Dance as Living Histories, Spiritualties, and Political Resistances


CELEBRATION AND CRITIQUE OF 95 YEARS OF LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS

YVONNE RAINER’S ROS INDEXICAL

Caroline E. Althof

MFA Candidate

University of North Carolina Greensboro

Abstract

The Rite of Spring has been reconstructed and re-imagined by hundreds of choreographers over the past century.  All who approach The Rite engage in an inescapable dialogue with its one hundred-year history and with other artists who have contributed to its conceptual, ideological, and aesthetic possibilities. But does the world really need yet another Rite of Spring?  And why has Yvonne Rainer, a postmodern icon who spent a lifetime deconstructing tradition, decided to rework this ballet?  Rainer’s 2007 revision, RoS Indexical, is overtly about The Rite as a dialogue with the past, about encountering its tracework of evidence and thought.  In the process, Rainer reveals her own artistic ideology through endless choreographic complexities.  I explore these complexities in hopes of shedding light on the many layers of this work.   Rainer’s revision of the Rite of Spring uses overt and covert historical references to the past and calls for each viewer to imaginatively piece together the various sources Rainer  presents in her index.  In this essay, I explore the phenomenon of The Rite of Spring canon as well as examine RoS Indexical’s placement as a descendent of the ongoing lineage.  Keywords: Yvonne Rainer, RoS Indexical, The Rite of Spring, Western Dance Canon

Biography

Caroline Althof is currently an MFA candidate and teaching assistant at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  While teaching in the public school system, she worked on curriculum development and the intersection of dance and the media arts.  With the 100th year celebration of The Rite of Spring approaching, last year Caroline switched her scholarly focus to the canonical avant-garde tradition of Le Sacre.  Examining the phenomenon of the Western Dance Canon, she began focusing her research on Yvonne Rainer’s revision, RoS Indexical, which serves as a simultaneous act of homage and critique of the canon.    

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PULSATING VALUE:  EXAMINING THE DEVELOPMENT OF DISMISSIVE ATTITUDES TOWARD CONCERT JAZZ DANCE IN 1960S AMERICA

Erinn Liebhard

M.F.A. Candidate

University of Colorado at Boulder

Abstract 

This paper explores how the jazz movement aesthetic is an important creator and carrier of cultural knowledge as a result of the intertwining of African and European cultures in America from the late 1880s and on. The jazz movement aesthetic in social and presentational dance served as a method for people to construct and deconstruct identities of race, class, gender, and sexuality through movement. Despite this important function, jazz movement has undergone a long-term devaluation in American concert dance, disenfranchising this culturally rich aesthetic. This paper identifies 1960s America as a crucial place in this process, first locating the jazz movement aesthetic in social and presentational dances of the period, then analyzing and relating the strong presence of the aesthetic in social dance as a linkage to its devaluation in presentational concert dance.

Biography

Erinn Liebhard is a dance artist with a specialty in jazz and American vernacular dance forms. She holds a B.F.A. in Dance from the University of Minnesota, and is currently an M.F.A. Candidate at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Liebhard is the Artistic Director of Rhythmically Speaking, an organization presenting jazz and rhythm-driven dance in the Twin Cities, MN. She has presented choreographic work throughout the U.S. and Canada, and has trained and performed with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, the Eclectic Edge Ensemble, Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, Karla Grotting, Rennie Harris and Gesel Mason Performance Projects, Zoe Sealy and numerous other notable artists.

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SPRING IN WAR TIME: POST-WAR EFFECTS ON BAUSCH’S

LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS

Miranda C. Wickett

Graduate Student, Dance Education

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Abstract

Le Sacre du Printemps is a very popular, hotly-debated creation that is still relevant 100 years after its birth. Bausch’s version has been lauded for incredible artistry and poignancy, depicting a power struggle between genders. Being born in the middle of WW II gave Bausch an innate understanding of conflict from a very young age that influenced her version of Le Sacre du Printemps. Themes of guilt, shame and isolation are discussed in this paper stemming from Nazi, post-war and Cold War culture and their effect on her choreography. Bausch carved out a version of the piece that furthered Nijinsky’s legacy, while cultivating it to reflect the cultural zeitgeist of her time.

