At: 07/05/2022 9:00pm, in cooperation with: Performance and Memory Working Group


Janet Schroeder
Elizabeth Anaya
Aoife Sadlier
Ray Batchelor
María Gabriela López-Yánez
Terry Bright Kweku Ofosu
Kirsty Kay
Declan Patrick
Elina Djebbari
Priya A. Thomas
Leslie Satin
Laura Steil
Elena Benthaus

Cultural Memory and Popular Dance: Dancing to Remember, Dancing to Forget, hosted by: Clare Parfitt

MSA and the Performance and Memory Working Group invite you to a virtual book launch for the latest book in the Palgrave Memory Studies series, Cultural Memory and Popular Dance: Dancing to remember, dancing to forget (2021). This edited collection focuses on the myriad ways that people collectively remember or forget shared pasts through popular dance. In dance classes, nightclubs, family celebrations, tourist performances, on television, film, music video and the internet, cultural memories are shared and transformed by dancing bodies adapting yesterday’s steps to today’s concerns. The book gathers emerging and seasoned scholarly voices from a wide range of geographical and disciplinary perspectives to discuss cultural remembering and forgetting in diverse popular dance contexts. The contributors ask: how are Afro-diasporic memories invoked in popular dance classes? How are popular dance genealogies manipulated and reclaimed? What is at stake for the nation in the nationalizing of folk and popular dances? And how does mediated dancing transmit memory as feelings or affects? During the virtual book launch, the contributors and editor will discuss the chapters and themes of the book and answer questions from the audience.

Chair: Clare Parfitt, University of Chichester, Co-Chair of the MSA Performance and Memory Working Group


Clare Parfitt is an interdisciplinary dance scholar working between popular dance studies, memory studies and Atlantic studies. At the University of Chichester she has been a Reader in Popular Dance and she is currently a PhD Supervisor. Clare is also Co-Chair of the MSA Performance and Memory Working Group. She edited Cultural Memory and Popular Dance: Dancing to remember, dancing to forget (Palgrave, 2021), and is completing a monograph provisionally titled The Kinetics of Memory: Popular dance between France and the Atlantic World (OUP).


Janet Schroeder is a percussive dance artist, scholar, and teacher, with particular interests in tap dance, Appalachian clogging, and body percussion. Her current research investigates the choreographic and representational strategies choreographers use to transfer the history and legacy of these dance forms to the stage, paying particular attention to representations of the complex ethnic and racial identities affiliated with each. Dance Chronicle published her article “Choreographing Appalachia as America: The Hazards of Nostalgia on the Concert Stage” in 2020. Schroeder holds a PhD in dance studies from The Ohio State University and an MFA in dance from SUNY Brockport.

Elizabeth Anaya is an independent scholar born, raised, and living in Alaska. In 2017, she earned her master’s degree in Dance Knowledge, Practice, and Heritage through a consortium of European universities, having completed her fieldwork research on dance in Cuba. She now works as an educator and adjunct instructor in languages and humanities. She also teaches Cuban dance, organizes dance events, and arranges Cuba trips alongside her husband, who is a professional dancer from Santiago de Cuba. As a scholar, she is interested in intangible cultural heritage, cultural diffusion and tourism, and looking at music and dance as cultural texts.

Aoife Sadlier is a lecturer in global sustainable development at MLA College, University of Plymouth, and a licensed Zumba Fitness instructor.  Her research applies a cultural lens to the study of sport, education and sustainable development, and explores the potential dialogue between digital culture, corporeality and collective movement practices.  Aoife’s PhD (King’s College London) was the first cultural exploration of Zumba Fitness, in which she argued that collective movement challenges the patriarchal, capitalist and heteronormative foundations of society.  Aoife’s work has been published in a variety of international journals.  She is also co-authoring a book on the role of youth, sport and the arts in small states, and writing a memoir.

Ray Batchelor is a queer tango dancer, teacher, activist, author, independent scholar and historian. Part of Queer Tango London since 2011, he works with, Birthe Havmøller and Mori Plaschinski on The Queer Tango Project, for whom he co-edits publications, curates the Queer Tango Image Archive, and contributes to and co-moderates The Queer Tango Conversation discussion forum on Facebook. During the COVID Pandemic, the Project published his eBook, Queer Tango Histories: Making a Start (2020). He is presently co-editing an anthology of speculations about the post-COVID future of queer tango when dancing resumes: Queer Tango Futures (2021).

