Galvanizing Dance Studies: Building Anti-Racist Praxis, Transformative Connections, and Movement(s) of Radical Care

Dance Studies Association 

October 14-17, 2021

Rutgers University/Hyatt Regency

New Brunswick New Jersey, USA

Adanna Kai Jones and Jeff Friedman (program co-chairs), Julia M. Ritter (local arrangements chair)

The DSA 2021 Program Committee collectively re-imagines this international conference as a vessel that builds, explores, collaborates, performs, and agitates current practices within the field(s) of dance. Specifically, as our first COVID-times conference, it is important that our work responds to our current global crises. We imagine this conference as the start of a long process of holding ourselves to account. As dancers/scholars, we can equitably uphold diverse movement(s) of care and connection. From this generative yet fractious position, our theme, “Galvanizing Dance/Studies,” calls for dancers, choreographers, activists, curators, pedagogues, technologists, scholars, and those who otherwise engage with dance and movement practices to submit proposals that interrogate the many embodied, disembodied, and colonial laden conversations around the urgent needs of our current moment, by putting theory into action. Knowing that this year’s conference format and structures will be curated to expose, dismantle, challenge, and transform white, supremacist practices of convening and assembly, we seek a wide range of critical perspectives and modalities that yield to future propositions, questions, and/or critiques.

As always, DSA welcomes all proposals that address the full spectrum of dance studies and practice. This year, we particularly invite you to consider the multiple ways your work intersects with each of the following sub-themes:


  • Addressing ANTI-[Blackness, Brownness, Asianness, Indigeneity].
  • Acknowledging/reckoning with how existing social/political/economic disparities have been revealed and/or exacerbated during the global pandemic and thus our responsibility/ accountability towards those disparities.


  • Engaging with the precarious position of the body, dance, and dance institutions.
  • Engaging with histories of instabilities, e.g., looking at the ways particular communities and subjectivities have historically navigated instability through embodied practices.


  • Laying bare/re-appropriating terms and uses of technology and technique.
  • Making space for tools and strategies invisibilized by supremacist ideals/value systems, including Black and Global Majority worldviews or alternative concepts of both sustainability and world-building.
  • Challenging what has been legitimized as “technology” and valid “techniques.”


  • Sustaining experiences of thriving vis-à-vis virtual exchanges of effort and labor, including energy, touch, sweat, breath, and physical closeness.
  • Building movements across difference, such as coalitional work, or holistic/embodied pedagogies.


  • Examining the precarious position of the body, especially when considering whose bodies are essential and/or disposable vis-à-vis systems of health and care.
  • Addressing interdisciplinary connections between dance/studies and bio-science, and also complementary and alternative non-hegemonic modes of healing versus curing.
  • Critically contemplating ways we engage with & respond to COVID-19, alongside endemic global crises (including Black-death, climate change, and migration/refugee crises).


  • Examining and articulating equitable relations among everyone in the dance field-including practitioners, scholars, activists and those who engage with moving bodies.
  • Shifting the onerous labor of anti-racist praxes from oppressed peoples to those with privilege.
  • Choreographing protest and other forms of civil disobedience.



Hubs: In the spirit of the conference theme and looking toward how we might engage in “galvanization,” DSA encourages submissions to a new presentation format:  Hubs are meant to gather individuals around stated conference themes. Groups of 12 are curated by the program committee, meet on all 3 days of the conference, and are open to conference attendees as audience members. Applicants apply individually to participate in a Hub using the submission portal, where they choose sub-themes that best represent their work and answer demographic questions to ensure that each Hub includes presenters from various geographic locations and career trajectories. Hubs will have 1-2 assigned moderators who facilitate the group’s development and maintenance; each group will create in-Hub “house rules” to ensure sharing of expertise, collegial exchange, networking, and full engagement. Participants are expected to dive deeply into each other’s work, though the way to accomplish this is up to the group. Formats might include:

  • Circulating work before the start of the conference
  • Paper presentations
  • Embodied presentations
  • Lecture-performances
  • Workshops
  • Video presentations
  • Dedicating 20 mins per presenter over the course of the 3 days to be used however each
    presenter chooses
  • Collaborating and creating a performance, paper, manifesto, video, etc. that speaks to all of the group’s work
  • Any other format.

Group feedback can also be presented in various formats, from embodied to written and beyond. Participants from each Hub will be asked to provide a brief 3-5 minute report at the final “State of the Field” plenary. Hub participation counts towards a person’s singular conference presentation.  

Lightning Sessions:Lightning sessions run 60 minutes, can take a variety of formats, and should include at least three presenters and a moderator/respondent. Formats might include: 

  • Multiple related Ignite or PechaKucha presentations, followed by discussion.
  • Long Table conversations
  • Discussion Groups, for which applicants propose a one-time open discussion that brings participants together to engage with materials (scholarly papers, published books, dance practices or productions) read and/or viewed prior to the conference. 

To propose a lightning session, the organizer should submit a title, an outline of the topic (250 words or less), an explanation of the structure of the session, and names of all participants.

Posted by Dospel & GanjaParker