Department of Dance Hosts 2004 Dance Under Construction Conference

By Stephanie Wejbe, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

On Friday, April 16, and Saturday, April 17, 2004 in the Arts Building, the Department of Dance hosted the sixth annual Dance Under Construction (DUC) Conference.
DUC is a graduate student conference that has established itself as an interdisciplinary forum for presenting student work on dance, the body, and performance.

This conference is the sixth in a series of ongoing colloquia, which originated as an initiative of the graduate students of UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures. After traveling to other UC campuses, DUC returned to UCR. It has consistently attracted scholars and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines, research interests, and academic programs. At this year’s public conference, approximately fifty to sixty people attended, consisting mostly of graduate students as well as some professors.

According to Assistant Professor Dr. Derek Burrill, the conference offers graduate students, “A forum to discuss relevant scholarly issues in dance and performance in a space separated from professors.” DUC provides a platform for communication and exchange among all the UC campuses and graduate departments both nationally and internationally.

This year’s central theme was “Nomadic Spaces,” which seeks to understand the shifting relationships between dance and territory through an investigation of performance studies and practices that resist borders and enclosure in order to deconstruct points of fixed origin, discipline, identity, and geography. The territory in question may be defined as inter/intra/transnational, disciplinary, bodily, (meta)physical, or theoretical space facing contestation

“Many of the papers presented at the conference discussed notions of space and place and geography, and movement in these spaces,” Dr. Derek Burrill commented. He noted some of the authors and their papers including UCR’s Melanie Kloetzel paper Sited Practice: Movement, Memory and Place in the California Museum of Photography, Gargi Shinde from the State University of New York at Albany, The Wandering Bard and the Evolution of Kathak in the 13th century India, and UCLA’s Carla Melo, When the Revolt of the Flesh Becomes Political Resistance: The Nomadic Tactics of Post-Butoh in a Transnational Space.

Highlights of the conference included the keynote speech from Associate Professor Thomas DeFrantz from MIT and a performance by performance artist Denise Uyehara. Burrill regarded this year’s conference as “very successful.”

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