice (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), I explore how the work of these women instigates change and forward movement through performance, choreography, teaching, writing, organizing, directing and more.  By exploring what is unique about leading in dance, the paper further engages with such wide-ranging issues as:  Does the practice of leading require followers?  How does one individual’s dance movement act on others in a group?  How are social engagement and pursuit of intrinsic human rights engaged in the processes of dance leadership?  And above all, can the practices and processes of dance leadership be linked to gender?

To Feel, so WE can be… by Mia Redding

Abstract: As a young African- American female, using dance as a platform for protest allows me to express my concerns about social, racial, and political issues. My choreographic research illuminates the concept of intersectionality of race, gender and the role they play as expressions of “freedom” from the perspective of a young woman of color.  This exploration focuses on the concept of “freedom” through race, gender, identity, differences and otherness; and unveils how each of us as humans witness, respond and support each other’s experiences. Through research and personal experiences, I seek to use this information to break barriers, and generate dialogue that explains my original approach to creating dance works.