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Scholar-in-Residence Program

Temple University Institute of Dance Scholarship hosts a week-long Scholar-in-Residence Program three times a year. This funded residency provides opportunity for visiting scholars to present and gather feedback on their own research, and to provide mentoring for doctoral faculty and graduate students from Temple University Dance Department. Spring 2018 Application Information



Dr. Thomas F. DeFrantz
February 18 – 22, 2019

Thomas F. DeFrantz, is Professor of Dance, Women’s Studies and in the Department of African and African American Studies at Duke University. He received the 2017 Outstanding Research in Dance award from the Congress of Research in Dance. He is Professor of Dance, African and African American Studies, Theater Studies, and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University. He directs SLIPPAGE: Performance, Culture, Technology, a research group that explores emerging technology in live performance applications. Books:Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance(University of Wisconsin Press, 2002),Dancing Revelations Alvin Ailey's Embodiment of African American Culture(Oxford University Press, 2004),Black Performance Theory, co-edited with Anita Gonzalez (Duke University Press, 2014),Choreography and Corporeality: Relay in Motion, co-edited with Philipa Rothfield (Palgrave, 2016). Creative:Queer Theory! An Academic Travestycommissioned by the Theater Offensive of Boston and the Flynn Center for the Arts;Monk’s Mood: A Performance Meditation on the Life and Music of Thelonious Monk, performed in Botswana, France, South Africa, and New York City; fastDANCEpast, created for the Detroit Institute for the Arts and reperformed at the Crystal Bridges Museum November 2016; reVerse-gesture-reVIEW commissioned by the Nasher Museum in response to the work of Kara Walker, January, 2017. Musical score,past-carry-forwardfor Dance Theatre of Harlem, 2013. He convenes the Black Performance Theory working group as well as the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance, a growing consortium of 250 researchers. He has taught at the American Dance Festival, ImpuseTanz, and the New Waves Dance Institute, as well as at MIT, Stanford, Yale, NYU, Hampshire College, and the University of Nice. He has chaired the Program in Women’s Studies at MIT; the Department of African and African American Studies at Duke, and acted as Director of Graduate Studies for Dance and African and African American Studies. He served as President for the Society of Dance History Scholars, an international organization that advances the field of dance studies through research, publication, performance, and outreach to audiences across the arts, humanities, and social sciences. DeFrantz acted as a consultant for the Smithsonian African American Museum, contributing a voice-over for a permanent installation that opened with the museum in 2017.

March 18 – 22, 2019

Neva Ann Kenny was named the new Director of the School of Performing Arts Faculty of Arts, Pontificia Universidad Javenera, Bogatá, Colombia, from 15 October 2015. She is an international dancer with over 20 years’ experience specializing in modern dance, contemporary dance and classical ballet. Teacher with 15 years of university teaching and in privateeducation in dance academies.Ms. Kenny has extensive experience designing dance classes and creating choreography in Latin America.

Her research is dedicated to expanding understanding through the link between mind and movement with multicultural teaching methods for different levels of experience.

March 19 - 23, 2018

Simon Ellis is a dance artist. He is from New Zealand but now lives in London, and is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre forDance Research (C-DaRE) at Coventry University. His recent choreographies are 'Pause. Listen' (2014), 'We Record Ourselves'(2016), and 'We Like Lists Because We Don't Want to Die' (2017). He also works closely with Colin Poole as 'Colin, Simon and I',and their latest work is 'Our White Friend' (2016). He is interested in the value and limits of practice-as-research for artistsworking in and outside of the academy, and is also developing research that investigates the ways in which screen culture ischanging dance and choreographic practices, ideas and understandings. Simon co-edits the International Journal of Screendancewith Harmony