María Gabriela López-Yánez is an Ecuadorian Performing Arts researcher and artist specialized in Afro-Ecuadorian dances. María Gabriela holds a PhD in Theatre and Performing Arts from Goldsmiths, University of London (UK) and an MA in Performing Arts with specialization in Dance from the University of Malaya (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). She is Co-founder of the ‘Grupo Itinerante de Artes Guandul’, with whom she has lead research and community-based projects since 2007. She has presented her work in Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Uruguay, China, France, Ireland, Austria, Ecuador, Kazakhstan and Portugal. Currently, she is a lecturer at the Carrera de Danza (Universidad Central del Ecuador).

Terry Bright Kweku Ofosu graduated with a Master of Fine Arts (Dance) at the University of Ghana in 2009, and has taught at the Department of Dance Studies, at the same university, since 2011. He has seven publications, and is currently awaiting his PhD result at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana. Terry has conducted traditional and popular dance workshops with several institutions including New York University in Ghana and Abu Dhabi, Universities of Maryland, Riverside, Irvine and Stanford in the USA. He has also created choreographies for several beauty pageants and adjudicated in several dance contests in Ghana.

Kirsty Kay completed her PhD in Central and East European Studies at the University of Glasgow in 2020. Her dissertation looked at nation-building processes within the Hungarian táncház revival. She is currently a research affiliate at the University of Glasgow looking at historical and contemporary uses of travel culture within national narratives and works as an academic editor in the humanities and social sciences. Kirsty is the English Language Editor of Stasis, a bilingual journal of social and political theory based at the European University at St Petersburg and is Senior Editor at the Editing Cooperative.

Declan Patrick is a lecturer in Theatre Studies at the University of Waikato, in New Zealand. He is an academic and theatre practitioner working across performance, dance and video, with particular interest in the performance of culture. His research takes the form of traditional academic publications and performance, and he is Artistic Director of Fighting Fit Productions.

Elina Djebbari is an anthropologist and ethnomusicologist, currently assistant lecturer of ethnomusicology at Paris 8 University. After her PhD dissertation that focused on the National Ballet of Mali, her current research deals with transatlantic circulations and local appropriation processes of Caribbean music and dance practices in postcolonial West Africa. She has previously worked as a postdoctoral research associate for the ANR-FAPESP funded project Transatlantic Cultures at Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3 University and for the ERC funded project Modern Moves at King’s College London.

Priya A. Thomas is a dance historian with a multidisciplinary practice that straddles dance, music, performance, theatre, and digital media. Her scholarly research focuses on historical configurations of the nonhuman/monster in transatlantic contexts of the long nineteenth century (1750-1913). She is the recipient of research awards from Dance Studies Association, SDHS (Society of Dance History Scholars), and SCDS (Society for Canadian Dance Studies). Thomas is assistant professor at Texas Woman’s University in the Department of Dance where she teaches in the BA, MA, MFA, and Ph.D. dance programs.

Leslie Satin, choreographer/dancer/scholar, teaches at New York University’s Gallatin School. As faculty/guest artist, she has taught at Bard College, Ailey/Fordham University, State University of NY, University of Chichester, Hamidrasha/Israel, Centro Coreográfico/Brazil. Satin co-edited the Performing Autobiography issue of Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory. She is developing a manuscript joining Georges Perec’s writing to dance. Her performance texts and writings about dance and Perec, space and site, visual art, score-derived composition, and autobiography appear in many journals and edited collections, including Literary Geographies; Choreographic Practices; Dance Research Journal; Performing Arts Journal; Georges Perec’s Geographies (eds. Forsdick, Leak, Phillips/UCL). Satin holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from NYU.

Laura Steil is an anthropologist interested in the cultural dynamics of European cities. She teaches in dance departments (University of Paris 8, PSPBB, CFD Cergy) and has a research appointment at the Center of Contemporary and Digital History (University of Luxembourg). Her research focuses on popular dance, cultural transmission, mobility/ies and space. As a public anthropologist, she works alongside artists in the non-profit sector on projects of oral history and cultural memory, experimenting with new methods of producing and disseminating knowledge. Her first book examines young Black Parisians’ use of dance to fashion cosmopolitan selves and navigate urban spaces

Hailing from Berlin, Elena Benthaus is a Sessional (Adjunct) Lecturer, currently living and working in Naarm (Melbourne) in so-called Australia. As a very very interdisciplinary dance studies scholar, her research on dance on the popular screen sits in between the disciplines and theoretical lineages of screendance studies, screen studies, cultural studies, popular culture and popular music studies, and fandom/spectatorship studies. Her scholarship can be found in The International Journal of Screendance and The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Competition. She also currently serves as the Chair of PoP Moves Australia/Australasia.