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Research

The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies values the unique power of the performing arts to address social issues through performance practice and research. 

We value active discourse, focused discipline, rigorous inquiry and collaborative thinking to creatively express and embrace difference, diversity and identity. We train artist-scholars to be active leaders who influence and expand the practice and social impact of theatre, dance and performance studies.

Visit our professional and institutional affiliations page for information about our regional, national and international research partnerships.

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Kate Spanos publishes article about Brazilian dances of resistance on Smithsonian Folklife blog

Although it can be colorful and joyous, the Brazilian dance of frevo has developed over the past hundred years against a backdrop of aggression and violence.

School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

Author/Lead: Kate Spanos
Dates:
Publisher: Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Although it can be colorful and joyous, the Brazilian dance of frevo has developed over the past hundred years against a backdrop of aggression and violence. The dance is rooted in the martial art of capoeira, often described as “a fight disguised as a dance” practiced by enslaved Africans in Brazil. During carnival street parades, frevo’s jubilant energy can quickly turn violent, continuing the tradition of ritualized aggression between gangs and revelers. As dance scholar Kate Spanos writes, “It is easy to dismiss this violence as not being in the true spirit of carnival, but ... we cannot forget, or ‘whitewash,’ the history of resistance from which frevo emerges.”

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Fraser Stevens publishes an article in Global Performance Studies

Fraser Stevens publishes an article in Global Performance Studies

School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

Author/Lead: Fraser Stevens
Dates:
Publisher: Global Performance Studies

Ph.D. candidate Fraser Stevens publishes an article, "The Performance of Covert Cultural Landscapes: A Theatre/Archaeology Analysis," in Global Performance Studies.

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Leticia Ridley publishes a stage review in the August Wilson Journal

Leticia Ridley publishes a stage review in the August Wilson Journal

School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

Author/Lead: Leticia Ridley
Dates:
Publisher: August Wilson Journal

Ph.D. candidate Leticia Ridley publishes a stage review of Round House Theatre’s 2018 production of Gem of the Ocean in the August Wilson Journal.

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Kelley Holley awarded a Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowship

Summer Research Fellowships provide support to doctoral students during the summer to advance in their program.

School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

Author/Lead: Kelley Holley
Award Organization:

Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowship, College of Arts & Humanities


Dates:

PhD candidate Kelley Holley has been awarded a Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowship for Summer 2020 to work on her dissertation about dramaturgy and site-specific performance. Summer Research Fellowships provide support to doctoral students in the period shortly before or after advancement to candidacy. The fellowship enables doctoral students to devote a summer of focused work to prepare for or complete a benchmark in their program.

Jared Mezzocchi nominated for a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award

Mezzocchi was nominated for his projection design work on Qui Nguyen's "Poor Yella Rednecks."

School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

Author/Lead: Jared Mezzocchi
Dates:

Assistant professor Jared Mezzocchi was nominated for a Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for his projection design work on Qui Nguyen’s Poor Yella Rednecks. The Off-Broadway production was postponed due to COVID-19; stay tuned for new dates.

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Q-Mars Haeri and Allison Hedges awarded Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowships

The fellowships will support the completion of their dissertations.

School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

Author/Lead: Q-mars Mazandarani Haeri, Allison Hedges
Dates:

Ph.D. candidates Q-Mars Haeri and Allison Hedges were awarded Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowships for the semester of their choice in the next academic year, 2020-21. These fellowships will support the completion of their dissertations.

Marketing communications coordinator Kate Spanos (PhD '16) publishes article about Brazilian carnival dance, frevo

The article examines pedagogy and performance in Brazilian frevo dance.

School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, Theatre Scholarship and Performance Studies

Author/Lead: Kate Spanos
Dates:
Publisher: Dance Chronicle
Brazilian frevo dance - Guerreiros do Passo

Kate Spanos (PhD '16; and our marketing communications coordinator) recently published an article, "Dancing between Pedagogy and Performance: Guerreiros do Passo and the Case of Brazilian Frevo," in Dance Chronicle. The article was co-authored with collaborator Amilcar Almeida Bezerra from the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil.

