One week from yesterday, the entire University will shut down for our annual “Scholars Day”, a campus-wide conference where the dance department rules, and all of the other departments drool. It’s always a pleasant surprise for the University to realize how strong the presence of dance scholarship actually is on campus (forced or not…); as I pretend to prepare for my presentation however (I literally JUST checked books out from the library…yesterday…), I’m reminded of how seemingly limited dance scholarship can be, specifically as it relates to recent developments in technology (…like blogging…). The same names dominate the books we read in class, and as I research the democratization of dance criticism, I feel somewhat alone.
What does this say about our field of study?
I found myself pulling more books from the shelves unrelated to dance than the shelves that were. I certainly can’t be the first person interested in the expansion of dance criticism as developments in technology continue to take over the world, can I? I know that relevant dance scholars exist out there somewhere, but I can’t help but wonder why more Susan Fosters, Susan Mannings, and maybe even Kealinohomokus aren’t heard from? What about my fellow dance bloggers???
Additionally, when it comes to my specific topic of research, why do I continue to struggle to find books that discuss (my proposed continuum of) high versus low art? I mean, I know I’m cool, but I’m NOT cool enough to be the pioneer of loving So You Think You Can Dance AND Gallim Dance, all in the same breath! Or am I?…
My interest in pop culture adapts as pop culture evolves, but shouldn’t dance history reflect all of this fun, as it existed yesterday, today, or even tomorrow? One day, today (Thursday, April 5) will actually be our dance history, so why aren’t we aggressively working to report on it now? Do I need to start dance-PEOPLE magazine??—isn’t that actually what this blog already is?
I’ve realized that in essence, my blog is a living record of today’s dance history, but what happens if the standards and codes of validation completely discredit my source 30 years down the road? What’s going to happen to the future of dance criticism, as more and more online sites become the voices of dance criticism? Where will authenticity, validity and legitimacy come to rest when anyone and their mother could essentially publish public records of dance scholarship?
These are the questions that keep me up at night…thoughts?