Dr. Harmony Bench is an interdisciplinary scholar of dance and performance who specializes in screen media. She analyzes how technologies facilitate the dissemination and circulation of dance practices, and traces the consequences across aesthetic, political, cultural, and philosophical registers. Deep investments in corporeality and sensuous scholarship are at the core of her inquiry, which she locates in dance and performance studies, screendance, media studies and digital humanities, and performance philosophy.
David Covey's lighting design research explores the phrasing of light and color as applied to movement, currently exploring the attributes of LED technologies in combination with quartz fixtures. This work is augmented through the creation of a series of acrylic shape-based paintings/compositions over the past two years. In addition he continues to explore interdisciplinary work, integrating interactive kinetic landscapes with improvised movement scores in a performance setting.
Dr. Melanye Dixon's scholarship creates space in the Dance Studies canon for the narratives of Black women teachers, dancers, and choreographers. Additional research interests include cross-cultural literacy in dance teacher education, K-12 dance pedagogy, outreach and community engagement, and the Black Continuum in American Dance.
Dr. Karen Eliot's research and writing center on aspects of western concert dance history, especially from the 18th through the 20th centuries. She is particularly intrigued by questions regarding dancers' contributions to the history of ballet and other forms of concert dance. Another area of her research focuses on dance during war and trauma, and on dancers' experiences during these times of turbulence.
Dr. Hannah Kosstrin researches how dancing bodies signify their relationships to social, aesthetic, and legislative politics. Her scholarship examines Jewishness and gender in twentieth- and twenty-first century concert dance choreography by attending to ramifications of diaspora, nationalism, and ethnicity. Her research questions engage how dances and their receptions manifest globally circulating values related to gender, race, class, and nation through spectatorial interactions. She further asks how we understand our contemporary moment based on the dances that have come before. She renders dances’ materiality and performers’ historical physicalities from archival sources in order to ascertain dancers’ embodiment within their time and what it meant to be a person dancing in their corporeal landscapes. To do this, she uses tools from Laban frameworks to embody and to generate nuanced verbal-kinesthetic language that articulates dancing bodies’ movements and analyze them in relation to the historical and theoretical discourses of a given project.
Crystal Michelle Perkins' primary research focus is the investigation of black female embodiment in contemporary dance performance through solo choreography, group choreographies in alternative spaces and restaging of classic works by black choreographers. Choreographically the research engages themes of African – American folklore, cultural memory, and the politics of identity within an intermedia performance space. Her work considers dance forms of the African Diaspora as a vast system of movement dialects that expand, rather than narrow, the possibilities of black bodies in performance.
Susan Van Pelt Petry explores meaning making through motion, pattern, breath, and design. Her highly physical work can be seen in three categories: solo work for herself, creating work on other dancers, and work for directors of opera or other events. The solo work includes her interest in performing as part of the making and she enjoys the intuitive process that paradoxically calls for objectivity. The work on others is usually developed by a process that combines seed material by Petry with contributions from the dancers, often structured through a musical work or some other kind of design conceit. The work with directors and events is a creative problem-solving puzzle where the best movement and action has to be found to support a director’s vision. Throughout her work themes emerge that have to do with vulnerability and tenacity, women’s stories, and the relationship of the body to the natural and built environment.
Daniel Roberts' choreographic research is rooted in curiosity about time, space, and motion in the natural world. Time-based phenomena, such as weather patterns, serve as inspirational sources for improvisations, movement invention, and spatial patterns/shapes in his choreography. With a background as a pianist, he has a focus on rhythm and musicality that is woven throughout h teaching practices in composition, technique, and directing repertory. As a re-stager of Merce Cunningham’s choreography, his appreciation for technical prowess and rhythmic precision surfaces in an approach that develops each dancer’s musicality and artistry.
Mitchell Rose's dance-films convey choreographic content through cinematic grammar. He uses technology to proffer a humanist vision. The ideas he explores plumb social connectivity in an alienated culture—a romantic existentialism. His work is proudly accessible, endeavoring to connect with the viewer through entertainment, while maintaining an uncompromising artistic sensibility.
Dr. Lucille Toth is an interdisciplinary scholar of dance and Francophone culture who specializes in medical literature and migration studies. For the past years, her work has been focusing on contamination and purity mythologies through the AIDS epidemics on stage. She recently started a new project on borders in which she analyzes medical terminologies used in current political and cultural discourses on migration and the ways in which movement and dance can facilitate new migration narratives. From one crisis (AIDS epidemics) to another (current migration), her work locates bodies in motion (through choreographies or forced migration) as symptomatic of our global history.
Valarie Williams focuses on the scholarship of dance documentation and preservation through Labanotation, the process of scoring and directing works from score, and through archival preservation of collections. Multi-media projects that address dance documentation have received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, and Dance Heritage Coalition, and are published by Insight Media.
Norah Zuniga-Shaw's creative and research interests center on choreographic knowledge as a locus for interdisciplinary and intercultural creativity. In the past decade her major projects have focused largely on analysis, discovery and visualization of choreographic principles through collaborative projects involving artists and scientists. This line of inquiry has more recently extended into artist-driven investigation and creation of humane technologies.