Abstract

Frevo dance comes from the cities of Recife and Olinda in the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco. We expand on previous research by Valéria Vicente to apply Homi Bhabha’s concepts of pedagogy and performativity to a study of how frevo dancers fight for multiplicity and individuality. We explore how the group Guerreiros do Passo (Frevo Dance Warriors) preserves and disseminates frevo through distinct teaching methods and performance projects, arguing that their work enables the performative enactment of popular memory and the subversion of frevo’s own official discourse. We examine how Guerreiros do Passo provides a new perspective on common challenges in dance pedagogy and performance, including the tensions between tradition/innovation and cultural/individual expression.

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Performing arts librarian Drew Barker (MA '13) publishes in Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism

The article examines a dramaturgical collaboration about the life of abolitionist Benjamin Lay

School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, Theatre Scholarship and Performance Studies

Dates:
Publisher: Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism
TDPS Welcomes Back Performance Librarian and Alum Drew Barker

Drew Barker (MA '13; and our performing arts librarian) recently published an article, "Human Histories Onstage: A Conversation on Collaboration with Naomi Wallace & Marcus Rediker," in the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism with co-authors Naomi Wallace and Marcus Rediker.

Abstract

In this essay, which precedes an interview with the playwright Naomi Wallace and the historian Marcus Rediker, an examination of the ideological and aesthetic motivations shared between the two writers reveals how Marxist humanism guides a new co-writing project titled The Return of Benjamin Lay. After describing Benjamin's life and abolitionist activism, an explanation of the two writers' continued collaboration and shared dramaturgy describes how both writers find Benjamin a worthy subject to adapt for the stage.

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PhD candidate Christen Mandracchia publishes article in Studies in Musical Theatre

Christen Mandracchia publishes article stemming from her dramaturgical work on TDPS' 2018 production of "Little Shop of Horrors."

School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, Theatre Scholarship and Performance Studies

Author/Lead: Christen Mandracchia
Dates:
Publisher: Studies in Musical Theatre
Christen Mandracchia Profile Photo

PhD candidate Christen Mandracchia published her article, "‘Don’t feed the plants!’: Monstrous normativity and disidentification in Little Shop of Horrors," in Studies in Musical Theatre. Christen was the dramaturg for TDPS' 2018 production of Little Shop of Horrors.

Abstract

The 1982 camp horror musical Little Shop of Horrors tells the story of a meek little flower shop attendant named Seymour, who comes across a novelty carnivorous plant that eats human blood. The talking plant preys on Seymour’s infatuation with his beautiful co-worker Audrey to radicalize him into feeding the plant ‘fresh’ bodies. Building on the work of theatre scholar Michael Chemers, who asserts that stage monsters represent larger social and political anxieties of their time, this article identifies Seymour, the normal, white, heterosexual everyman, as the real ‘monster’ of the musical. Thus, the musical’s creators, Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, exposed the monstrousness of normativity at the poignant moment in American culture, during the early years of the conservative Reagan administration. This article uses José Muñoz’s theory of ‘disidentification’, a strategy employed by marginalized people working ‘on and against dominant ideology’ to analyse the creators’ didactic and subversive strategy.

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MFA dance candidate Rose Xinran Qi wins at Starpower Dance Competition

Rose Xinran Qi places first in contemporary dance category at local competition.

School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, Dance Performance and Scholarship

Author/Lead: Rose (Xinran) Qi
Dates:
Rose Xinran Qi at Starpower Dance Competition

MFA dance candidate Rose Xinran Qi competed in the Advanced Contemporary category at Starpower Dance Competition, a dance competition in Towson, MD that is part of the StarDance Alliance. Rose competed against 37 advanced dance performers, winning first place in the contemporary dance category, as well as the overall Advanced High Score Award.