ARTs + Change Virtual Conference
Virtual Event

Katherine Dunham led a polyrhythmic life, one that refused single categorization. She understood that all dance is cultural dance, and all movement exists within cultural context. Her Africanist approach to choreography, pedagogy, technique, and research, challenged and continues to challenge, divisional assumptions about race, gender, body, class, artistic and cultural aesthetics, by providing opportunities for intersectional identities to coexist within the dancing, creating, scholarly body. The Dunham Model based on Dunham’s philosophies, provides an anti-racist anthropological approach to teaching dance history. It provides a framework through which to examine the biases we carry in our bodies individually and collectively, and how these affect our cultural preferences and artistic aesthetics.

As students and performers, what are our cultural responsibilities as we learn and embody dance techniques, and choreography? As teachers and choreographers, what are our cultural responsibilities to the dance lineages we are drawing from and inspired by, while allowing creative innovation? As artist/scholars, what are our cultural responsibilities as we research, articulate, and apply our knowledge? Teaching through the Dunham Model supports the decolonizing work of shifting and expanding how our field of dance is embodied, taught, expressed, and valued, through measures of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusivity. Through this interactive workshop, we will explore the Dunham Model as a framework for designing a dance history class that supports our students in their growth towards becoming anti-racist artists, while building a community of both individual and collective responsibility.

Molly Christie Gonzalez, Assistant Professor of Dance/Dance Education and Teaching for Inclusivity, Diversity and Equity Faculty Fellow at UMass Amherst and Five College Dance. Her teaching philosophy, choreography, and research is grounded in thirty-plus years of experience in Katherine Dunham Technique and Philosophies. She was certified by Ms. Dunham in 2003 as a teacher of her technique, and is Chair of the Academic Exam Committee, Co-Chair of Pedagogy, and faculty for the Institute for Dunham Technique Certification, an international teacher certification program. She has presented research at Dance Studies Association, African Studies Association, Collegium for African Diasporic Dance, World Dance Alliance, and National Dance Educators Organization conferences, among others. She holds an MFA in Dance, MA in Dance Education with PK-12 Teacher Certification, and a BFA in Modern Dance.

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  • Arsen Jamkotchian

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