Announcing Dance Studies Colloquium, Spring 2024

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The Institute of Dance Scholarship, AIR (Arts Interdisciplinary Research) and the Dance Department at Boyer College of Music and Dance are pleased to announce the Spring 2024 program of the Dance Studies Colloquium. Most events are live-streamed and continue to be free and open to the public.

Please note that most events are now held on Thursdays, from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm either in the TPAC Chapel or in Conwell Theater.

January 18th: Fairul Zahid, LASALLE College of the Arts, School of Dance and Theatre, Singapore, “Kinesthetic Awareness and Tacit Knowledge in Traditional Contemporary Choreography-Based ‘Tambului’” in TPAC Chapel, 3-4:30pm

Fairul Zahid presents research that critically engages with the self-experience of the choreographer in "Tambului," a traditional contemporary work performed by dance diploma students from LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore and bachelor’s in dance education students from Indonesia University of Education in Bandung. The "Tambului" works serve as a continuous process of engagement in studio and performance-based practices. This approach allows for an in-depth exploration of the autoethnomethodology used, encompassing contextual research, the theory underlying the work, and elements captured within the choreographic process. This research primarily emphasizes not just the creation of dances but the act of dancing itself, approaching it from the perspective of multiple forms of knowledge–both “knowing what” and “knowing-doing.”
Fairul Zahid is an artist pursuing a dual Ph.D. at the University of Education Indonesia and University Technology MARA (UiTM), enhancing his MA from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. He has taught at prominent Malaysian institutions, including the National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (ASWARA) and University Technology MARA (UITM); he was a guest lecturer and choreographer at Minzu University, Capital Normal School (Beijing), University of the Philippines, and Education University of Indonesia. Fairul's choreography incorporates multiple disciplines, from contemporary ballet to Malay, Chinese, and Indian classical dances, as well as jazz. He has collaborated with local and international artists, including Akram Khan, Crystal Pite, and Sean Curran.

February 1st: Merián Soto and Viveca Vázquez
Fenomenal! Rompeforma 1989-1996: Screening and Discussion in Conwell Theater, 3-4:30pm

Dance artists, Merián Soto and Viveca Vázquez will co-host a screening of their film ¡Fenomenal!, Rompeforma 1989-1996, a documentary which shares the archives of the Latinx festival, Rompeforma, Maratón de baile, performance, & visuales, held in Puerto Rico, and featuring the work of dozens of Latinx dance and performance artists from Puerto Rico, the US, and beyond. Following the film Soto & Vazquez will engage in an in-depth conversation with public participation on the process of creating the documentary.   

Merián Soto (Temple University) Puerto Rican dancer, choreographer, and video artist, is the creator of aesthetic-somatic dance practices and methodologies, Branch Dancing and Modal Practice. She is known for works that explore and reflect upon Latinx heritage, history, culture and the legacy of colonialism, experiments with Salsa, and the Branch Dance Series, which includes dozens of performances on stage, in galleries, and in nature, as well as video installations, and year-long seasonal projects.  Soto has received numerous grants and awards including a BESSIE (2000), a Greater Philadelphia Dance and Physical Theater Award “ROCKY” (2008), a Pew Fellowship in the Arts (2015), and a United States Artists Doris Duke Fellowship in Dance (2019).

Viveca Vázquez is a dancer, professor of movement and producer of experimental dance and performance events since 1985. She teaches at the University of Puerto Rico at the Faculties of General Studies and Humanities. Vázquez is a pioneer of experimental dance and performance in Puerto Rico and a founding member of Pisotón (est. 1979). Vázquez is also a founder of Taller de Otra Cosa (Something Else Workshop), now headed by Teresa Hernández, which has established forms of making and producing contemporary dance concerts and events. Vázquez has received commissions from Dance Theater Workshop, PS122, Danspace, and MoMA PS1, as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. This year she was awarded a United States Artists Mellon Dance Fellowship. She recently premiered Masa Crujiente based on the book Crujir Insecto by Colombian poet Laura Rojas.

February 15: Eiko Otake Carrying Fukushima in Conwell Theater, 3-4:30pm

A Body in Fukushima is the title of the extensive and expanding collaborative project between Eiko and photographer/historian William Johnston. Eiko first invited Johnston to collaborate on creating photograph works in Fukushima in 2014, 10 years ago. It was at the time Eiko began conceiving her first solo project, A Body in Places, which started with A Body in a Station at 30th Street Amtrak train station in Philadelphia in November 2014 along with the first Fukushima photo exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) which also produced her performances at Philadelphia Station.

In 2014, Eiko and Johnston made two extended visits to the irradiated areas surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors, where all residents had been evacuated. They returned to the area again in the 2016 and 2017 summer and found much of the places they had visited in 2014 have been radically changed. New sea walls were built, and many workers were brought in to clear houses and buildings and decontaminate the fields and roads. The only places that were left untouched by bulldozers were shrines and forests. Eiko danced in these places that remain highly irradiated, embodying bitter grief, anger, and remorse. In 2019, they visited Fukushima for the fifth time.

