Introduction to the Second Issue

The November 2015 inaugural issue of The Dancer-Citizen began with an open call for submissions as we sought input from all those who might see themselves and their work within the term “dancer-citizen”. The range of contributions received, and published, began to define a field within which such an identity might be established.  

With this second, themed issue of The Dancer-Citizen, “Locate, Shift, Escape, Obliterate? Framing ‘Systems’ in Dancer Citizenship” we asked if/how an understanding of “systems” framed the work of dancer-citizens.   We sought a range of perspectives investigating how socially engaged dance artists employ, exploit, uphold, improve, shift or dismantle established organizations, networks or policy-making structures; or create new mechanisms for practice, policy and theory.

Submissions approached the theme from perspectives of philosophy of practice, social action, protest, movement, and dance education:

-Heather Harrington explores the deliberate use of dance to challenge the status quo, examining site-specific protest dance by women: intersecting themes of the body, public space, and gender.

-Sonia Destri’s work seeks to expose societal fractures while also exploring and developing new movement tropes—with an acute awareness of avoiding appropriation and exploitation.

-Rosie Trump as well challenges conceptions of what constitutes dance movement; invoking site, collaboration and pedestrianism in her work.  

-Kelly Silliman describes a singular practice built around the concept of sustainability in multiple disciplines, thereby interrogating traditional notions of concert dance.

-JoAnna Mendl Shaw reports from the intersection of dancer training, education, professional development, and lifelong—choreographer—learning to advocate for empowerment of dancers at every career stage.

With these contributors, then, our second issue emerges: “The Proscenium and Beyond: Pedestrian, Equestrian and Protest”.

For both issues, most if not all of the submissions were accompanied by the same question posed to the editors: whether the material was within the purview of our journal specifically, and the concept of “the dancer-citizen” generally. As an exploratory effort, based in a philosophy of emergent practice, The Dancer-Citizen welcomes all submissions as they contribute to the development of the understanding and definition of our subject, our field, our area of concern. With this issue and going forward we invite you, in the words of Adam Benjamin, to “resist dissection, neat conclusions, or a singular perspective. Instead I position myself in the midst of my research and allow it to ‘open up to me’ (Pernille Østern 2009:44)”.

 -Jane Alexandre, Editor


With this issue, the editors and staff of The Dancer-Citizen would like to acknowledge with gratitude the life and work of Sue Perlmutter, our long time colleague, supporter and instigator of exploration in dance. We acknowledge as well, with profound thanks, the Perlmutter family’s support in Sue’s memory which makes this issue of The Dancer-Citizen possible.

1. Adam Benjamin, “The fool’s journey and poisonous mushrooms”. Choreographic Practices, Volume 4, Number 1, 1 July 2013, 29-45. back to text