October 29 – November 2, 2018

Professor Rachel Fensham is a dance and theatre scholar, and Assistant Dean of the Digital Studio, Faculty of Arts at Melbourne University. Her current funded research for the Australian Research Council include a LIEF project in partnership with AusStage establishing a Theatre and Dance Platform for housing digitised content for the University and partnerships with artists, such as Lucy Guerin; a Linkage project investigating impact for young people in regional Victoria, and a Discovery project on Indigenous Performance during the Assimilation period with colleagues at the VCA and the University of Sydney. in all her research, the role and integration of methodologies from the digital humanities plays a critical role alongside other methods such as fieldwork, close analysis of embodied performance and community engagement. Forthcoming publications include a co-authored essay for the Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Research Methods, 2018 and a chapter on Issues in Dance Research for Bloomsbury, 2019. She is currently preparing a monograph on Movement: Theory for Theatre for Methuen, as well as preparing ongoing research on costumes in the choreography of 20th and 21st century dance. Recent book chapters have appeared in "Unsettling Spectatorship" (eds. Stalpaert, Pewny, Coppens, Vermeulen; Academia Press 2016); and "Bodies of Thought: Twelve Australian Choreographers" (eds. Baxter and Brannigan, Wakefield Press, 2014), with refereed articles in "Design History" (2016), "Scene" (2015), and "Dance Research Journal" (2013). Books include the monograph, "To Watch Theatre: Essays on Genre and Corporeality" (Peter Lang, 2009); "Dancing Naturally: nature, neo-classicism and modernity in early twentieth century dance" (co-edited with Alexandra Carter, Palgrave, 2011) and "The Dolls' Revolution: Australian theatre and cultural imagination" (co-authored with Denise Varney, Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2005). With Professor Peter M. Boenisch, she is co-editor of the Palgrave book series, "NewWorld Choreographies" which has just launched its fifth title:

Fall 2017 Visiting Scholar
Dr. Sheron Wray

September 18-22, 2017
Towards Embodiology: How West African Performance Aesthesis Informs Praxes of Contemporary Dance Improvisation

About Towards Embodiology: How West African Performance Aesthesis Informs Praxes of Contemporary Dance Improvisation

An examination of improvisation as found in dance-drumming performance practices in West Africa reveals multiple modes of sensory and cognitive communication that take place between performers and informed audiences in an ongoing dialogic exchange. In the Ewe case, the critical nature of the relationship between movement, music and language is to be found in their explicit drum syntax, an understanding that is then processed through the body’s varying porous, kinaesonic surfaces. This process is conceptualized as Dynamic Rhythm, the first principle of Embodiology, the theoretical framework that makes it possible for non-practitioners to comprehend inherent improvisation processes in West African dance, to access aesthesis that produce an unceasing reservoir of creativity for its practitioners. Dance-drumming performers are the experts and the construction of Embodiology recognizes the depth of their knowledge. The robustness of their embodied cognition serves not only to unceasingly vitalize traditional performance practices, but Embodiology, a neo-African construction, when applied as an analytical or pedagogical tool to contemporary dance also yields perpetual novelty. The articulation of improvisation from a West African perspective creates a gateway for both the scholarly and artistic fields of dance to develop an understanding of the autopoietic phenomenon that was until now largely hidden.

About Sheron Wray

Dr. Wray, associate professor of dance at the University of California, Irvine, describes herself as a ‘Neo-African Performance Architect.’ She received her PhD from the University of Surrey; her dissertation is entitled, “Towards Embodiology: Modelling Relations between West African Performance Practices, Contemporary Dance Improvisation and Seselelame.” As a result of her interdisciplinary scholarship engaging with dance, music and community-held knowledge, she continues to develop her praxis of Embodiology ® . A new essay on this subject titled "Embodiology®: A Neo-African Improvisation-as-Performance Practice, distinguished by Dynamic Rhythm," is forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Improvisation in Dance, edited by Vida Midgelow, and Routledge published an introductory iteration of its grounding concepts in a chapter entitled, "Just after the Pulse, Rhythm Takes All: The Inside Habitat of Improvisation," in British Dance, Black Routes, edited by Christy Adair and Ramsay Burt (2016). Further dissemination of the praxis, demonstrating how movement inspires the mind, is evident in her TEDx talk, “Bodily Steps to Innovation.” In the UK she was a member of both London Contemporary Dance Theatre and Rambert Dance Company, and is also widely known for her role as performer and custodian of Harmonica Breakdown (1938), choreographed by Jane Dudley. She also founded JazzXchange Music and Dance Company, collaborating with musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Gary Crosby, Zoe Rahman and Julian Joseph. Later, her improvisation praxis also reached into digital domains, when her National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts Fellowship produced the award- winning Texterritory, an interactive cell phone based performance platform created in collaboration with Fleeta Siegel.

