Yesterday afternoon was the opening Plenary. Three dance scholars spoke. It was really inspiring for me because they talked about ideas within the terms of dance rather than ‘about dance’. I found that how they presented resonated with my thinking that dance study is about starting within the thinking and knowledge that dance (and the arts) offers and using this to critically look at the (whole) world not just how high your arabesque is. Dr. George-Graves talked about her life, citing bell hooks call to connect our lives through honest openness to our research, in order to acknowledge the messiness of things at times. She talked about her washing machine braking, Children’s theatre, the texts and performance legacy of slavery and also said sometimes she feels as if she is banging her head ‘against a brick wall and a glass ceiling’ at the same time – totally verbalises my feelings at times too!!!!
Dr. Garcia talked about oppressed and labouring bodies the way Mexican migrant worker’s bodies are treated. New possibilities in interdisciplinary work, that can explore more complex identities in a multi-cultural world. How dance is connected and disconnected to cultural studies.
Dr. Wong talked about how dance can situate itself. How people see it as ‘fun, entertaining and eye candy’ and as dance scholars we sometimes have to defend the very aspects of dance we are critically deconstructing. (example me defending Ballet last week at Re:Generations London!!!)
I was affirmed in feeling that dance gives a kind of knowledge and this knowledge can be brought to other fields. Not so much inter-disciplinary as a widening of the narrow expectations that people outside dance assume we are interested in.
Today is a full day. I present this afternoon. In other news it turns out I am almost in the heart of the city (downtown) its just people don’t really walk much!!