Dance in the Age of Forgetfulness


Deadline: Friday 15th September 

Contact Details: 

Call for Conference Contributions:

Dance in the Age of Forgetfulness

18-20 April 2018

Royal Holloway, University of London

Organised by Society for Dance Research

Please note: deadline now extended to Friday 15th September

What does dance bring to the current historical moment, rife with all its crises? Current political crises are characterised by a move to the right and include the resurgence of nationalism and fascism. War and conflict are causing humanitarian crises, including the mass displacement of people, which is met with a degree of indifference and inadequate response in the West. Crises also continue to exist on an environmental and economic level, with the two seemingly at odds with one another.

How does or might dance dismantle the notions underpinning these crises by engaging with memory, history and community in an embodied way?

Why might dance be one of the best ways to visualise the importance of history?

What do dancing bodies bring to the re-mapping of history?

What is the relationship between dance and the notion of the historical present, which necessitates movements backwards and forwards as a kind of vibration?

How does dance intersect with the opportunities and potential of the current historical moment (e.g. the digital revolution and semiotic democracy; alternative, autonomous communities; decoloniality and the refashioning of hybrid identities; postmodern transculturalism; queer futures; a plurality of artistic forms and aesthetics, fuelled by interdisciplinarity, etc.)?

Dance in the Age of Forgetfulness aims to explore the following topics:

• History / Historiography: How do we continue to practice dance history in an ahistorical moment? What might the strategies be to make history present and palpable in a time when the dance economy seems intent on innovation and spectacle at the expense of historical understanding?

• Arts Pedagogy: How do educators enable students to navigate the vast digital archive of knowledge and images? How do educators negotiate the need to learn the canon? How can dance help to question canon building? How can arts educators engender arts advocacy, civic engagement and political activism in students?

• Practice / Choreography: In a time when much conceptual dance disavows tradition and aesthetic histories of dance, what can temporality and engagement with history offer?

• Cultural memory: How might the notions of forgetting and amnesia influence conceptions of cultural memory? What is the importance of remembering and forgetting through dance and other physical acts and rituals in dealing with collective trauma?

• Digital context: How does dance provide ways in which to navigate the ever-present now, which is always there but at the same time inaccessible?

• Globality / Communities: How do dance and the wider arts address globality, the movement of bodies and the shifting of histories as a way to build and shape communities? How does dance help to mobilise the potential of collective agency? What role do corporeality and performance play in the gathering of people in protests?

We envisage these discussions and contributions to be embedded in scholarly and artistic frameworks concerning power, politics and economies.

We welcome proposals for papers, panels, roundtables and non-conventional forms of presentation (including performative papers, performances and workshops), related to the conference theme.

Deadline: Please send your proposal of 250-300 words to Iris Chan via by 15 September 2017. Successful applicants will be notified by 1 November 2017.

Conference committee: Melissa Blanco Borelli (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Lise Uytterhoeven (London Studio Centre)

Publication: Contributions to the Dance in the Age of Forgetfulness conference will be considered for subsequent publication in a dedicated edited collection. More details will be announced in due course, but if you are interested, please consider how you might develop your conference contribution into a book chapter.

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