Dancing Resilience: Dance Studies and Activism in a Global Age

deadline for submissions: 
February 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Dance Studies Association

Vancouver, located on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, has long been a site of occupation, exchange, defiance and resilience. From time immemorial, it has been a location of trade and traversal across coastal Indigenous communities of the Pacific and, in more recent centuries, a place where other diverse cultures from across the world have also negotiated relation across colonial pathways and settlements. Vancouver is a site of multiple Nation to Nation relationships. It is a site of resistance as well as capitulation to uneven development, neoliberal markets, colonial laws, and to exclusion – situations exacerbated by the recent pandemic.

At this conference in Vancouver, the first DSA gathering in Canada, we invite presenters to explore dance and activism in localized and transcultural settings, and to share their strategies for galvanizing change on the stage, street, screen and within the academy. Just as Vancouver serves as a powerful and complex example of both vexing histories and determined hope, we encourage participants to demonstrate how dance in other places intervenes in a range of issues, including race relations, gender-related rights, and land disputes. At the same time, the trend to commodify activism carries the potential for cultures of transformation to be appropriated into structures of power and domination. In this gathering we wish to share the frameworks of dancing and dance scholarship that provide space for debate, optimism, activism, and social movement.

Presentations may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • How COVID-19 has influenced the ways we think of “resilience” and “activism” in dance in localized and/ or global contexts
  • Transformational relationships between land, memory and dance practice
  • Strategies of decolonization and reconciliation through movement and/or collaborative activist enactments of protocol and reciprocity through dancing and dance research
  • Dance as activist archive, and as archive of activism
  • Activist dance pedagogy and curriculum development as well as efforts to address, oppose, and redress exclusivity within academic institutions
  • Connections between media, dance, and social movements
  • Theories of optimism as factors in activist agendas, and their relation to dance
  • Critiques of resilience within structures of ongoing domination, and their relation to dance
  • Economies of dance performance, presenting, and philanthropy, and their impacts on social justice work
  • Transcultural and transnational action and exchange, models for dance activism in particular geopolitical contexts
  • How the creative process can serve as a locus of resilience and/or activism
  • Historiography as activism.

Proposed presentations may take the form of papers, panels, roundtable discussions, lecture-demonstrations, movement workshops, dance works using indoor or outdoor sites, screendances, and hub collectives. Papers that are pre-grouped into panels are encouraged and have higher likelihood of acceptance. Individual papers will be grouped into panels by the program committee. Multi-day HUB conversations around specific topics will be announced.