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ALL I WANNA DO IS JUST STAY HOME, EAT CHIPS, AND ANALYZE THE RHETORIC BEHIND THE EDITING OF LIFETIME'S DANCE MOMS

Writer/Presenter

A paper presented at the Pop Culture Association's 2021 National Conference

 

Abstract: Video footage of an event seems as though it would serve as objective documentation of what happened—a fully accurate representation of reality. However, that depiction of reality has the potential to be distorted depending upon how the footage is cut and spliced together. The editing process ultimately serves as a form of rhetoric, as skillful editors are able to take neutral, objective footage and use it to craft an argument, a narrative, a message. This is especially prevalent when considering the editors behind reality television shows, whose documentary-style presentation purports to convey true-to-life depictions of its subjects. While all the footage they are working with is ‘real,’ can the same be said about the end product? Even as we approach the ten-year anniversary of the premiere of Lifetime’s hit reality show Dance Moms, cast members are still using their social media platforms to set the record straight about what really happened at the Abby Lee Dance Company, providing context otherwise lost to the cutting room floor in the editing suite at Collins Avenue Productions. It quickly becomes clear that there is less reality showcased in this show than the label of ‘reality TV’ would imply… Through an in-depth analysis of the editing of Dance Moms in comparison to cast members’ retellings of those same events, this presentation will unpack the narrative crafted by the show’s editors and the resulting implications it has had on viewers’ perception of the dance field over the past decade.

Accepted for presentation at the Pop Culture Association's 2021 National Conference, June 2021 (Virtual)

ACTIVIST ADJUNCTS: REIMAGINING POWER & PRIVILEGE THROUGH ANTIRACIST PEDAGOGY

Writer

An article co-written with Alexia Buono, Janet Schroeder, and Mariko Yamada for The Activist History Review.

 

Abstract: We’re a coalition of four adjunct faculty in dance who have created a working group around antiracist pedagogy. Our community developed after attempting to work within a larger departmental faculty hierarchy in our University. We conceive of our community as action rather than object (Brooks, Franklin-Phipps, & Rath, 2017), namely for the ways it is transgressive in the individualist, competitive, neoliberal, patriarchal, white supremacist institution of higher education. We question what it means to work within an institution wherein building community is even considered transgressive. As adjuncts, we’re considered to be expendable commodities in the eyes of academia, when in fact, we are humans: varied, different, and valuable. Even though we share the same title, we hold different positions of privilege based upon our degrees, our relationships to the institution and department, the classes we get to teach, and our individual identities within various marginalized and dominant groups. We acknowledge and embrace these similarities and differences, we reject the label of “expendable commodity,” and we work towards equitable power structures in our community of empowerment. In this essay, we describe our ongoing, uncertain process of working towards enacting antiracism in our pedagogy, while simultaneously building a sustainable adjunct community who reimagines and radically changes what educational systems can be(come). We share reflections on our work of self and collective empowerment to dismantle oppressive systems within academia—from white supremacy to the adjunct system itself—that continue to uphold racism and other harmful systemic inequities. We invite our colleagues—adjunct or otherwise—to join us.

Published in The Activist History Review, December 2020

Link

​DANCE, GENDER, AND THE BIOPSYCHOSOCIAL MODEL

Writer/Presenter

 

Lecture-demonstration on queer-inclusive dance pedagogy to be presented at the 8th Annual Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival.

Abstract: Using George L. Engle’s Biopsychosocial Model as a framework, this presentation takes a multi-dimensional approach to unpacking the role gender plays in the dance field in general and the dance classroom more specifically. Athletic environments can feel especially unsafe for LGBTQ+ students (Barber & Krane, 2007) and dance studios are no exception. By looking at gender through a combination of biological, psychological, and social lenses, this presentation seeks to outline steps dance educators can take to make their classrooms more welcoming and affirming for students of all gender identities, with a particular emphasis on working with trans and gender nonconforming (TGNC) individuals.

Accepted for presentation at the 8th Annual Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival, July 2020* (Geneva, NY)

*currently postponed due to COVID-19

PERFORMING THE DANCE/SCREEN DUET: A PHENOMENOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF THE INTEGRATION OF VIDEO TECHNOLOGY INTO LIVE CONTEMPORARY MODERN DANCE PERFORMANCE

Writer

A thesis submitted to the Department of Dance of The College at Brockport, State University of New York, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts.

Abstract: For decades now, dance artists have managed to continually invent and uncover new ways of merging technology with movement, allowing man to dance with machine. However, what happens when a human and a computer share the stage? Is it still a solo, or does it become a duet? How is dancing with a two- dimensional image different than dancing with a living, breathing body? Does the dancer control the technology or does it control her? What is she experiencing throughout that partnership? It is through this lens of considering dancers’ lived experiences that I approach my research. By placing dancers’ embodied experiences at the forefront, this paper employs phenomenological analysis to investigate the following question: What happens when dancers and technology interact with and respond to one another on stage? Individual phenomenologies will be conducted on seven dances in order to gain a broader understanding of how dancers and technology interact with each other on stage. The results of this research reveal trends related to the lived experiences of the dancers inside of each technological consideration. Ultimately, how dancers are situated in relationship to technology influences the sense of personal agency experienced by the performers, the implications of which should be considered by all art-makers who use the human body as a medium.

DANCING CAMERAS: AN ANALYSIS OF THE USE OF THE MOVING CAMERA IN VIDEO DANCE

Writer

A paper presented at the III International Meeting of Screendance.

Abstract: Advances in video technology over the past fifty years have led to a surge in popularity of the genre of dance known as video dance. Video dance includes any dance made specifically for the camera, so while it does necessitate that the dance itself is filmed, it should also be dependent upon the medium of video through elements such as moving cameras, close ups, video editing, and special effects. It is the first of these elements—the use of a moving camera—that I seek to further investigate, as making a video dance often requires more choreography than just the movement of the dancers. I will first consider the greater historical context of both dance and film in the 1960s that led to the wide-spread emergence of this hybrid field. I will then establish a foundation in film theory in order to examine general filmmaking strategies, focusing predominantly on those involving the use of a moving camera. Finally, I will analyze the ways in which these techniques are utilized in video dance and the impact they have on the physical choreography of the dancers.

Full paper presented at the III International Meeting of Screendance, September 2016 (Valencia, Spain)

Excerpt presented at SUNY Brockport's Scholars Day, April 2016 (Brockport, NY)

DANCE ON CAMERA: ENGAGING STUDENTS THROUGH THE INTEGRATION OF DANCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Research Assistant

A Tufts Innovates! grant project led by Jaclyn Waguespack.

Grant proposal excerpt: What is Dance on Camera? Dance on Camera, also referred to around the world as dance on screen, videodance, dancefilm, or screendance, is a visual and kinesthetic experience in the form of a film or video work. Dance on Camera prioritizes dance over conventional dialogue and acting to tell a story or convey an idea. Dance on Camera is itself, an innovative genre in the field of dance and has made radical developments with the advancement of technology over the past few years. This grant proposal is centered around the teaching and learning in the Dance on Camera course taught by Jaclyn Waguespack through the Department of Drama and Dance. [...] The overall expected outcome for the Dance on Camera course and for this experience [is] to improve digital and media literacy among Tufts students through the integration of movement and dance, and the use of advanced digital video technologies.  Several methods including, but not limited to, written assignments, video projects, reflection papers, viewings and class discussion, questions, observations and digital portfolios [will be] utilized.

Presented at the Tufts University-Wide Teaching Conference on “Inclusive Excellence: Teaching and Learning in an Increasingly Interconnected World,” May 2016 (Medford, MA)

Link to documentary short on the project