is the Dance Studies Association
Inaugural Conference 2017

Transmissions and Traces: Rendering Dance
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio
October 19–22, 2017

Proposals due 4 December 2017

The Dance Studies Association (merging organization of the Society of Dance History Scholars and Congress on Research in Dance) is hosting our international conference in Valletta, Malta 5-8 July 2018. We invite proposals for papers, panels, roundtable discussions, lecture-demonstrations, movement workshops, dance works using outdoor or indoor sites, and screendances that address our theme, “Contra: Dance & Conflict.”

While often used as a metaphor for peace, the reality of dancing, dance-making, and scholarship surrounding dance is often one of conflict. Yet, as a venue for interaction, friction, and potential energy, conflict can be as creative as it is destructive. This conference seeks to celebrate and examine conflicts and contentions in:

Social dance: Dance-offs; cyphers and battles; dancing for social mobility; dance competitions.

Politics: Cold War aesthetic arsenal; ballet de cour; rivalry or stylistic differences within and between dance styles; choreographic responses to crises

Activism: staged actions of resistance, choreographies of protest; politically-themed work; conflict resolution

Dance Techniques: conflicting notions of safety, empowerment, aesthetics, nationality, and lineage

Choreography: conflict in devising and collaboration; choreographer-dramaturg-dancer-composer dynamics; fight choreography; partnering

Dance (in) education: theory versus/and/in practice; conflicting pedagogical strategies and goals; dancing in higher education and professional training dilemmas

We seek scholars, dancers and other performing artists, choreographers, performance-based activists, and arts administrators and organizers to address questions including:

  • How has dance served as a vehicle for reconciliation?
  • How has choreography represented, exposed, or challenged practices of violence and war?
  • What choreographic strategies are at work in rallying support for or against war, or in battle itself?
  • What are conflict management techniques within group derived choreography? How has conflict been productive in dance devising? How might these be applied to clashes outside the studio?
  • How might we (re)consider relationships between dance and martial arts contemporary techniques?
  • What are the conflicts within dance studies? Are there means of reconciling or using these conflicts productively that are informed by dance practice?
  • What are the interventions of choreographic thinking, performing, and dance therapy within group and individual counseling discourses?
  • What are choreographies, techniques, or individual accomplishments that might not have been actualized had it not been for substantial conflict (here, concepts of nemesis, injury, or race might be considered)? How is this process of formation still found in the product? How might this unique process be theorized?
  • How is conflict at work in choreographies broadly considered, such as relations among and antagonisms between bodies in collectives and political movements, protests, and physical dynamics of democracies?
  • How have state-sanctioned dances been sources of conflict, and what have been the ramifications of such conflicts?

Abstracts consist of 250 words plus three keywords. Panels should include an additional 150-word rationale. Please see FAQ and contact with any questions.

Abstracts for Proposals are to be submitted to 

 by 4 December 2017. Although priority will be given to proposals that relate to the conference theme, we welcome proposals that address the full spectrum of dance studies and practice. We also encourage fully-formed panel and performance submissions.

Information regarding travel support, debut panels, as well as full conference proposal guidelines will be available on the conference website on October 30, 2017:


Program Committee

Takiyah Nur Amin, Davidson College
Karima W. Borni, Middlebury College
Ramsey Burt, De Montfort University Leicester
Jo Butterworth, University of Malta
Yaping Chen, Taipei National University of the Arts
Meiver De la Cruz, Oberlin College
Thomas F. DeFrantz, Duke University
Jens Richard Giersdorf, Marymount Manhattan College
Nicole Haitzinger, University Salzburg
Jasmine Johnson, Brown University
Royona Mitra, Brunel University London
Janet O'Shea, UCLA
Stacey Prickett, University of Roehampton
Danielle Robinson, York University
Malaika Sarco-Thomas, University of Malta
Kin-Yan Szeto, Appalachian State University
Sarah Whatley, Coventry University 

Chair: Brandon Shaw, University of Malta

Frequently Asked Questions

For general guidelines, please consult:

Q: What is DSA’s (Dance Studies Association) relationship to the Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS) and the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD)?

A: On July 12, 2017, CORD (founded 1969) and SDHS (founded 1978) successfully merged into the Dance Studies Association, registered as a not-for-profit organization.

Q: How is my proposal considered? Can I receive feedback?

A: The abstract submission process is blind review by the Program Committee, and each submission is scored by three reviewers. The Program Committee is unable to provide written feedback on submissions.

Q: How many conference sessions may I present in? 

A: - You may submit only one proposal to the Program Committee, and your name may appear on the conference program only once as a presenter (this includes individual papers, pre-formed panels, and roundtable sessions). However, you may also serve as a moderator, although not for your own panel, and if invited you may speak on a panel honoring another scholar.

Q: What do we mean by keywords for a proposal? 

A: The keywords denote the main topic or topics with which your presentation aligns or how you would like your research to be categorized. We will use the keywords to 1) match abstracts to Program Committee evaluators based on research expertise and 2) to group presentations within the conference schedule. Examples: tango, identity, kathakali. 

Q: How should I list presenters to a roundtable?

A: Click “Roundtable” in the first row of radio buttons. Enter the name of the roundtable and keywords for the roundtable in the “General Information” section. Under the Presenters section, put the abstract for the roundtable under “Author 1” (this will be the contact for the roundtable). Add additional authors for everyone on the roundtable. In Authors 2 and onward, indicate “participant on this roundtable” in the abstract section since you only need to submit one abstract for the roundtable. However, if your individual panelists need or want to include their own presentation titles or abstracts, they can do so but should make it clear that is what is happening. 

QDoes the conference offer remote participation for presenters?
A: In the spirit of building an intellectual and moving community of dance researchers, Dance Studies Association requires conference participants to deliver their presentations in person. If you live in a region or are in a circumstance that inhibits your travel, we will consider remote requests on a case-by-case basis. Please submit a proposal through the current online form, and under the technical requirements section, explain your situation and need to present remotely. 

Q: Is there mentoring provided for Graduate students and early career scholars? How about travel stipends?

A: Yes. For links regarding Debut Panel Submissions, Travel Awards, and Selma Jeanne Cohen Award at

Congress on Research in Dance and Society of Dance History Scholars
7044 S. 13th Street, Oak Creek, WI 53154

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