The theme of the 2015 joint SDHS/CORD conference in Athens, Greece gives us an important opportunity not only to address the issues surrounding dance advocacy both locally and internationally, but also to actually put that idea into practice by supporting a dance community hit especially hard by the global financial crisis. By coming to Athens at this particular historical moment, SDHS and CORD members are actively helping our colleagues in Greece to affirm dance as scholarly endeavor as well as a professional occupation. This conference also gives Greek dancers and dance scholars an opportunity to participate in a multifaceted dance studies conference without having to travel abroad, which is important because funds that used to support travel and research have almost completely evaporated.
The conference programming committee invites proposals for workshops, papers, panels and roundtables that address these themes of dance advocacy in general, including discussions of how local exchanges operate within a global economy; questions of how different countries allocate value to the labor of dance, and whether (and how) dance scholarship can increase that value. What roles do dance and dancers play in mass public demonstrations? Do the economies of sweating bodies on the dance stage suggest any kind of alternative to the vicious cycle of European bailout and imposed measures of austerity? What kinds of dances are crafted in the midst of shrinking resources? Does the lack of governmental support compel us to devise new approaches to movement composition and dance performances? What role does aesthetics play in age of austerity?
In addition to these urgent contemporary socio-economic questions, we invite papers that address the following timely issues: How does traditional dance represent and maintain the concept of “folk” in an era of cosmopolitan living? In what ways does urban dance define itself as either a national or transnational form? What are the paths of circulation of Asian or African diasporic dance forms and how do they intersect with colonial routes of material and cultural exchange? How does 21st century performance reframe and queer popular and social forms of dance? How do we think about embodiment in a time where many younger people learn and exchange dances via the Internet?