In November 2015 the School hosted an international conference to celebrate the diverse field of Community Dance. The conference drew a number of nationally and internationally acclaimed academics, dance practitioners and dance students who engaged in stimulating debates and discussions and offered their expertise in the field of community dance.
A special feature of the conference was the reunion of the 10 recipients of the Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance which was established in 2003 to honour the legacy of the late Caroline Plummer (1978-2003), an outstanding student of dance and social anthropology at the University of Otago. The fellows enriched the conference with their presentations reflecting on the impact of the fellowship on their work in the community.
The conference consisted of paper presentations, performative talks, discussion panels and master classes. It began with a powhiri at the Ōtākou marae, followed by a panel on Indigenous Practices and a korero and wānaka by Lou Potiki Bryant (2013 Caroline Plummer Fellow). The day concluded with a performative walk at St. Clair Beach in memory of Caroline Plummer.
Topics discussed during the three-day conference included:
- Community, Practice and Place
- Community Dance Education
- Community Dance and Artistic Performance
- Diverse Dancing Communities
- Performative Theatre Presentations
- Contested Spaces of Community Dance
- Communities of Practice
- Valuing Process in Community Dance
- Community Dance and Wellbeing
Professor Sherry Shapiro, Professor Emeritus of Dance, Meredith College, Raleigh North Carolina, USA and Professor Svi Shapiro, Professor of Education and Cultural Studies, Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations, University of North Carolina, USA.
‘Threads through the Choreographic Process; Grounding Aesthetic Activism in Community’
Associate Professor Ralph Buck, Head of Dance Studies, National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
‘Community Dance: I can only Hope….’
Dance Studies Speakers
Dr Ojeya Cruz Banks, School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Otago, New Zealand.
‘Song, Dance and Music: A Triad of Community Well-Being from West Africa to Aotearoa/NZ’
Ali East, School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Otago, New Zealand.
‘Rehearsing Democracy, Enhancing Community through Interdisciplinary Performance Improvisation ‘Shared Agendas’’
Sofia Kalogeropoulou, School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Otago, New Zealand.
‘‘Zorba the Flashmobian’: National Communities Go Viral’
Selected papers presented at the conference will be published in the Dance Research Aotearoa Journal in 2016.
Thank you to Professor Doug Booth, Dean of the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences.
The staff of the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, for their technical and administrative support.
The Otago Community Trust.
The Development and Alumni Office, University of Otago.
The parents of the late Caroline Plummer, Bibby and Anthony Plummer.
The volunteers who contributed to the organisation and success of the event.