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The Congress on Research in Dance 2012 Special Topics Conference: Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance

Thursday, February 16, 2012
12:00 AM
University of Michigan

UM will host a 3-day conference that addresses the question: What is queer dance? Through a series of presentations, panel discussions, workshops and performances, this conference seeks to bring together queer studies and dance studies to consider the questions, methods, practices, and politics that preoccupy both fields. Given the multiple, contested, and historically contingent meanings of the word “queer,” the term seems useful for opening an inquiry about dance, just as dance’s emphasis on embodiment has much to contribute to queer studies.

If dance is a way to think through social relationships, what images, bodily techniques, and spectatorial and embodied pleasures might dance offer to queer communities, scholars, and artists? How have lesbian, gay, and transgender histories intersected with dance in the theatre, on the club floor, and in the streets? When- and - how do “queer” and “dance” signal (or obscure) other vectors of identity, such as race, class, gender, ability, and others? The meanings of “queer” have shifted and proliferated over time; competing and overlapping ideas about queer pleasure, desire, and politics may all manifest themselves within dance. Queer dance might be defined by an artist’s identity or preoccupations; by a work’s critique of normative values; or by a spectator’s or performer’s queer pleasures and desires. Queer spaces, or those haunted by a queer past, might also prompt a consideration of how dance engages history, representation, and community. Dance and sexuality can also be thought through together as social, physical, and historically situated practices that are (often at once) liberatory, risky, entertaining, and always in process, often inviting inquiries about affect and public feelings.

All events are free and open to the public.

Conference website: