KSU Department of Dance Presents Dance Radnoculur

Dance Radnoculur KSU Department of DanceEnjoy thought provoking undergraduate student research in progress at the Department of Dance.

Monday, March 26th, 2018  |  3:30-5:00pm  
Dance Department Classroom, Chastain Pointe
1200 Chastain Pointe, Suite 306, Kennesaw, GA

Radnoculur Abstracts

Camille Jones
The Ballet Body and Injury: An examination of how ballet glorifies unsafe anatomical structures
that lead to injury.

Dance educators are charged with providing safe instruction to their students. When teachers do
not have an understanding of a student’s anatomical limitations and weaknesses, an injury can
occur. One under-discussed injury that has gained prevalence in the dance community is the
acetabular labral hip tear, or “dancer’s hip”. The cause of this injury is hyperextended knees, a
posterior (forward) pelvic tilt, and over turnout compensated by the knees and ankles. Each of
these structural abnormalities carry their own threat of injury, but this is under-discussed due to
their connection to the idealized ballet body. Hyperextension is glorified for the beautiful line it
gives dancers’ legs. Many teachers are quick to fix a “sway back” or anteriorly tilted pelvis;
however, a posterior pelvic tilt is rarely a concern because ballet pushes dancers to find a long,
straight, graceful line of the back. Many teachers tolerate students who increase their turnout
from the knees and ankles to achieve the aesthetically driven 180-degree turnout.

The goal of my research is to shed light on how ballet glorifies certain structural abnormalities
and how those structures lead to injury. The first method I will use is a literature review of
current research on preventative care in ballet technique. Secondly, I use a questionnaire to
collect baseline information from the ballet community on attitudes about the aforementioned
anatomical structures. I ask if they struggle with any of these complications, what teachers have
said or done to help, past injuries, and their knowledge of how these faulty structures cause
injury. Thirdly, I will conduct personal interviews with dance teachers to go more in-depth about
the culture of silence in the ballet community surrounding these three structural abnormalities. In
conclusion, this research will offer guidelines on how to recognize these abnormalities, offer
exercises to correct alignment, and guide teachers on how to educate students on safe practices
that are against the balletic cultural norm.


Christina Massad
The Fascination with Israeli Dance: From Aesthetic Trends to Gaga to Choreography and
Everything In-between

As contemporary dance has evolved and spread across the world in the past few decades,
Israel has gained a widespread international popularity for its dynamic approach to the genre.
Thus, I question: what makes Israeli concert dance such a fascination to the rest of the world,
dancers and non-dancers alike? Through scholarly and ethnographic research, analyzing dance
performances, and executing interviews with prolific Israeli choreographers, I explore the trends
within Israeli concert dance aesthetics. With Israel being one of the most religious and historic
yet violent places in the world, the movement creation and choreography embraces values and
qualities of improvisation, honesty, rawness, strength and movement that is organic, edgy, direct
and innovative. Yet, what exactly within Israeli dance training and culture produces these
aesthetic trends? Does politics and violence in Israel play as big of a role in these trends as most
people would think? Do Israeli choreographers recognize their own works as “Israeli”?

I explore what role Gaga, a movement language pioneered by Ohad Naharin, Artistic
Director of the world-renowned Batsheva Dance Company, plays in these aesthetic dance values,
what about Gaga is Israeli, and what elements of Gaga are present in subsequent choreographies
produced by Israeli artists. Dance scholars and critics have widely agreed upon the significance
of Naharin’s impact on the shift of the Israeli contemporary concert dance scene when he
returned to Israel in the 1990s. Drawing on ethnographic and personal experiences, I investigate
how dependent Israeli choreography is on Gaga and vice versa, or if at all. I argue that Gaga has
an influence on the dance scene in Israel whether it is direct or indirect, intentional or
unintentional, and noticeable or not. In my current state of research, I believe Gaga is a catalyst
to the aesthetic trends in Israel and is an approach to movement that people gravitate towards. I
will explain how I think Gaga has influenced the Israeli dance scene to embrace improvisation,
daring unknown movements, strong and energetic, yet soft qualities. Without Gaga, would dance
in Israel still be the same? I provide a history of the Israeli dance scene that will put everything
into context.

Olivia Rowe

It’s Time for Feminist Ballet: Analyzing the Historical and Educational Trends Perpetuating the
Commodification of Women in Ballet

Ballet is a male-driven art form. Despite the the large disparity in gender composition across all
fields related to the technique (over 80% of dance artists are women), top tier ballet companies
around the world remain largely untouched by female artistic leaders. Dance artists, critics, and
scholars such as Elizabeth Streb, Siobhan Burke, and Susan Foster have all called for a new era
in ballet, equally lead by women as men have done passionately for ages. However, these calls to
action fail to examine the educational trends that create and uphold the seemingly unmovable
gender hierarchy. This project uncovers the patriarchal history that created and concretized the
celebrated but problematic gender divide of ballet.

