Students establishing their place
CORPS de Ballet
In June 2011, PhD candidate Jessica Zeller and MFA candidate Joyelle Fobbs attended the annual conference of the Council of Organized Researchers for the Pedagogical Study of Ballet, International (CORPS de Ballet) in Kansas City, Missouri. CORPS is a professional organization whose constituents are primarily ballet teachers in higher education. The conference theme was Legacies of Ballet: Examining Tradition and Innovation, and a portion of the conference was dedicated to the kickoff of the Antony Tudor Dance Studies Curriculum. Tudor Trust members and répétiteurs- including Trust Director Sally Brayley Bliss, Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner of American Ballet Theatre, and James Jordan of Kansas City Ballet- presented and discussed Tudor choreography and taught classes for conference participants. Zeller presented a paper derived from her MFA research, entitled “Playing ‘Telephone' With Technique: Issues of Ballet's Lineage and Legacy.” Zeller and Fobbs also took classes and attended presentations at the conference.
-by Joyelle Fobbs
So much of what we do as choreographers, teachers and performers is about our history. Whether it is a history we choose to honor, challenge, build upon, or be inspired by, our doing is always connected to those things that have already been done. On January 26, 2012, the International Association of Blacks in Dance met in Toronto, Ontario for its 24th annual conference proceedings to celebrate a richly diverse history of dance making within the African Diaspora. This year, through generous support from the Department, several students, including Joyelle Fobbs, Crystal Irvin, Andre Morgan, and Crystal Fuller-Perkins, were able to honor their histories along with some of the most important artists and scholars within the black dance aesthetic. Joan Myers Brown (Founder and Artistic Director of Philadanco), and Dr. Brenda Dixon Gottschild (writer on dance and culture) inspired us to be innovators during a panel discussion about their new book Joan Myers Brown & the Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina: A Biohistory of American Performance. Chuck Davis (Founder and Artistic Director of African American Dance Ensemble) awakened our spirits at the midnight bantaba, a late-night, high-energy African dance class with over 200 participants. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater encouraged our dedication to performance with an unforgettable presentation of Camille A. Brown's The Evolution of a Secured Feminine. There are very few moments when we can both witness and share in such a rich tradition of American performance. We look forward to next year's conference, where the theme will be Celebrating our legacy… Embracing our Future.
-by Crystal Fuller-Perkins
As a joint meeting between the Congress on Research in Dance and the Society for Ethnomusicology, the 2011 CORD Conference (November 16-20, 2012 in Philadelphia, PA) was a unique opportunity for scholars from both professional organizations to reconsider the relationship between music and dance as art forms, as well as the methodologies which have historically accompanied the study of each. Topics represented included the role of music in the development of the Waltz, an analysis of surfing as a dance practice, music visualization in William Forsythe's work, and the role of YouTube in the spread of line dances, among others. Speakers from both organizations took the conference as an opportunity to both reconsider their own topics and to venture into new territories. Overarching considerations included such dualities as the urban and the rural, tradition and modernity, as well as issues of hybridity and critical pedagogy. The panel discussion on the state of the dance field centered around working to move past the theory/practice divide, engaging established faculty members with new ideas, and negotiating recent paradigm and economic shifts in the academy.
-by Alexandra Harlig