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Professor Sherril Dodds (Dance) Wins Gertrude Lippincott Award

Posted April 24, 2015

Dr. Sherril Dodds, Professor and Chair of the Department of Dance, has received the 2015 Gertrude Lippincott Award for her essay, “The Choreographic Interface: Dancing Facial Expression in Hip-Hop and Neo-Burlesque Striptease.”  Named in honor of its donor, a devoted teacher of modern dance in the Midwest and mentor to many students, Gertrude Lippincott Award was established to recognize excellence in the field of dance scholarship. This prize will be awarded to Dr. Dodds at the joint membership meeting and awards on June 6, 2015 in Athens, Greece.

This is what the committee had to say about her essay:

In her article, ‘The Choreographic Interface: Dancing Facial Expression in Hip-Hop and Neo-Burlesque Striptease,' published in Dance Research Journal, Professor Sherril Dodds issues a call to arms, or rather, a call to the face. Using a direct and arresting writing style, Dodds identifies the face as a blind spot in dance research, and urges dance scholars to join her in reclaiming the face as an integral part of the dancing body that, nevertheless, has a distinct role in the production of meaning. The article is grounded in a critical engagement with Deleuze and Guattari’s theory of faciality, as well as Darwinian universalism, Richard Schechner’s perspectives on acting, J.L Austin and Judith Butler’s concepts of performativity and Phillip Auslander’s ‘guitar face.' From this discussion, Dodds develops the notion of the choreographic interface, foregrounding interactions between the face, other body parts and other dancing faces. The usefulness of this concept is demonstrated through two popular dance examples, the hip-hop dancer Virgil “Lil O” Gadson, and a performance by neo-burlesque striptease artist Darlinda Just Darlinda. Dodds’ article exemplifies how attention to popular dance practices can reveal and challenge the assumptions underlying dance studies methodologies and ways of seeing constructed around ‘art dance.' Her argument has implications not just for popular dance studies, but also for dance studies more broadly, performances studies and beyond. It this broad contribution to scholarship, as well as the article’s eloquence and clarity, that renders the article deserving of the highest recognition.