Keywords: Rite of Spring, Bausch, post-war, choreography

Biography

Miranda Wickett is a graduate student in dance education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science as well as a Bachelor of Education in Primary, Junior and Intermediate Education with focus on physical education and guidance counseling. She is also a part-time faculty member in the music education department (dance minor program) at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada where she specializes in rhythm and music theory’s role in the dance classroom. She has been dance coordinator for The Canadian Operatic Arts Academy since its inception in 2009.

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FAILING PERCEPTIONS:  POLICY, PRODUCTION, AND

U.S. DANCE MAKERS

Sarah Wilbur

Doctoral Candidate, Department of World Arts and Cultures, Dance

University of California, Los Angeles

Abstract 

This paper picks up the tenuous position of professional choreographers in U.S. cultural policy discourse by suggesting that the widespread utilization of so-called “industry” frameworks must be called to question. By over-determining product reproducibility and economic success as barometers for professional achievement, I suggest that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Endowment for the Arts issue measurement standards that squeeze and contort the labor of U.S. dance makers. Integrating dance-based examples throughout the text, I demonstrate how prevalent theorizations of cultural production organize and limit the production process. The style of this paper unfolds as a series of failing perceptions articulated through multiple prologues, introductions, and intermissions. These precarious and numerous views reflect what I defend throughout as dance’s highly unstable and interdependent character as a topic worth studying and worth challenging. To reinforce these policy and production disjunctures, I have included personal career “snapshots” taken from my work over the past fifteen years as a cross-sector U.S. dance maker. These personal interludes invite a more complicated view into the dynamic practice of dance making, a view that I uphold as a fantastic problem for culture and performance discourse across the humanities.

Biography 

Sarah Wilbur is a choreographer, performer, dance educator, advocate, and researcher currently working for the University of California and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. To reconcile the strange paths that led her here, Sarah’s dissertation articulates an analytical framework through which the co-operation of U.S. dance artists and institutions might come into sharper relief. Prior to relocating to the west coast in 2007, Sarah earned a BFA in dance at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a MFA in dance from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures, where she is currently completing her dissertation under the mentorship of Drs. Anurima Banerji, Janet O’Shea, Shannon Jackson (UC-Berkeley), and Susan Leigh Foster (committee chair). In addition to her academic and creative research, Sarah co-facilitates a dance program for the Greater Los Angeles VA Medical Center alongside veterans living with PTSD and severe mental illness. She has choreographed over forty works for the concert stage and has presented her research at an array of academic conferences including: Congress on Research in Dance, American Society for Theatre Research, UCLA Graduate Education and Information Science Conference, and Dance Under Construction. Sarah is honored to be in the esteemed company of the scholars whose work appears in this inaugural issue of the Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship.

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A SPACE FOR WORSHIP: 

HISTORY AND PRACTICE IN CHRISTIAN SACRED DANCE

Emily Wright

Doctoral Student

 Texas Woman’s University

Abstract

Dance has existed in some form within the practice of Christianity since its inception.  Beginning in the catacomb meetings of the early Christians, the practice of sacred dance simultaneously shaped, and was shaped, by this emerging religion within the context of the spaces in which it was practiced.  Dance often served as the handmaiden to ideology, as it advanced mimetic illustrations of core tenets or enacted central mythologies of the faith.  The twentieth and twenty-first centuries have seen a dramatic resurgence in sacred dance, particularly within Protestant circles.  This contemporary iteration is also powerfully influenced by the spaces in which it is enacted and concurrently is changing traditional worship spaces.  These contemporary spaces, while more conducive to traditional Western concert dance, generate a greater distance between dancer and worshipper, performer and observer.  This paper traces the history of Christian sacred dance and the ways in which dance shaped and was shaped by space particular to Christian worship.  Further, this presentation will explore the implications of contemporary sacred dance in the Protestant sanctuary and its effects on the contemporary practice of Protestantism.

Biography

Emily Wright, MFA, received her BFA in Dance from Belhaven University in 2002. She received her MFA in Dance, with an emphasis in Performance and Choreography, from Arizona State University in 2007.  Ms. Wright has presented her research on contemporary American Protestant dance at numerous national and international conferences, including the Congress on Research in Dance, the National Dance Education Organization, and the Nordic Forum on Dance Research.  Her most recent publication is a chapter in the dance ethnography text, Fields in Motion:  Ethnography in the Worlds of Dance (2011).  She is currently pursuing further scholarship as a member of the doctoral cohort at the Texas Woman’s University PhD in Dance in Denton, TX.

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