Dance Critics Association 1998 Conference
"What's Popular About Popular Culture?"
July 11-12, 1998
New York City
contact: Bill Bissell or Tracey Maxwell 412-363-4321
For Immediate Release: April 6, 1998
What's popular about popular culture, with its mixed rhythms and high risk
combinations, and what role does it play in high art? These are questions
to be addressed by the Dance Critics Association at the organization's
annual conference July 11th and 12th. For the first time, the DCA is
holding its annual meeting in association with a festival, in this
instance the third annual Lincoln Center Festival, which begins July 7th
and ends July 26th. All conference events will take place at the Kaplan
Penthouse overlooking the Metropolitan Opera House, in New York's Lincoln
A public keynote plenary session will open the conference on Saturday
morning, featuring, among others, John Rockwell, editor of the Arts and
Leisure section of the New York Times; writer and historian Sally
Sommers, whose expertise and interests range from Loie Fuller to
contemporary club dance; Philadelphia-based hip hop artist and
choreographer Rennie Harris; Dance St. Louis Executive Director Sally
Brayley Bliss, and artistic directors Reid Anderson of the Stuttgart
Ballet and John Neumeier of the Hamburg Ballet. Other participants are to
be determined. The plenary roundtable, moderated by DCA board president
Cathryn Harding, will open with a performance by Manhattan-based club
There are a number of conference panels, roundtables and speakers intended
to help the critics, dance professionals and members of the dance public
gathered for this conference address the role of popular culture in dance
and vice versa.
"The Critic Versus the Newspaper: Institutitional Conditions and the
Working Newspaper Critic," will be curated and moderated by Lynne Conner,
author of Spreading the Gospel of the Modern Dance: Newpaper Dance
Criticism in the United States, 1850-1934 ; with Octavio Roca of the San
Francisco Chronicle; Wilma Salisbury of the Cleveland Plain Dealer; and
Jack Anderson of the New York Times.
An artists' roundtable with Elizabeth Streb, MacArthur Fellow and artistic
director of Streb/Ringside; Matthew Bourne, artistic director of
Adventures in Motion Pictures (to be confirmed); and others to be
announced will take place along with a session on dance in television with
Merrill Brockway. Scholar and critic David Gere will discuss how "popular
notions of AIDS are layered onto aesthetic considerations."
"When the traditional meets the popular: talking about 'New Dance' from
India" is a panel on contemporary approaches to traditional vocabularies
in dance in India, to be led by University of Chicago anthropologist Joan
Erdman. Joining her will be critic Dr. Sunil Kothari of MARG
Publications, Mumbai; choreographer Anita Ratnam of Chennai; presenter
Robert Browning from the Institute of World Music, New York; Native
American musician, composer and poet Joy Harjo from Albuquerque; and
Pattabhi Raman of the publication SRUTI, Chennai to explore, among other
issues, how critics and presenters may approach non-western work,
specifically Indian, as expressions of a particular popular culture rather
than as esoteric or "ethnic" dance seen by outsiders.
Conferees will be able to attend a number of Festival performances,
including the Stuttgart Ballet's production of John Cranko's Romeo and
Juliet; the world premiere of Patience and Sarah, a folk opera about two
19th century American women pioneers who become lovers; the early music
group Sequentia's performances of Ordo Virtutum by Hildegard von Bingen;
and the Ming Dynasty Chinese opera The Peony Pavillion.
Other events in New York during the conference week include the Joyce
Theater's summer dance season, Dance Theater Workshop and the many new
musicals on Broadway emphasizing dance.
There will be a publisher's table with an array of dance titles available
for purchase and a conference raffle of the just-published Oxford
International Encyclopedia of Dance.
The early-bird registration fees (deadline June 15th) are $80 for DCA
members and affiliate organizations (CORD, SDHS, ADG), $100 for
nonmembers, and $60 for students and seniors (over 65). Registration
costs after the 15th are $100 for members, $120 for nonmembers and $80 for
students and seniors. Daily registration is available for $75 for either
Saturday or Sunday.
Dance Alloy in Pittsburgh is coordinating logistical support for the
conference and calls for information or a conference brochure may be
placed to Bill Bissell or Tracey Maxwell at 412-363-4321.