• (forthcoming) Paper Presenter: "Funding Bodies: Working Identities and the National Endowment for the Arts." Cultural Studies Association Annual Conference, "Performance, Politics, Power," Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, May 30-June 1, 2019.

  • (forthcoming) Paper Presenter: "Bureaucratic Angling, Institutional Activism: The NEA Dance Program's Covert "Culture Wars" in the Panel entitled "Gamers, Gatekeepers and Guidelines: Steering Policy Toward Divergent Ends". Arts Patronage in Modern America Symposium, Rothemere American Institute, University of Oxford, U.K. June 26, 2019.

  • (forthcoming) Invited Plenary presenter: " TBD" in "Dance Work for the Commons: Actions, Interventions, Innovations." Dance Studies Association Annual Conference. Northwestern University, Evanston IL. August 9, 2019

  • Working Group Member, "Performing Jobs." Paper Title, "Funding Bodies: Choreographing Management and the National Endowment for the Arts." Association of Stage and Theatre Research Annual Conference. San Diego, CA, November 15-18, 2018.

  • Paper Presenter: "How to Dance in a Crisis: Emergency Maneuvers within the US Department of Veterans Affairs" American Studies Association Annual Conference, November 8-11, 2018, Atlanta, GA.

  • Co-organizer, Conference for Research on Choreographic Interfaces (CRCI). Brown University, March 9-10 2018.

  • Paper Presenter: "NEA Policy and (as) Possibility: Organizing African Diasporic Dance." Collegium of African Diaspora Dance biennial conference. Duke University, February 18, 2018.

  • Organizer, Moderator. The Activist Body Symposium. Brown University. September 29, 2017. www.theactivistbody.com

  • Working Session co-convener/contributor: "Boring the Body/Boring Bodies: Perforating embodied hierarchies in dance studies." Paper title: "For Administrative Activism: A Manifesto for Mundane to the Point of Boring Bodies." Association of Stage and Theater Research. Atlanta, GA. November 18, 2017.

  • Paper Presenter: "Dance in/as 'Fake News: Notes from the Policy Front." Dance Studies Association. Columbus, OH, October 14, 2017.

  • Paper Presenter: “Touring Transitions, Funding Transmissions at the US National Endowment for the Arts.” Congress on Research in Dance/Society for Dance History Scholars Joint Conference. Pomona, CA, November 3-6 2016.

  • Paper Presenter: "Leveraging Acts and Labor Supports: Liz Lerman’s The Healing Wars." Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Conference. Chicago, IL. August 8-11, 2016.

  • Paper Presenter: "Word Weapons and Commitment Muscles: Narrative Justifications for US Federal Arts Subsidy" Congress on Research in Dance/Society of Dance History Scholars Joint Conference, Iowa University, Iowa City, November 13-16, 2014.

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  • Panel Moderator: "Embodied Agency and Danced Signifiers", Breakout Session, Congress on Research in Dance/Society of Dance History Scholars Joint Conference, Iowa University, Iowa City, November 13-16, 2014.

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  • Paper Presenter: “Dance for Veterans: Political Affect and Alternative Exits”. Northwestern University Graduate Student Conference, Department of Performance Studies. October 11-13, 2013.

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  • Panel Moderator: “Choreographies of Curating". Tactical Bodies:  Dance Under Construction/Congress on Research in Dance Special Topics Conference, UCLA April 20, 2013.

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  • Round table Organizer, Moderator: “Unmasking Dance Making: Choreographies of Production”. Tactical Bodies: Dance Under Construction/Congress on Research in Dance Special Topics Conference, at UCLA. Organized and moderated artist panel featuring lifelong U.S. dance artists: Simone Forti, Dan Froot, Rennie Harris, Lionel Popkin, David Rousséve, and Cheng-Chieh Yu. April 20, 2013.

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  • Paper Presenter: “Critical Pedagogy and Arts Education”, conference workshop presentation. Educating for Social Justice: Collaborative Critical Praxis, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies Teacher Education Program Conference at UCLA. May 2, 2012.

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  • Paper Presenter: “Governing Bodies: Dance Production in Policy and Practice”, paper presentation. Re-Imagining Archives in Motion, Dance Under Construction Graduate Dance Studies Conference at UC-Riverside, April 13-14, 2012.