With this history in mind, I expose the epicenter of the issue rather than simply suggesting
treatment for its symptoms. I examine the embodiment of traditional gender roles in the ballet
technique and style of the School of American Ballet as a case study. Indicative of a widespread
norm in the ballet world, SAB and its professional company, New York City Ballet, have
sustained iconic examples of the gender politics discussed in this research. Here, men are trained
as leaders, and the women taught to follow; ultimately leading to their commodification.
Analyzing the SAB technique and its pedagogical strategies, I reveal these enforced educational
trends that solidify the belief in future dance artists that men are better equipped and qualified to
become leaders and artists in dance. I argue these educational traditions, rooted in an overarching
patriarchal history, lead to a gender hierarchy in artistic leadership within the ballet community,
ultimately discouraging potential female voices from presenting their works and leading the art
form. By closely examining the foundation of the dilemma, I open a discussion on the
commodification of women as their bodies and creative minds are devalued within the
educational system of ballet.


Erin Ryan
The Invisibility of Female Homosexuality in Concert Dance

In this project, I examine how female homosexuality is omitted from scholarly
research and critiques, dance education, and media portrayal. I use Josephine Baker as an
example of a bisexual female dancer whose homosexuality has been invisible or downplayed
from most media and historical accounts as a result of homophobic culture. I also look at the
correlations of female homosexuality in other professional sports to determine the similarities in
portrayal to the professional industry and media.

My starting assumptions and theories are that female homosexuality is invisible to
audiences, critics and the media. The treatment of female homosexuality in professional dance
reflects modern thinking that has lingered from homophobic and sexist tendencies and values
from past generations. I theorize that dance scholars and choreographers have overlooked the
lesbian and female bisexual community, and because of that there is a lack of dance that
portrays female homosexuality in an open and visible manner. I will also suggest and discuss
solutions to overcome the homophobia and sexism within the field.

My methods and working procedures include reading histories of female homosexual
dances and dancers. Historical findings, movement analysis and interviews will be used to
support my theory of lesbian invisibility within dance. I will examine the critics of performances
with female homosexual content in them. I also challenge heteronormative feedback on
homosexual females and their movement styles and productions. My argument that dance
historians, scholars and educators have omitted female homosexuality from canon is in line with
ongoing queer feminist discussions within the LBGTQ community as scholars such as Karen
Mozingo, Clare Croft, and Hannah Kosstrin have discussed. With my work, I aim to make
female homosexuality more visible within the dance profession to decrease homophobia and
create an environment that is welcoming of all sexual orientations.


Megan Hammontree
The element of surprise: how is critiquing dance improvisation possible?

This project explores how structured dance improvisation can be critiqued. I look at both dance
improvisation, the process of spontaneously creating movement and contact improvisation, a
dance technique in which physical contact provides the starting point for improvisation and
exploration. I have chosen these two techniques because I feel that they best encompass the
broad filed of dance improvisation. I will be researching how dance improvisation fits into the
five basic elements of dance (the five broad categories that dance critics use to analyze dance),
how it is taught, and how it is incorporated into dance performance. My analysis will expand
upon the research of many influential dance scholars including Steve Paxton, Ann Cooper
Albright, David Gere, and Susan Foster. I start this research with the assumption that dance
improvisation can be critiqued; therefore, the research will focus on how it is critiqued rather
than whether or not dance critics are able to critique it. I am also theorizing that dance
improvisation will fit into some, but not all, of the five basic elements of dance. This is important
because if dance improvisation cannot be talked about in at least some of the same terms as other
dance forms it would be impossible to compare or contrast it to other dance forms. By the end of
the project, I am hoping to find or create an additional element of dance that works strictly for
structured dance improvisation to replace any elements of dance that dance improvisation does
not fit into. This is important because without it there may be parts of a dance improvisation that
do not have a way to be discussed. For this project, I use ethnographic and historical research,
including the observing dance improvisation classes and interviewing the teachers and students
from the classes. I am hoping that this will help me to discover one or more elements of dance
that are specific to dance improvisation. I will also be researching the history of dance
improvisation in western dance culture. This background will help me to discover what elements
of dance improvisation have stayed the same throughout the years. I am hoping my research will
help future dance critics, dance scholars, and students when learning about dance improvisation
and dance criticism.