2018 Editor’s Introduction

The 6th volume (2018) of The Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship (JEDS) is a little late but online finally. During its editorial process we have lost Prof. Linda Caldwell to illness. Her exceptional contribution has made JEDS what it is. Always supportive and encouraging – Linda’s work with JEDS will be remembered and missed. When I had taken over the work of the JEDS 2017 because of her illness. She was always there for all queries – ready with a smile and a quick response. World Dance Alliance will miss Prof. Linda Caldwell as a scholar, as an editor and also as its ardent and enthusiastic member.

Prof. Linda Caldwell at WDA Global Summit in Canada in 2017. Photo Credit – Julie Dyson.

Remembering Linda, Prof. Cheryl Stock the past Secretary General of World Dance Alliance, writes “We, the WDA family, shared so much with her over the last decade – the endless meetings, conference planning, reviewing, editing, proofing and shaping through three major Global Summits and WDAA Proceedings and of course through her visionary co-editorship of JEDS. Linda is a leader to celebrate and emulate; hers was a selfless leadership of service, collaboration and empathy. Thank you Linda – your engagement with dance research lives long in our memory”.

The Journal – initially imagined as a space for emerging authors to publish and share their research – has received huge support from the World Dance Alliance, which is especially invested in encouraging new research and scholarship on dance around the world. As the editor overseeing the review process, it was very heartening to watch the reviewers share supportive comments and insights to the emerging scholars, who are becoming the future voices of dance.  World Dance Alliance extends its gratitude to the community of editors, who have generously shared their expertise, their wisdom, and their care for the emerging scholars undertaking the task of writing dance and movement practices in languages that are often not their native tongue. I congratulate these scholars and reviewers for their patience, their hard work, and their continued passion for dance, and thank them for their contribution, in spite of being extremely busy with their own commitments.

The contributions in the current volume on the theme of  Dancing / Dance making: Responding to Spatial Configurations are around a variety of themes spreading across different social / cultural contexts.  

Author and photography: Aadya Kaktikar. Photo taken during a dance class.

The first essay  by Aadya Kaktikar “Thinking Through the Body: Layering Meaning Through Reflective Practice in The Dance Class” proposes a pedagogy for dance classes for undergraduate students, who are not trained or interested in any particular dance style. Going beyond the usual strict grammar bound teaching methods in Indian dance, she proposes to introduce them to ways of connecting cognitive flows of body and mind through a programme of dance and movement experiments, aimed at building non-verbal intelligence for communicative and interpersonal skill as well as exploring aesthetic perceptions.

The second essay Remnants of us: collective dance-making as multi-art form praxis explores the process of the dance theatre collective in a reflexive auto-ethnographical manner. The author creates an ethnographic account of a dance – music – art based initiative that works with communities while also aiming to connect and facilitate community building processes for and around art works.

Author: Meghna Bhardwaj
Event: Flash-mob protest with torchlight by university teachers at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, India.
Photo Satarupa Chakraborty.

The Essay by Meghna Bhardwaj “Politics as Aesthetics: Analysing Performatives in the Context of the JNU Protest” is an analytical piece of writing on ideas of creating images or narratives of disruption that furthers the motivations around protests – to strengthen the political tools, in places otherwise  known to be disciplined and controlled. The author complicates the idea of end or outcome of such performances – as responses or responsibilities, rather than self-staging.

Sophie Coquelin’s essay “ ‘Estrangement’ or exoticism of the nearer? When contemporary dance choreographers incorporate images of a TV series on Portuguese expressive practices” critically contextualizes the works of three contemporary choreographers to explore the re-staging of the ideas of traditional artistic practices through decontextualization followed by recontextualization. In order to understand the means and aims of creating such dance works that claim to recreate and re-present the authentic and the organic identity, she analyzes the influence of a popular television series Povo que canta, on two of the choreographic works.

The last essay by Taiyueh Chen “After exhaustion: technologies of the self in Legend Lin Dance Theater” is an analytical insight the dance making process used at the Legend Lin Dance Theatre. The author analyzes his personal experience as well as those of his fellow dancers – to illustrate the stages of training that is aimed to create connections and distinctions between individualism and group solidarity, use of energy and feeling of exhaustion, knowledge and practice, and many other creative choreographic variations.                                                                                                 

Each article discusses dance within the diverse geographical contexts of each author, thus providing the readers with exciting insights regarding a varied perspective of how dance continues to remain an important phenomenon in communities across the world. Like the past volumes of JEDS, this volume has encouraged and been inclusive of diversity in forms of dance writing, but at the same time has been an effort to project emerging research on dance might be practiced and analysed in the future.  Each author went through a rigorous double-blind review process with noted dance scholars from around the world.

To navigate through the articles, please click on the link to each author under the JEDS theme of 2018: Dancing / Dance making: Responding to Spatial Configurations. In this link, you will find an abstract and bio for each author followed by a link to the article’s full-text.

World Dance Alliance has initiated a process of inviting guest-editors for the coming volumes besides continuing to invite essays by emerging scholars working outside the English language. JEDS would like to encourage emerging scholars to look at the time line for the details regarding contributions to the next volume planned for 2019.

Urmimala Sarkar, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Theatre and Performance Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. (President, World Dance Alliance-Asia Pacific – http://www.wda-ap.org/wda-ap/wda-ap.htm )