2019 Editor’s Introduction

From its outset in 2013, the Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship (JEDS) has committed to publishing articles by emerging dance scholars: to encourage new thinkers in a competitive academic publishing landscape. As highlighted in the 2018 Editor’s Introduction, this has and continues to involve a tradition of care in JEDS’s peer review process to support the ‘future voices of dance’. While tightly holding onto this tradition, the current volume has materialized through a new editing model where we, as emerging scholars, stepped into the role of guest editors. This is an important evolution as JEDS is now developing emerging leaders in dance scholarship as well as emerging authors. We extend enormous gratitude to Founding Editor Ass. Prof. Urmimala Sarkar for her trust in us and mentorship throughout this process. We also acknowledge Founding Editor Prof. Linda Caldwell who was a part of many JEDS journeys that have lead up to this point.

The current volume brings together articles on the theme of Practicalities of Practice through a 21st Century Lens by exploring examples of dance education and dance-making.

In Habitus and perceptions: Lecturers Discuss Dance in Primary Teacher Education Courses in Queensland, Australia,Rachael Jacobs (Australia) questions community habitus and preservice primary teachers’ attitudes towards dance within the Australian Arts Curriculum. Her research draws on the voices of four lecturers and aims to illuminate the challenges of teaching and advocating for dance educational experiences. Jacobs analyses how institutional limitations and previous dance experiences can influence the enthusiasm and confidence of preservice teachers to both learn and teach dance in their future classrooms.

In ‘It’s not for the faint hearted’: Perceptions and Attitudes of Three Community Dance Practitioners Providing Dance within Prison Environments in New Zealand/Aotearoa, Kristie Mortimer (Aotearoa/New Zealand) unpacks the perspectives of three practitioners on delivering dance in prison environments. Mortimer focuses on perceptions of practitioner-participant relationships and the emotional responses of nervousness and detachment. She articulates differing experiences between the practitioners, highlighting a plurality of practitioner positionalities and approaches to delivering dance in prison environments.

Emma Cosgrave (Aotearoa/New Zealand) focuses on the phenomenon of creativity as experienced by new tertiary dance graduates in Informing Creativity: An Exploration of Contemporary Dance Graduates’ Experiences of Creativity in Tasking Processes within Professional Collaborative Dance-Making. Drawing from interviews with new graduates turned professional dancers, her findings connect these dancers’ feeling of creativity to the social climate of rehearsals, clear choreographer-dancer communication, feeling value and respected, and open and closed task structures. This article identifies possible needs for dancers to feel productively creative.

In Moving Thinking: Is Dance Making a Somatic Practice? Julie Mulvihill (United States) argues that dance making is a somatic practice through a synthesis of Alexander Technique and her own practice. Mulvihill furthers this work with a focus on collaboration and discusses how Alexander Technique principles were central to the development of Composing Compromise: A Performance Collage (2018). Through this article, Mulvihill demonstrates Alexander Technique as a lens through which to view dance making and as a practical framework that can be applied in the process.

In Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon: Butch Ballerinas and Dancing Rape, Laura Briggs & Mara Mandradjieff (United States) engage a feminist and queer lens to consider how ballet choreography attends to the portrayal of women in light of contemporary feminist conversations such as #MeToo. The authors offer critique of the choreography and costuming within the ballet Manon, and interrogate how particular ballerinas might influence a feminist perception of the central character.

We sincerely thank the peer reviewers who have generously offered thoughtful feedback for the articles. Congratulations to the authors!

Guest editors:

Anja Ali-Haapala, Ph.D., Independent Researcher, Brisbane, Australia.

Dr Anja Ali-Haapala is a dance researcher and community dance teacher. She studies how people engage with dance as audience members and recreational dancers. After being awarded her PhD on dance audience reception from Queensland University of Technology in 2016, she went on to lead Ballet Moves for Adult Creative Health, a research partnership with Queensland Ballet and Queensland University of Technology. Ultimately, she is interested in understanding and advocating for dance experiences that enrich the lives of individuals and communities.

Sarah Knox, MCPA, Lecturer in Dance Studies, University of Auckland, Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Sarah Knox is a dance scholar, teacher, choreographer and performer. Her research explores collaboration within educational and choreographic contexts. She is currently pursuing Ph.D in Dance Studies at The University of Auckland. In 2020 Sarah became the Chair of the World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific Education and Training Network. Sarah, and Anja, are the co-founders of the Early Career Researchers Community – Dance.