Born and raised in Japan and a resident of New York since 1976, Eiko Otake is a movement-based, interdisciplinary artist. After working for more than 40 years as Eiko & Koma, in 2014 Eiko began performing her own solo project.. Since 2014, Eiko collaborated with photographer/historian William Johnston on creating A Body in Fukushima, which captures Eiko’s body in places of nuclear contamination, and has presented photo exhibitions and film screenings in the U.S. and internationally. In 2017, she launched a multi-year Duet Project, an open-ended series of cross-disciplinary experiments with a diverse range of artists. In 2022, Eiko started her ten-year project I Invited Myself, in which she creates, advocates, and exhibits her media works. I Invited Myself, vol. III: Duets is on view at The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia until March 24, 2024. For her solo work, Eiko has received a Bessie’s Special Citation, an Art Matters Fellowship, the Anonymous Was a Woman Award, and the LMCC Sam Miller Award. Eiko regularly teaches at Wesleyan University, NYU, and Colorado College. She received an honorary degree from Colorado College in 2020.

February 26-28: Three-day Exploratory Seminar: Futures of Eighteenth-Century Dance Scholarship: What is Pantomime in Pantomime Ballet? (Rock Hall, Dean’s Conference Room and TPAC Chapel)

Marie Glon, Enseignement de la Danse, Université Lille (France)
Hubert Hazebroucq, independent artist, Les Corps Eloquents (France)
Joyce Z. Lindorff, Professor of Music, Temple University (USA)
Mayte Olmedilla, Fulbright International Researcher (Spain)
Julia Prest, French and Caribbean Studies, University of St Andrews (Scotland)
Joseph Roach, Sterling Professor of Theater and Professor of English Emeritus, Yale University (USA)
Sophia Rosenfeld, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania (USA)
Olivia Sabee, Associate Professor of Dance, Swarthmore College (USA)
Stefano Tomassini, Associate Professor, IUAV (Italy)
Juan Ignacio Vallejos, Conicet (Argentina)
Mark Franko, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Dance, Temple University (USA)

March 21st: Nejla Yasemin Yatkin (Institute for Dance Scholarship Resident Artist) “How Patterns in Nature Inform my Dance Practice” in TPAC Chapel 3-4:30pm)

Dance Artist Nejla Yatkin will talk about how the journey from a pastoral nomadic life in Anatolia, to a walled city of Berlin and then her journey to the USA dancing with two legendary African American Dance companies that informed her own practice in dance making and sharing around the world. The ancient history of dance is connected to nature. We danced to celebrate nature, we danced to embody nature, we danced to mourn nature and we danced to receive wisdom from nature. Dance is the language of patterns you find in nature and when you look at dances we created they are all connected to patterns you find in nature like circles, curves, lines, waves, and spirals. By honoring these patterns, we celebrate nature's cycles, express our reverence for its beauty, and gain insights into our own existence. Dance becomes a powerful tool for reconnecting with the wisdom of nature, fostering a profound sense of harmony, and deepening our relationship with the world we inhabit.

Nejla Yatkin has made a name for herself with her dynamic and thought-provoking work. Hailing from the culturally rich and historically significant city of West Berlin, Nejla's artistic vision is informed by her Turkish and Armenian heritage, as well as the nomadic traditions and poetics of her ancestors of interchanging places, races, rhythms, and histories. Described by The New York Times as a "magician, telling tales and creating worlds," Nejla's performances are a blend of personal histories and universal stories, from solo performances to public installations, film, and augmented reality. Nejla has garnered her recognition and grants from prestigious organizations such as the Princess Grace Foundation, the Baryshnikov Art Center, and the John F. Kennedy Center, Dance Magazine Top 25 To Watch, 3Arts Award, the Chicago Dancemakers Forum, and the latest 2023 National Dance Project Award as well as the National Performance Network Creation Award among others.

April 4th: Rosemary Candelario, Theatre and Dance, University of Texas at Austin, “Butoh Ecologies: Dancing with Nature as Embodied Ecological Praxis” in TPAC Chapel 3-4:30pm

Butoh Ecologies is a multisite case study that uses dance training and performance to research embodied practices that address one of the fundamental issues underlying climate change: humans’ evident inability to see their own futures as inextricably linked to that of the environment around them. Butoh is an avant-garde dance developed in Japan in the late 1950s and 1960s that has since become global and multiply-local. It offers a rich field in which to investigate ecological practices because it is fundamentally about the transformation of the dancing body into something else: a tree, an animal, a mythic creature. Addressing a variety of artists and training projects from around the world, this talk argues that butoh practices cultivate a radically reordered corporeality that challenges anthropocentrism, a bodily sensitivity to connections constituted by the ecology itself, and an embodied and practiced ecological consciousness fundamentally attuned to interdependence.

Rosemary Candelario writes about and makes dances engaged with Asian and Asian American dance, butoh, ecology, and site-related performance. She was awarded the 2018 Oscar G. Brockett Book Prize for Dance Research for her book Flowers Cracking Concrete: Eiko & Koma's Asian/American Choreographies (Wesleyan University Press 2016) and received the 2022 Mid-Career Award from the Dance Studies Association. Rosemary is the co-editor with Bruce Baird of The Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance (2018) and with Matthew Henley of Dance Research Methodologies: Ethics, Orientations, Practices (Routledge 2023), and has published articles in journals such as Dance Research Journal, Choreographic Practices, The Scholar & Feminist Online, and Post45: Contemporaries. Rosemary is Associate Professor of Performance as Public Practice at the University of Texas at Austin with an appointment in the Expanding Approaches to American Arts cluster. She serves as the Dance Studies Association Vice President for Publications and Research and holds a PhD in Culture and Performance from UCLA.

For further information please contact Mark Franko (