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Studies in Dance takes a broad, interdisciplinary approach to dance scholarship while serving as an ongoing forum for discussion by established and younger scholars.  The Seminar embraces all forms of dance scholarship, regardless of discipline, research area, and methodology, and has the long-term goal of encouraging academic publication and new research.  The members include Barnard College and Columbia University faculty as well as independent scholars and faculty from other New York institutions, although speakers may come from outside the metropolitan area.

Professor Lynn Garafola

Emily Hawk

Meeting Schedule

09/26/2022 Faculty House, Columbia University
6:00 PM
Crossover and Commercial Dance: Race, Class, and Capitalism on The Jacksons Variety Show
Elizabeth June Bergman, Independent scholar

10/24/2022 Zoom
6:00 PM
"The Problem of Lost Works" from Choreography Invisible: The Disappearing Work of Dance (Oxford University Press, 2020).
Anna Pakes,

11/21/2022 Faculty House, Columbia University
6:00 PM
Ballet for the People' and the Aesthetics of New South Africa
Meryl Lauer, Johns Hopkins University

12/12/2022 Faculty House, Columbia University
6:00 PM
Arabesque en Noire: The Persistent Presence of Black Dancers in the Ballet World
Joselli Audain Deans, University of Utah

01/30/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University / Zoom
6:00 PM
a chapter from: "Sonidos Negros: On the Blackness of Flamenco entitled "Good Shepherd, Bumpkin Shepherd: Distinction in Villano Gambetas (Gambols) and Zapatetas (Stamps)."
K. Meira Goldberg,


K. Meira Goldberg will discuss the first chapter of Sonidos Negros: On the Blackness of Flamenco: "Good Shepherd, Bumpkin Shepherd: Distinction in Villano Gambetas (gambols) and Zapatetas (stomps)." This chapter studies the colonialist narrative of the pastor bobo, or foolish shepherd, as he teeters between clod-hopping jumps and aristocratic uprightness, between damnation and Christian epiphany, between Blackness and Whiteness.

02/27/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University / Zoom
6:00 PM
A Presentation of A Cloud in Pants
Elizabeth Kendall, The New School


Elizabeth Kendall will describe the manuscript about Balanchine in the years 1933-1946 that she has completed and is now editing. She will concentrate on two areas: 1) the prominence of Sol Hurok's sponsorship of the Ballet(s) Russe(s) during the years that she has written about, and 2) the centrality during those years of Balanchine's tragic marriage to Vera Zorina. A short selection from the book will be sent out.

03/27/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University / Zoom
6:00 PM
Bend It Like A Swan: The Impact of Embodied Repertoire on the Creation Process in Ballet
Laura Cappelle,


Laura Cappelle will discuss the ways in which embodied repertoire – the knowledge accumulated by dancers over years of training and performances – shapes the interactions and the process of crafting movement during rehearsals for new ballets. This essay is based on data gathered during sustained periods of studio observation related to five creations at the Bolshoi Ballet, English National Ballet, New York City Ballet, and the Paris Opera Ballet, as well as interviews with a range of participants (choreographers, dancers, assistants, pianists). She argues that in that sense, a network of images and models - many of them shared across borders - underpins the work of 21st-century ballet choreographers and factors into local and global trends in classical choreography.

04/24/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University
6:00 PM
The Epistemic Politics of Indian Classical Dance
Anurima Banerji, UCLA


Classical dance is an important heritage practice that is often mobilized to articulate the cultural identity of the Indian state and diasporic communities. In this essay, I examine how the category of “classical dance” was invented, predicated on the romantic link with Indian antiquity. From a performance studies angle, I explore what the discursive idea of “classical dance” does, how it is deployed, and the politics of its production. I critique the concept of Indian dance classicism, situating its construction and institutionalization as a legacy of the modern colonial apparatus, later enshrined by postcolonial Indian authorities as an official artistic genre alongside the "tribal," the "folk," and the "contemporary" designations in national cultural policy. Today, the government recognizes eight dance forms as classical: Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Manipuri, Odissi, Kathakali, Mohiniattam, Kuchipudi, and Sattriya. Rather than attending to any single species of dance, however, I look at the production of a whole system of knowledge production tied to classicism in the dance space, promulgated by regimes of state power.