Dance Research Journal, December 2016


Volume 48, Number 3. Special Issue: Randy Martin and Dance Studies​

Randy Martin performing in Italy (photographer unknown). Courtesy of GingerGillespie.

Editor: Mark Franko

Guest Editor: Jens Richard Giersdorf

Dance studies as an academic discipline in the Western world is now sufficiently established to have its own lore. Knowing about the destabilizing importance and political function of gossip and storytelling (Besnier 2009), we want to start this special issue celebrating Randy Martin’s formative impact on the field with one such tale. The dancer, scholar, and social activist Randy Martin who established himself as an influential voice in our field in 1998 with the seminal publication Critical Moves: Dance Studies in Theory and Politics was never hired by a dance department. Yet, as the story goes, he did interview with one of the main Dance Studies departments in the early years and was asked during the interview if, as a dancer and sociologist, he could commit to his future work being situated in the parameters of the field of dance studies. Apparently Randy replied that he could not. At that time he was professor in the department of Social Science and Cultural Studies at the Pratt Institute, was subsequently appointed associate dean of the Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, and, in 2000, became chair of the Department of Art and Public Policy; in 2006 he founded the MA in Arts Politics. Interestingly enough, he never really left the field of dance and informed it with all his future publications, his administration, and his pedagogy.

We bring this story back to life here because it allows us to understand Randy Martin’s unique contribution to dance studies and at the same time forces us to think about the parameters of the discipline. How does Randy’s work inform our discourse? And what has our discipline become in relation to other fields of inquiry and as a political force?

Table of Contents


pp. 1-5

Editors’ Note: Presence of Randy Martin

Mark Franko, Jens Richard Giersdorf

pp. 6-10

A Bibliography of Major Published Works by Randy Martin

pp. 11-26

Why Is There Always Energy for Dancing?

Susan Leigh Foster

pp. 27-32

Mobilization, Force, and the Politics of Transformation

Gerald Siegmund

pp. 33-44

Dance/Agency/History: Randy Martin’s Marxian Ethnography

Mark Franko

pp. 45-57

Constrained Bodies: Dance, Social Justice, and Choreographic Agency

Stacey Prickett

pp. 58-69

Choreography as a Medium of Protest

Susanne Foellmer

pp. 70-84

Remobilizing Dance Studies

Jens Richard Giersdorf, Yutian Wong

pp. 85-89

Dancing Economies Conference Welcome, February 2015

Melissa Blanco Borelli

pp. 90-92

Slow-Walk: Climate as Volatility and Expansive Political Practicepp. 90-92

May Joseph

pp. 93-94

Randy: Art and Public Policy

Kathy Engel

pp. 95-98

For Randy

Karen Finley

pp. 99-104

Poetics of Dance: Body, Image, and Space in the Historical Avant-Gardes by Gabriele Brandstetter (review)

Gay Morris

pp. 105-109

Choreographing Problems: Expressive Concepts in European Contemporary Dance and Performance by Bojana Cvejić (review)

Biba Bell

pp. 113-116

Spinning Mambo into Salsa: Caribbean Dance in Global Commerce by Juliet McMains (review)

Melissa Blanco Borelli

pp. 117-118

Books Received

pp. 119-120

Letter to the Editor

Dr. Naima Prevots

pp. 121-122

Recensional Editorial

Mark Franko