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  • Panel Co-Presenter: “Food For Thought: Methods for Generating Meaningful Feedback on Works-in-Progress”, UCLA Chew On This series, UCLA Dept. of World Arts and Cultures, March 1, 2010. Co-presenters: Heather Coker, Sarah Leddy, and Herbbie Moore.

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  • Roundtable Presenter: “Against Unison: Choreography as Representation and Being-in-the-World”, Congress On Research in Dance/Association of Stage and Theater Research Joint Conference, Renaissance Seattle Hotel, November 20, 2010.

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  • Danced Lecture:  “Community: and other Heroic Failures”. UCLA Chew On This series, UCLA Dept. of World Arts and Cultures, February 1, 2010.

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  • Danced Lecture: “Why Dance, Why Not? Serving UP Dance within Under-Served Markets.” Conference presentation, Midwest Arts Conference, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Milwaukee, WI, September 23, 2003.

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  • Danced Lecture: “Brain Activation through Movement”. Performance lecture, United Performing Arts Fund employee giving campaign, various workplace contexts, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, (twelve performances, 2006-2007).

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  • Danced Lecture: “Jazz Hands”, Performance lecture, United Performing Arts Fund employee giving campaign, various workplace contexts, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (over 60 performances between 2004-2007).

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  • Danced Lecture:“The Greatest Game in Town”. Performance lecture, United Performing Arts Fund employee giving campaign, various workplace contexts, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, (25 performances, 2004).

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  • Danced Lecture: How I Got My Dad To Watch Modern Dance”. Performance lecture, United Performing Arts Fund employee giving campaign, various workplace contexts, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Co-presented with Mike Wilbur (Sarah’s dad) in over 30 locations throughout southeastern Wisconsin between 2000-2005.

Scholarly Presentations & Performance Lectures

SARAH
WILBUR
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Choreographer. 

Researcher. 

Dance Advocate.

Assistant Professor of the Practice of Dance

Duke University

Durham, North Carolina, U.S.A.

I am Sarah Wilbur. I am a dance artist and scholar whose creative and academic research together recognize the parity between dances that are performed and the aspects of dance making that are suppressed or ignored.  I am invested in illuminating the vital contributions of dance and arts labor and laborers. My academic research asks how institutionalized norms of arts practice and performance make people move and organize their work. I study institutions and local arts work worlds using body-based analytical frameworks to show, in part, how people enact policies--and alternative possibilities--that sustain enabling environments for the arts in US culture.

 

I currently serve as an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Dance in the Dance Program at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, U.S. 

As a dance artist, I have spent over two decades working between the non-profit arts production contexts of concert dance, musical theater, opera, and experimental performance, K-12 education, social service, health care, and Veterans' Affairs. Thus,​ I approach arts infrastructure as a complex human exercise by bringing my cross-sector and cross cultural history as an artist to bear on the study of US arts labor, institutions, and infrastructures.

 

In addition to choreographing dance theatre works that challenge dance's hierarchies of practice and production, I am currently completing a book that asks how instruments of federal arts funding make dance artists move through the enduring struggle to resource and recognize dance across the first fifty years of grant making at the Dance Program at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). 

I hold terminal degrees in dance practice (M.F.A.) and culture and performance (Ph.D.) from UCLA's Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance. I also hold a B.F.A. in dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

 

In July of 2018, I joined the Duke Dance faculty after completing a two-year appointment as the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in dance studies at Brown University (2016-2018). 

I have taught dance studio, seminar, and hybrid courses in academia since 1997.  My studio-oriented courses help students to situate their dance practices and productions in cultural and political economic contexts. My seminar courses apply body-focused research methods to the study of cultural performances in and beyond the arts. 

More on my institutional affiliations here: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/sarah.wilbur

 

Assistant Professor of the Practice of Dance                       

Dance Department

Duke University

Box 90686

2020 Campus Drive 209F

Durham, NC 27708-0685

Office Phone: 919-660-3369            

To avoid over-choreographing our present or future relationship(s), you might consider following me in the clouds using any of the following handles:

 

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarah.wilbur.50

On Twitter: @swilburdance

On Instagram: @swilburdance

 

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