"Jews and Jewishness in the Dance World" celebrates and examines the impact of Jews and the Jewish experience on the dance field and broader communities.
Deliberately inclusive in scope, definition and audience, this conference features over 100 movement and dance specialists from eight countries: Argentina, Austria, Canada, England, France, Germany, Israel and the United States. These include dancers and choreographers, along with videographers, critics, scholars, educators and dance and movement therapists among others.
Approximately 40 unique events will take place over three days, including presentations, lectures, workshops, booths and roundtables. Special events include two pre-conference workshops, three keynote presentations, a library exhibition overseen by Judith Brin Ingber and evening performances curated by Liz Lerman and Wendy Perron.
The conference defines Jewishness very broadly as a diverse, ever-changing social construction emerging out of specific historical and cultural contexts that require analysis and reflection. Jewishness covers shifting experiences of diaspora, the Holocaust, Israel and Arab-Jewish relations among other aspects. The event covers different dance styles, including modern, ballet, hip-hop and “street” forms, social dance, folk dance and Flamenco as well as considers developments in the art, educational, commercial and social spheres.
The conference, and related book anthology and film projects that are being planned, address two broad questions:
What has been the explicit and implicit impact of Jewish creative artists, thinkers and organizers on the evolution of dance in education, the concert dance realm, commercial dance world and other specific contexts?
- How have concerns central to “the Jewish experience,” whether related to identity, history, religious practice, Israel, everyday life or conflict and war, influenced developments in the dance field?
More specifically, the conference considers the following subthemes:
- Jewish Bodies and the Reimagining of Dance Technique
How have shifting ideas about the nature of Jewish identities and bodies impacted the development of dance technique and dance pedagogy?
- Dance, Community and Social Justice
How have Jewish dance artists, educators, dance scientists, philosophers and program coordinators animated how we conceptualize the self and other, community, empathy and social justice?
- Jews, Dissent and Irony
How have debate, doubt and humor as characteristics of Jewish history and identity impacted the evolution of dance performance and scholarship and the development of dance programs in higher education?
- Performing Trauma and Transformation
How have experiences of persecution, war, genocide and the Holocaust and issues related to memory, preservation, memorialization, metamorphosis and transfiguration engaged the dance field?
- Redefining Site and Sight
How have Jewish choreographers, video artists, exhibition designers, presenters and funders restaged dance and transformed our ways of looking at or experiencing dance on the concert stage, in digital media and in other spaces?
- Diasporic Monologues and Dialogues
How have struggles and experiences of navigating roots, routes and memories influenced how Jews experience dance and relate to other minorities and diasporic groups and individuals in shaping the dance field?
All events will be free and open to the public but online registration is required. Those events with an asterisk are limited to invited guests and presenters. For a complete list of events, including pre-conference events, visit jewishstudies.clas.asu.edu/jewishdance-schedule.
Photo of dancer is Jesse Zaritt.