Conferences / Annual Conference

Dancing Resilience: Dance Studies and Activism in a Global Age


October 15 – October 18, 2020
Simon Fraser University; Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Vancouver, located on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, has long been a site of occupation, exchange, defiance and resilience. From time immemorial, it has been a location of trade and traversal across coastal Indigenous communities of the Pacific and, in more recent centuries, a place where diverse cultures from across the world have encountered each other and interacted through colonial pathways and settlement. Vancouver is a site of Indigenous and international relationships. It is a site of resistance to uneven development, neoliberal markets, colonial laws, and to exclusion.

At this conference in Vancouver, the first DSA gathering in Canada, we invite presenters to explore dance and activism in localized and transcultural settings, and to share their strategies for productive change on the stage, street, screen and within the academy. In the same way that Vancouver serves as a powerful and complex example of both vexing histories and determined hope, we encourage participants to demonstrate how dance in other places intervenes in a range of issues, including race relations, gender-related rights, and land disputes. At the same time, the trend to commodify activism carries the potential for cultures of transformation to be appropriated into structurers of power and domination. In this gathering we wish to share the frameworks of dancing and dance scholarship that provide space for optimism, activism, and social movement.

Presentations may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Transformational relationships between land, memory and dance practice
  • Strategies of decolonization and reconciliation through movement and/or collaborative activist enactments of protocol and reciprocity through dancing and dance research
  • Dance as activist archive, and as archive of activism
  • Activist dance pedagogy and curriculum development as well as efforts to address, oppose, and redress exclusivity within academic institutions
  • Connections between media, dance, and social movements
  • Theories of optimism as factors in activist agendas, and their relation to dance
  • Critiques of resilience within structures of ongoing domination, and their relation to dance
  • Economies of dance performance, presenting, and philanthropy, and their impacts on justice work
  • Transcultural and transnational action and exchange, models for dance activism in particular geopolitical contexts

Proposed presentations may take the form of papers, panels, roundtable discussions, lecture-demonstrations, movement workshops, dance works using indoor or outdoor sites, and screendances. Papers that are pre-grouped into panels are encouraged and have higher likelihood of acceptance. Individual papers will be grouped into panels by the program committee. DSA encourages submissions to a new presentation format: hour-long “Lightning Topic” panels, comprised of three 10-minute presentations focused around a vital topic in the field, with 30 minutes of discussion. 

Submissions will open on December 2, 2019 and be closed on February 17, 2020.