Conferences / Annual Conference

GALVANIZING DANCE/STUDIES: Building Antiracist Praxis, Transformative Connections, and Movement(s) of Radical Care

October 10 – October 17, 2021
Rutgers University/ Hyatt Regency
New Brunswick, NJ, USA

The DSA 2021 Program Committee collectively re-imagines this international conference as a vessel that builds, explores, collaborates, performs, and agitates current practices within the field(s) of dance. Specifically, as our first COVID-times conference, it is important that our work responds to our current global crises. We imagine this conference as the start of a long process of holding ourselves to account. As dancers/scholars, we can equitably uphold diverse movement(s) of care and connection. From this generative yet fractious position, our theme, “Galvanizing Dance/Studies,” calls for dancers, choreographers, activists, curators, pedagogues, technologists, scholars, and those who otherwise engage with dance and movement practices to submit proposals that interrogate the many embodied, disembodied, and colonial laden conversations around the urgent needs of our current moment, by putting theory into action.

Knowing that this year’s conference format and structures will be curated to expose, dismantle, challenge, and transform white, supremacist practices of convening and assembly, we seek a wide range of critical perspectives and modalities that yield to future propositions, questions, and/or critiques.  

As always, DSA welcomes all proposals that address the full spectrum of dance studies and practice. This year, we particularly invite you to consider the multiple ways your work intersects with each of the following sub-themes:


In the spirit of the conference theme of “galvanization,” DSA encourages submissions to a new presentation format: Hubs. Briefly, Hubs consist of 12 linked presentations, of any format, meeting three times over the course of the conference, for 90 minutes each day. Please note that you must opt-in to participate in a Hub using the submission portal, as applications are made individually. It is DSA policy that individuals only present research once throughout each conference; your Hub participation counts as your singular presentation and will you not be able to submit a proposal in any additional formats. At the time of submission, you will be asked to choose the sub-themes (listed above) that best represent your work and answer demographic questions to ensure that presenters from various geographic locations and career trajectories will be present. Accepted Hub members will dive deeply into each other’s work during their three Hub sessions, at which conference attendees can be audience members. Because this conference is privileging intersectional collaborative efforts that feature research from those working across diverse fields, Hubs are strongly encouraged and have the highest likelihood of acceptance

Presentations may include Hubs, Lightning Sessions, Gatherings, Individual Papers, Panels, Lecture/Demonstrations, Movement Workshops, Dance Works (using outdoor or indoor sites) and Screendances (see DSA’s guidelines about presentation types). Individual proposals are welcome, but sessions that are already grouped have a higher likelihood of acceptance and are encouraged. The conference will be held on the ground in Brunswick, New Jersey, but applicants who cannot attend in person can apply to be part of remote sessions at the time of submission.

Please note that all in-person attendees must comply with Rutgers University mandated COVID safety protocols, including required vaccinations.  Thank you for helping us prioritize the health and safety of our community in this way. DSA will also require indoor masking. Registrants will be required to securely upload their vaccine card via HealthShield (powered by 42chat) by October 8th.  Directions will be sent directly to registrants via email.

Conference details




Early Registration (until August 12)

Regular Registration (August 13- 
Oct 5)

On-Site Registration (October 14)

Single Day Registration* (until October 5, 2021)

Virtual Registration (until October 5, 2021)

DSA Member







DSA Member (Student or Contingent Worker)












Non-Member (Student or Contingent Worker)






Early registration closes August 12th at 11:59pm Central Standard Time (CST) 

Regular registration closes October 5th at 11:59pm Central Standard Time (CST) 

On-site full conference available October 14.

Single day on-site registration available October 14-16.

After September 1st registration for Galvanizing Dance Studies is non-refundable, as DSA plans for the conference catering, A/V, and space rental based on current registration.

NOTE: All presenters (both virtual and in-person) must be registered by June 1st to confirm participation, allowing time for the DSA Program Committee to finalize the schedule by late August.

*Single-day registration does not include Opening Reception or Awards Luncheon.

*Virtual Registration includes livestreamed plenaries, performances, panels, and events. Exact virtual offerings to be announced with full conference schedule in late August.

Please note that all in-person attendees must comply with Rutgers University mandated COVID safety protocols, including required vaccinations.  Religious and health-related exceptions will be allowed. Thank you for helping us prioritize the health and safety of our community in this way.


Program Committee

Local Arrangements


READ FULL PROSPECTUS HERE for details and pricing



  • Display by Table
  • Display by Book (virtual or in-person)


  • Conference Sponsorship
  • Opening Reception
  • Plenary Sponsor
  • Membership/Awards Luncheon, Table Sponsor


  • Mobile App, Banner Ad
  • Push Notification


International Travel and COVID Restrictions:

Due to ongoing COVID-related travel restrictions, travel to the US for international scholars may require additional exemptions, visas, and documentation. This is handled on a case-by-case basis, and is different for each country of origin, and processed differently at each consulate or embassy. To check the most up to date information on US visa and entry restrictions for scholars, visit NAFSA Association of International Educators.

