Jews and Jewishness in the Dance World

October 13-15, 2018
ASU Tempe campus | Tempe, AZ

Celebrating and examining the impact of Jews and the Jewish experience on the dance field and broader communities.

This is a free event and registration is required

Download Conference Program Book (PDF)

Deliberately inclusive in scope, definition, and audience, this conference features over 100 movement and dance specialists from eight countries—Argentina, Austria, Canada, England, France, Germany, Israel, and the United States. These include dancers and choreographers, along with videographers, critics, scholars, educators, and dance/movement therapists, among others.

Approximately 40 unique events will take place over three days, including presentations, lectures, workshops, booths and roundtables. Special events include two pre-conference workshops, three keynote presentations, a library exhibition overseen by Judith Brin Ingber, and evening performance curated by Liz Lerman and Wendy Perron.

The conference defines Jewishness very broadly as a diverse, ever changing, social construction emerging out of specific historical and cultural contexts that require analysis and reflection. Jewishness covers shifting experiences of Diaspora, the Holocaust, Israel, and Arab-Jewish relations, among other aspects. The event covers different dance styles, including modern, ballet, hip hop and “street” forms, social dance, folk dance, Flamenco and considers developments in the art, educational, commercial and social spheres.

Google Group Information
A Google group has been established in relation to the conference, and for those who wish to participate in discussions and share information around the topics related to the conference. There are also presenter profiles and different lists available that you can contribute to regarding past conferences/symposia, books, and choreography on Jewish themes.

You do not need to attend the conference to join the group. If you wish to join send an email to:


Detailed Explanation
The conference, and related book anthology and film projects that are being planned, address two broad questions:

  • What has been the explicit and implicit impact of Jewish creative artists, thinkers, and organizers on the evolution of dance in education, the concert dance realm, commercial dance world and other specific contexts?

  • How have concerns central to “the Jewish experience,” whether related to identity, history, religious practice, Israel, everyday life and/or conflict and war, influenced developments in the dance field? 

More specifically, the conference considers the following sub-themes:

  1. Jewish Bodies and the Reimagining of Dance Technique
    How have shifting ideas about the nature of Jewish identities/bodies impacted the development of dance technique and dance pedagogy?

  2. Dance, Community and Social Justice
    How have Jewish dance artists, educators, dance scientists, philosophers and program coordinators animated how we conceptualize self/other, community, empathy, and social justice?

  3. Jews, Dissent, and Irony
    How have debate, doubt and humor, as characteristics of Jewish history and identity impacted the evolution of dance performance and scholarship and the development of dance programs in higher education?

  4. Performing Trauma and Transformation
    How have experiences of persecution, war, genocide and the Holocaust and issues related to memory, preservation, memorialization, metamorphosis and transfiguration engaged the dance field?

  5. Redefining Site/Sight
    How have Jewish choreographers, video artists, exhibition designers, presenters and funders restaged dance and transformed our ways of looking at/experiencing dance on the concert stage, in digital media, and in other spaces?

  6. Diasporic Monologues and Dialogues
    How have struggles/experiences of navigating roots, routes, and memories influenced how Jews experience dance and relate to other minorities and diasporic groups/individuals in shaping the dance field?