Dance Studies Association 2018 Conference
Contra: Dance & Conflict

July 5-8, 2018
University of Malta
Valletta, Malta

Deadline 8 January 2018

The Dance Studies Association is hosting our second conference in Valletta, Malta 5-8 July 2018. We invite proposals for papers, panels, roundtable discussions, lecture-demonstrations, movement workshops, dance works using outdoor or indoor sites, and screendances that address our theme, “Contra: Dance & Conflict.” 

While often used as a metaphor for peace, the reality of dancing, dance-making, and scholarship surrounding dance is often one of conflict. Yet, as a venue for interaction, friction, and potential energy, conflict can be as creative as it is destructive. This conference seeks to celebrate and examine conflicts and contentions in:

Social dance: Dance-offs; cyphers and battles; dancing for social mobility; dance competitions.

Politics: Cold War aesthetic arsenal; ballet de cour; rivalry or stylistic differences within and between dance styles; choreographic responses to crises

Activism: staged actions of resistance, choreographies of protest; politically-themed work; conflict resolution

Dance Techniques: conflicting notions of safety, empowerment, aesthetics, nationality, and lineage

Choreography: conflict in devising and collaboration; choreographer-dramaturg-dancer-composer dynamics; fight choreography; partnering

Dance (in) education: theory versus/and/in practice; conflicting pedagogical strategies and goals; dancing in higher education and professional training dilemmas

We seek scholars, dancers and other performing artists, choreographers, performance-based activists, and arts administrators and organizers to address questions including:

  • How has dance served as a vehicle for reconciliation?
  • How has choreography represented, exposed, or challenged practices of violence and war?
  • What choreographic strategies are at work in rallying support for or against war, or in battle itself?
  • What are conflict management techniques within group derived choreography? How has conflict been productive in dance devising? How might these be applied to clashes outside the studio?
  • How might we (re)consider relationships between dance and martial arts contemporary techniques?
  • What are the conflicts within dance studies? Are there means of reconciling or using these conflicts productively that are informed by dance practice?
  • What are the interventions of choreographic thinking, performing, and dance therapy within group and individual counseling discourses?
  • What are choreographies, techniques, or individual accomplishments that might not have been actualized had it not been for substantial conflict (here, concepts of nemesis, injury, or race might be considered)? How is this process of formation still found in the product? How might this unique process be theorized? 
  • How is conflict at work in choreographies broadly considered, such as relations among and antagonisms between bodies in collectives and political movements, protests, and physical dynamics of democracies? 
  • How have state-sanctioned dances been sources of conflict, and what have been the ramifications of such conflicts?

Abstracts consist of 250 words plus three keywords. Panels should include an additional 150-word rationale. Please see FAQ and contact i with any questions.

Abstracts for Proposals are to be submitted to by 8 January 2017. Although priority will be given to proposals that relate to the conference theme, we welcome proposals that address the full spectrum of dance studies and practice. We also encourage fully-formed panel and performance submissions. 

For Guidelines, see

Information regarding travel support, the Selma Jeanne Cohen award, and debut panels see:

Debut Panel Submissions 

Graduate students and early career scholars who have not previously presented at DSA (or under the CORD+SDHS joint conference) have the option to apply for a Debut Panel that includes mentorship from a senior scholar. The scholar will mentor Debut Panel participants by reading papers in advance, providing feedback, and moderating the panel at the conference. 

Panelists have fifteen minutes to present their papers (submission should be approximately seven pages, or 1500–1750 words, double spaced). There will be a maximum of four panelists per Debut Panel. 

Interested applicants should indicate that they are applying for a Debut Panel on their conference proposal submission by December 11. Applicants will receive general conference acceptance notices in February. If applicants are accepted to the general conference, they must submit their full conference paper for Debut Panel consideration by June 1. They will be notified if they are selected for a Debut Panel by May 1. Debut Panel Mentor Faculty will contact panelists by June 1 to coordinate feedback. 

Applicants who are accepted for the conference but not chosen for a Debut Panel are still invited to present their research at the conference.  

Conference Program Committee

Takiyah Nur Amin, Davidson College
Karima W. Borni, Middlebury College
Ramsey Burt, De Montfort University Leicester
Jo Butterworth, University of Malta
Yaping Chen, Taipei National University of the Arts
Meiver De la Cruz, Oberlin College
Thomas F. DeFrantz, Duke University
Jens Richard Giersdorf, Marymount Manhattan College
Nicole Haitzinger, University Salzburg
Jasmine Johnson, Brown University
Janet O'Shea, UCLA
Stacey Prickett, University of Roehampton
Danielle Robinson, York University
Malaika Sarco-Thomas, University of Malta
Brandon Shaw, University of Malta (Chair)
Kin-Yan Szeto, Appalachian State University
Sarah Whatley, Coventry University

Dance Studies Association
7044 S. 13th Street, Oak Creek, WI 53154

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software