NIE (National Interest Exemptions) for travel are being processed on a case-by-case basis and academic conferences fall into a grey area, meaning each person must beg their case and hope for a sympathetic ear. An NIE is valid for 12-month once it is granted, so make an appointment at your consultant/embassy now, following your embassy's specific guidelines for NIE application. Generally, this is easier than a visa appointment and application.

For accepted conference presenters, email DSA at to get a formal letter arguing for the cultural value and academic impact of your research presentation. This will be a part of your NIE application process. This letter will also be important for Canadian scholars to have as they board airplanes bound for the US.


Our conference hotel will be the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick and rooms are available at $179/night and can be BOOKED HERE

This reduced rate will be available until September 12th, or until all rooms are full. 

Pre-Conference Workshops


Thursday, October 14th, 2021

Supported by a 2021 Major Project Initiatives grant from The American Society of Aesthetics

Cosmo-uBuntu and Rhythm: An Epistemological Re-Centering of Rhythm

AI4Afrika (Artificial Intelligence 4 Afrika) is a world-wide consortium of artists, scholars and technologists who have come together to advance an epistemological reorientation toward Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, one that is rooted/grounded in Africana conceptual systems and centers the lived experiences of Black/Africana peoples. AI4A understands that AI as fundamentally human intelligence, augmented. Artificial Intelligence, grounded in a Cartesian conception of personhood— “I think, therefore I am,” is at odds with the relational, Africanist philosophy of Ubuntu: “I am, because WE are,” or “a person is a person through persons.” The epistemological exclusivity of most contemporary approaches to AI and machine learning has led to a reproduction/reiteration of asymmetrical power relations that continue to disadvantage and/or overlook Africana demographics. By grounding itself in what Mozambican philosopher José Cossa calls “Cosmo-uBuntu,” AI4Afrika centers (human) relationality as that which informs all life-experience and life-processes. This epistemological shift radically reframes applications of human intelligence towards augmentation, Artificial Intelligence within an Africanist framework.

Scholarships available, please scroll for further information

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this announcement do not necessarily represent those of the American Society for Aesthetics.


Morning Workshop: 9-11:30 am

Location: Rutgers University Dance Department studio

(5 minute walk from Rutgers University Inn and Conference Center accommodations)

Embodiology: Sensory Instantiation of Dynamic Rhythm

S. Ama Wray, facilitator, with Tawanda Chabikwa

Workshop Description: Embodiology® is a culturally inclusive approach to improvisation, a neo-African improvisation-as-performance methodology. It is a practice which priorities embodiment of rhythm which begins with the breath, expanding to build collaborative relationships between performers and higher embodied rhythmic literacy. Leading with play, joy and curiosity navigate through the prosodic multidimensionality of rhythm and embody its features of pattern, silence, tone and fractal repetitions enabling a deluge of creativity and corporeal confidence. Workshop includes live music.

NOTE: Limited to 15 total registered participants

NOTE: Readings will be sent upon registration

Lunch Break: 11:30 am-12:30 pm (Please consider pre-ordering lunch at Rutgers’ Inn and Conference Center)

Afternoon Workshop #2a: 12:30-2:30 pm

Location: Conference Room A

Rutgers University Inn and Conference Center, 178 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick NJ 08901

Black Somatics

Grisha Coleman, facilitator

NOTE: Limited to 10-12 registered participants

This workshop is limited to self-identified BIPOC participants. Thanks for understanding.

ALSO: Please bring your own yoga mat or beach towel for floor work on the carpeted surface

I argue [. . .] that technology’s embedded function of self-extension may be exploited to liberate race from an inherited position of abjection toward a greater expression of agency. In this case, agency indicates presence, will, and movement — the ability to move freely as a being—and it is not restricted to individuals but also includes systems: it concerns how beings are subjected in systems of power, ideology, and other networks. - B. Coleman, “Race As Technology,” Camera Obscura 70, Vol. 24, No. 1 Duke University Press, 2009, doi 10.1215/02705346-2008-018.

Workshop Description: A practice-based exploration rarely experienced; a floor-full of Black and Brown folk in conversation with their bodies “as perceived from within" [1] through the simplicity and genius of Moshe Feldenkrais’ method, and his Awareness Through Movement™ lessons, this workshop will be framed through a prism of questions that continue to impact our communities of color: 1). What is carried with us, ancestrally speaking, through our soma? 2). Could sustained opportunities for self-understanding and self-care accumulate to bend this arc towards greater agency and liberation? This workshop seeks to set this enlightening and enlivening practice in the contexts of people of color as a healing and creative practice.

