Dance in New Spaces with New Audiences by New Performers


Ilana Goldman

M.F.A., University of Washington

Assistant Professor, Florida State University


Dance performance is often the privileged domain of professional dancers. Community dance projects provide an opportunity for non-professional dancers to perform and reap the benefits of this transcendent experience. While most community dance scholars argue that the process is more important than the product, I maintain that the product, often a culminating performance, deserves more attention than it has received. The performance plays a key role in fostering the sense of community among, and the empowerment of, the participants. It also benefits the audience by communicating social and historical issues and ideas of community. I came to this conclusion through my investigation of community dance projects directed by Liz Lerman, Tamar Rogoff, and Pat Graney. This paper demonstrates that in addition to their attention to the process, community dance practitioners should also attend to the performance and how it benefits the participants, the audience, and community at large.


Ilana Goldman received an M.F.A. in dance from the University of Washington this spring and will be an Assistant Professor at Florida State University’s School of Dance starting in the fall of 2013. She received her B.F.A. from the Juilliard School, where she was awarded the John Erskine Prize for Artistic and Academic Excellence. Ilana danced professionally as a principal dancer with Oakland Ballet and Sacramento Ballet, as a guest artist with Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, and most recently with Trey McIntyre Project. Her choreography has been performed by Sacramento Ballet, New York Theatre Ballet, Black Rock City Ballet, Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre, and UW undergraduates.

To view article, click link (press Back to return to website): PERFORMANCE MATTERS IN COMMUNITY DANCE




Lauren Guyer-Douglas

M.A. Social Anthropology

Doctoral Candidate, Social Anthropology



            This research examines the use of movement and performance among senior adults in Belfast, Northern Ireland as tools for redefining social roles, constructing a new understanding for the term ‘old,’ and evolving the expectations of a dancing body.  While examining age and ageism, ‘old’ is argued to be a multi-layered, subjective term that holds little relevance to chronology, and deserves reconsideration for use within society.  Elderflowers Dance Theatre demonstrates the physical freedom of all-ability dance, and embodiment of identity to allow expectations of a dancer to evolve.  The emotional influences of fieldwork, as well as professional training as a dance practitioner, are utilized as a reference point for understanding the reality in which this research is presented.


Lauren Guyer-Douglas is a PhD Social Anthropology candidate at Queen’s University Belfast.  She currently holds a Master of Arts in Social Anthropology from Queen’s University, and a Master of Arts in Education, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Texas Woman’s University.  Lauren has presented her research at several anthropological conferences, arts and health symposiums, and a special topics dance conference.  She has participated in interdisciplinary research and performance projects, and is currently collaborating with artists on an international level.

To view article, click link (press Back to return to website): PHYSICAL SOCIAL COMMENTARY




Lily Sloan


 Texas Woman’s University


I have found that site-specific dance can creatively engage with a local community, bringing new life to everyday places and people. The purpose of this paper is to offer a method for creating site-specific dance performances by examining and articulating the creative process in Complex Environments: This is not a bar, a live performance in a local café and bar called Banter. In this project my collaborator, Bethany Nelson, and I investigated our site by observing the actions, conversations, and interactions that occurred in Banter. After gathering the observed material, we used it as the impetus for choreographing an evening length dance that was performed in Banter on December 4th and 5th, 2009. Our intention behind the project was to create a new context for an everyday space, by altering the observed actions and conversations of people from the space through performance.


Lily Sloan received her M.F.A. in dance at Texas Woman’s University with the Outstanding Graduate Student award. Currently, she is an Adjunct Professor at University of North Texas and Texas Christian University. Lily is also a Co-Director of Big Rig Dance Collective, a collaborative group of dance artists in North Texas. She has worked with many site-influenced artists, such as: Amii Legendre, JoAnna Mendl Shaw, The SHUA Group, and Jill Sigman.  Lily was a guest performer at the American Dance Festival, premiering a site-specific work by Mark Dendy. Most recently, Lily led a site-specific dance workshop in Livorno, Italy.

To view article, click link (press Back to return to website): SOURCING CREATING SHARING



Sonya Smith

M.F.A. Candidate University of Colorado, Boulder


Aerial circus and aerial dance are two styles of aerial performance that use a variety of suspended objects move the human body into a vertical performance space. Aerial dance and aerial circus arise from separate lineages with distinct aesthetic values. This paper will begin by identifying the individual aesthetics and historical roots of both aerial dance and aerial circus, and articulating points of natural conflation. Blurring between aerial circus and aerial dance is perhaps reflective of a similar, global blurring across numerous performance genre. The final portion of this paper will discuss specific examples of this aesthetic blurring between aerial circus and aerial dance. This type of analysis affords greater insight into the diverse influences potentially present in any aerial performance.


I am the first student to enter the Aerial Track MFA Candidacy at CU Boulder. In the last 10 years, I have performed and choreographed both aerial and modern dances in the San Francisco Bay Area. As an aerial performer and teacher, I am interested in the continued evolution of aerial performance as it becomes more prevalent both on the concert stage and in entertainment venues. I am committed to increasing the inclusion of aerial performance in academic discussions surrounding the performing body.

To view article, click link (press Back to return to website): AESTHETICS OF AERIAL DANCE AND AERIAL CIRCUS