Past Visiting Scholars
Spring 2017
April 3-17, 2017: Dr. Susan Jones, Oxford University

Susan Jones is Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford and Fellow of St Hilda’s College. She has published widely on Joseph Conrad and on modernism, women’s writing, and the history and aesthetics of dance. She is co-editor of Joseph Conrad’s Chance (1914), an ongoing project for the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Joseph Conrad. Before beginning a career in academia she was soloist with the Scottish Ballet, Glasgow for fifteen years. Her book Literature, Modernism, and Dance appeared with Oxford University Press in 2013. She is Director of Dance Scholarship Oxford (DANSOX), a programme supported by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH).

Fall 2016
October 10-14, 2016: Dr. Harmony Bench, Ohio State University

Harmony Bench is Assistant Professor in the Department of Dance at The Ohio State University, where she is also affiliated faculty with Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Translational Data Analytics. Her writing has appeared in numerous edited collections, as well as Dance Research Journal, The International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, Participations, and Performance Matters, among others. Projects underway include a book in contract with University of Minnesota Press, tentatively entitled Dance as Common: Movement as Belonging in Digital Cultures, as well as Mapping Touring, a digital humanities and database project focused on the performance engagements of early 20th century dance companies.

Fall 2016
October 24-28, 2016: Dr. Jane Desmond, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Jane Desmond is Professor of Anthropology and Gender/Women's Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, U.S.A., where she also directs the International Forum for U.S. Studies: a Center for Transnational Study of the United States.  Formerly a professional modern dancer and choreographer, she served on the dance/theater faculties at Cornell University and Duke University for many years prior to completing a Ph,D. in American Studies at Yale University.  Since then, her scholarly work has focused broadly on issues of embodiment, visual display, and performativity. Her books include: Staging Tourism: Bodies on Display from Waikiki to Sea World, and the influential edited collections  Meaning in Motion: New Cultural Studies of Dance and Dancing Desires: Choreographing Sexuality On and Off the Stage.  Her latest book, Displaying Death/Animating Life:  Human-Animal Relations in Art, Science, and Everyday Life is just out from the University of Chicago Press.


Spring 2016
February 15-19, 2016: Dr. Lucia Ruprecht, Cambridge University, United Kingdom

Dr. Lucia Ruprecht

Lucia Ruprecht is an affiliated Lecturer at the Department of German and Dutch, University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Emmanuel College. She is researching and teaching across literature, dance, and film studies. Her Dances of the Self in Heinrich von Kleist, E.T.A. Hoffmann and Heinrich Heine (2006) was awarded Special Citation of the de la Torre Bueno Prize; her most recent book is New German Dance Studies (edited together with Susan Manning, 2012). From 2013-2015, she was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Institute for Theatre Studies, Free University Berlin. She is currently completing the manuscript of a book entitled Gestural Imaginaries: Dance and the Culture of Gestures at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century.


Spring 2016
March 28 - April 1, 2016: Dr. Joanna Hall, Kingston University, United Kingdom

Dr. Joanna Hall

Dr. Joanna Hall is Principal Lecturer in Dance at Kingston University (UK). Her research focuses on contemporary popular dance practices; particularly those associated with electronic dance music (EDM) sub/club cultures where she examines the relationships between dance and identity using critical and cultural theory. Jo is Chair of the SDHS working group for Popular, Social and Vernacular Dance, a founding member of the international PoP Moves research group and has contributed to Bodies of Sound: Studies Across Popular Music and Dance (eds. Dodds & Cook, 2013) and Decentring Dancing Texts: the Challenge of Interpreting Dances (ed. Lansdale, 2008). Her forthcoming monograph, Popular Dance and Identity, will be published in 2017 with Palgrave Macmillan.

Scholar-in-Residence Program Spring 2018 Application Information