Required readings: Please select among 5 readings listed below for prompts and discussion during both afternoon workshops:

  • “Black People Figured Out How to Make Culture in Freefall’: Arthur Jafa on the Creative Power of Melancholy”
  • “Be still and know: authentic movement, witness and embodied testimony” Christopher-Rasheem Mcmillan. Dance, Movement & Spiritualities 5 (1), 2018. doi: 10.1386/dmas.5.1.71_1
  • Reach, Robot: AfroFuturist Technologies. Coleman, G, DeFrantz, Thomas F. ‘We travelled the Space Way: Black Imagination, Fragments and Diffractions. Springer Verlag Series. 2019 Eds. H. Gunkle and K. Lynch.
  • Coleman, Beth. “Race as Technology.” Camera Obscura 70, Vol. 24, No. 1, Duke University Press, 2009. doi 10.1215/02705346-2008-018.
  • Wynter, Sylvia. “On Being Human as a Praxis,” K. McKittrick, Duke University Press, 2015.

Workshop #2b

12:30-2:30 pm: Break-out groups, facilitated by workshop leaders

Location: Scarlet All-purpose Room

Rutgers University Inn and Conference Center

178 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick NJ 08901

NOTE: Limited to 12 registered participants

a. Black Somatics philosophy and aesthetics readings

b. Embodiology philosophy and aesthetics readings: sent upon registration

c. Cosmo-uBuntu philosophy and aesthetics readings: sent upon registration

Final Group Meeting #3:

2:30-3:00 pm: Return to large group discussion

Location: Conference Center, in or outside patio, weather-permitting

Please reserve your space when conference registration opens

NOTE: You are welcome to register for Morning Workshop #1 only OR Morning and Afternoon workshop #2a OR #2b, plus Final Group Meeting #3.

Workshop Fees:

Workshop #1 only: $25

Workshop #2a OR #2b only: $25

Workshop #3: No charge

Workshops #1 and #2a, + #3: $40

Workshops #1 and #2b, + #3: #40

See below for scholarship opportunities

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Accommodations option: Rutgers University Inn and Conference Center, 178 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick NJ, 08901

The Rutgers Inn and Conference Center is available for Wednesday night, October 13, 2021 reservations prior to the Pre-DSA Conference Workshop, beginning at 9 am on Thursday, October 14, 2021.

NOTE: The DSA Conference begins at 4:00 Thursday, October 14, 2021, downtown, at the Hyatt Hotel, New Brunswick. Rutgers’ bus system stops very near the Inn and Conference Center and you can depart downtown near the Hyatt Hotel.

For reservations: please phone: 732-932-9144.

For further questions, please email:


Tawanda Chabikwa (Zimbabwe/U.S.A.) is a Zimbabwean-born artist-scholar engaged with interdisciplinary research in Africana Studies, contemporary African theatrical dance, Africana cosmologies and philosophy, postcolonial modernities, artificial intelligence, and practice-based research methodologies. He joins UTEP from the University of California, Merced where he served as lecturer of Histories of American Social Dance, Latin American Dance Ensemble, Popular Dance & Africana Identities, Conceptual Art, and African Philosophy. Dr. Chabikwa earned a doctoral degree in Africana Studies from The Ohio State University and the MFA in dance from Southern Methodist University. He is currently a member of the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance (CADD). Prior to pursuing doctoral studies in 2011, Dr. Chabikwa was interim artistic director of Tumbuka Dance Company in Zimbabwe.

Grisha Coleman (U.S.A.) is time-based artist working in performance and experiential media. Her work explores relationships between physiological, technological and ecological systems. She holds the position of associate professor of movement, computation and digital media in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, affiliated with Schools of Dance and the Design at Arizona State University. She performed with Urban Bush Women and founded the music performance group HOTMOUTH and was nominated for a 1998 NYC Drama Desk Award for "Most Unique Theatrical Experience."

Ama S. Wray (UK/USA) is associate professor of dance at University of California, Irvine. She is a former U.K NESTA Fellow (National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts) and an improviser, choreographer, director, teacher and scholar. She received her Ph.D. from University of Surrey (UK) where she developed her theory and practice of Embodiology®, a neo-African approach to contemporary dance improvisation.

Pre-conference Workshop Scholarships Announcement

The American Society of Aesthetics Major Initiatives Project Fund announces 4 full scholarships for the following opportunities:

  • All Workshop Fees
  • Wednesday October 13th, private single room accommodation
  • Thursday October 14th, buffet breakfast at Rutgers Inn and Conference Center

Call for Pre-conference workshop scholarship applications:

  • 1 Dance Studies graduate student, terminal degree (MFA/PhD)
  • 1 Philosophy/Aesthetics graduate student (terminal PhD degree)
  • 1 Emerging Dance Studies scholar (within 7 years of graduation)
  • 1 Emerging Philosophy/Aesthetics scholar (within 7 years of graduation)

Please submit your application for 1 specific scholarship category, including your name (with return email contact information); 100-150 word biography; current affiliation, including year in academic program, year in current appointment, or independent status; and, based on workshop descriptions, a 200-word statement of interest articulating 2 separate research questions for further inquiry

Submit to: DSA Pre-conference Workshop Scholarship application c/o Jeff Friedman, Associate Professor of Dance Studies Dance Department, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University

Deadline: June 1, 2021, Notification: June 30, 2021