Students in DSA


Chair: Melissa Melpignano

A forum for graduate students of all levels to explore the possibilities and challenges of advanced studies in dance.

Welcome to the student page of the DSA. 

Each year between 80 and 100 DSA members are graduate students. In 2011 students made up 22% of SDHS membership. If you are not already a member, click here and join us today!

All members are welcome and we are always looking for students to get involved. M.A. and Ph.D. students are automatically members of the Students in DSA Working Group. This forum hosts meetings for students during the annual conference. We raise funds for travel grants for students to attend DSA, and we seek to provide members with opportunities to meet and to discuss issues related to dance practice and scholarship. Please keep an eye out for the graduate student table during registration.

Graduate Student Representative:

As the Graduate Student Representative, my role is to serve as a link student membership and the DSA Board of Directors. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions and concerns.

The Student Representative to the DSA Board of Directors is a volunteer position. The chief duties and responsibilities of this position include attending bi-annual board meetings, chairing the working group meetings at the annual DSA conferences, and assisting in ongoing fund-raising to help finance the DSA Student Travel Grant fund. Currently, the representative serves a two-year term.

History of the Students in SDHS Working Group

The working group for Students in SDHS was formed in 1998 by Karen Silen to encourage students to join the society. The first meeting was held at the 1999 conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Students who attended defined the group as a forum for graduate students of all levels to explore the possibilities and challenges of advanced studies in dance. Topics of common interest include research methods and strategies, grant opportunities, the job market, relationships with advisers and mentors, and the dual identity of studying while working as instructors and teaching assistants. We address these issues every year at graduate student breakfasts during the conference.

The benefits of active participation in the graduate student working group include dialogue with peers and faculty from a variety of universities. Being able to meet specific scholars was a primary concern of the initial meeting’s attendees—and we seek to continue this mandate each year. Students have opportunities to meet distinguished scholars and faculty members with whom they may wish to study. Participation is particularly helpful for students working in other departments, for those seeking information about graduate programs and for artists balancing studies with professional work.

Staying In Touch

Students interested in expanding and sustaining communication outside the conference are welcome to contact the graduate student representative. In the interrim, students can stay in contact through the Facebook group “Students in SDHS (Society of Dance History Scholars).”

Financial Resources For Student Members of SDHS

SDHS Student Travel Grant

Any student member of SDHS enrolled in a graduate degree program and engaged in dance research is eligible to apply for travel funding. Students need not have a paper accepted for presentation at the conference in order to apply.

Selma Jean Cohen Award

The Selma Jeanne Cohen Award aims to encourage graduate student members of SDHS by recognizing excellence in dance scholarship. Up to three awards will be offered at each conference. Each award includes an invitation to present a paper at the annual conference, waiver of the registration fee for that conference, and a grant to help defray costs of attending the conference. Awards are based on the originality of the research, the rigor of the argument, and the clarity of the writing. For application instructions and more information, visit the Selma Jean Cohen Award page.

Lippincott Award

The Gertrude Lippincott Award is awarded annually to the best English-language article published in dance studies. Named in honor of its donor, a devoted teacher of modern dance in the Midwest and mentor to many students, it was established to recognize excellence in the field of dance scholarship. The award carries a cash purse of $500. For application instructions and more information, visit the Lippincott Award page.

Upcoming Conferences

Click here for information about upcoming conferences.