Academic Teaching

Duke University Dance Program

Spring 2021

Art as Work: Valuing Labor in the Arts (graduate/undergraduate seminar)

Interdisciplinary seminar on work, working identities, and workplace performances in the arts. Enrolled graduates and advanced undergraduates review theories of artistic production, labor, and value across the analytical traditions of cultural labor studies, critical race and feminist studies, dance and performance studies. Analysis of dominant representations of arts labor and entrepreneurship from arts management, administration and policy discourse. Our goal is to highlight institutional pressures that constrain enabling environments for the arts. Culminating research projects analyze and interpret local arts workworlds, including but necessarily students' own. 

Spring 2021

Special Topics in Interdisciplinary Performance

Arts production seminar casts students as an interdisciplinary team exploring the a wide range of expressive media in live performance. Workshops and course case studies led by instructor and invited guests develop skills in movement, theatre, performance, music/sound design, video projection and live processing. This FULL CREDIT production arts seminar requires ongoing student-driven creative responses to agreed upon themes. Culminates in the public presentation of student-driven, collaborative performance works at the Rubenstein Arts Center. No formal arts training or experience necessary. 

Fall 2020

Theories of Corporeality (graduate seminar)

This graduate seminar explores theoretical frames for articulating the urgency and significance of the body as a non-negotiable power source. Course literature embraces a broad swath of disciplinary inroads to corporeality studies and draws significantly although not exclusively from the disciplines of dance, performance studies and critical area studies theorists and debates. Required readings, viewings, analysis of performance texts, guest presentations and movement workshops draw surgical attention to the body as a site of meaning making, knowledge and change. Students body forth knowledge in conversation, writing, and in-class movement activities that put theoretical concepts on their feet, so to speak. Course culminates in the creation of an original research project. The course is adaptive and open to Duke graduate students of all interests and abilities. Zero dance experience is required. 

Spring 2019

Improvisation (undergraduate studio)

The purpose of this practical dance course is to develop students’ capacity to engage in critically embodied choice-making using dance as a primary research framework. Following dance scholar Danielle Goldman (2010), we reject dominant associations of improvisation with “freedom” or unbridled expression, instead defining improvisation as a practice of moving in response to known and constraints. The course structure begins by introducing students to dance traditions from EuroAmerican, African, and Latin diasporas where the capacity to improvise danced movement is differentially valued. Next, students will draw from their respective movement histories in workshops that use improvisation to create choreography. Course readings, viewings, and intermittent field trips expose class participants to significant figures who use dance improvisation in performance. No formal dance training or background is required. All abilities welcome.

Movement in Question: Introduction to Critical Dance Studies

(undergraduate seminar)

This writing-intensive seminar casts undergraduate students as a research team engaging in multiple ways with the interdisciplinary field of critical dance studies. Students read and analyze foundational texts and theories in the discipline, develop capacity to interpretively analyze movement across a range of contexts, and practically engage in embodied activities that make gaps between textual representation and embodiment visible. This hybrid approach throws movement into question and centralizes dance as a critical way of knowing and making the world. Final Research Projects include conventional academic papers or choreographed performances that engage issues raised in the course.  Zero dance experience required. All interests and abilities welcomed.

Fall 2018, Fall 2019

Introduction to Dance (undergraduate hybrid)

This introductory undergraduate dance seminar situates dance as an art form that responds to and influences the shifting artistic and cultural landscape of contemporary society. Our context-specific approach is interdisciplinary and multi-modal. In other words, we embrace reading, writing, speaking, seeing, making, and practical engagement with dance traditions and techniques as rigorous modes of investigation. Students will read and discuss cross-cultural dance literatures, critically respond to and choreographically analyze live and recorded dance performances and participate in dance experiences that evidence how dance produces meaning in local contexts. Intermittent movement labs challenge students to reflect on their own embodied choice making. Students with and without dance experience are encouraged to join this critical investigation of dance as a cultural practice that uniquely foregrounds the body’s capacity to produce a politics.

Wesleyan University

Institute for Curatorial and Performance Practice (ICPP)

Visiting Assistant Professor - graduate program in performance curation

2018-2019

Entrepreneurial Strategies for Curatorial Practice (2018-2019, 2019-2020)

(co-taught with Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez)

This graduate course for curators introduces students to a variety of creative strategies, practices, and resources that curators draw on to successfully build artistic projects from the idea phase through implementation, assessment, and next steps. To do this work, students will study a range of materials related to arts policy, entrepreneurship, and curatorial practice while also meeting with key artists and professionals. By the year’s end, students should be able to strategically build programming that leverages resources, but also addresses the needs of partners, audiences, and other key stakeholders.

Brown University

Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies (TAPS)

2016-2018

Spring 2018

Movement and Gesture: Dance, Media, and Theory

This graduate seminar functions as a laboratory on writing the body and writing movement across the intra-disciplines of dance, media, and performance studies. In it, we will rehearse methods of writing bodies in/and movement, human and nonhuman, that have emerged in dance and performance scholarship over the past four decades. We will integrate literatures from political philosophy, economy, and phenomenology to show how writing movement and writing gesture performs across the humanities more broadly. Combining reading, writing, viewing, and practical explorations, students will reconsider habits of seeing and sensing the body in relationship to their own graduate projects.

Fall 2017

The Activist Body

What does it mean to be a politically responsive body in the current historical moment?

 

The current explosion of activist activity on and beyond college campuses has been called a “movement moment” (McCarthy, 2017), signaling an urgent need to address what it means to be a politically responsive body in the world today. This course examines activism as a topic and performance practice rooted in the body’s capacity to disrupt the political status quo. Building from the growing literature on protest and social movement in dance and performance studies, students will theorize activism and agentic embodiment, analyze cultural events that claim activist intentions, and body forth activist strategies and manifestos in weekly movement sessions. In class activities are multi-modal and include: responding to course readings, viewing and discussing activist case studies, observing and documenting activist repertoires in and beyond the Brown campus, and participation in movement sessions facilitated in class by the instructor and invited guests. Final research projects can take the form of academic papers, activist syllabi/curricula or staged interventions in the virtual or physical realm. To compliment these activities, students are required to attend the one-day Activist Body Symposium on Friday, September 29th, 2017 at the Granoff Center and Lyman Hall, a free arts and humanities convening that features twenty perspectives on political embodiment and social movement, broadly defined.

Spring 2017

Sweating Infrastructure: Cultures of Support in Dance and Performance

As the income gap in the US has grown, the possibility of a career in the performing arts has become increasingly less viable for a significant percentage of the population. Issues of arts funding, labor, and professionalization have been debated across academic disciplines and by arts organizers who experience these instabilities firsthand. Researching infrastructure through a dance studies lens, this course reframes the role of embodied action, interaction and assembly in sustaining enabling environments for the arts. By reviewing literature and interviewing arts professionals, this project evidences how people “sweat” the problem of sustaining art work differently on sociocultural grounds.

Fall 2016

Introduction to Dance Studies

This seminar casts students as a research team engaging with key contributions the interdisciplinary field of critical dance studies in a variety of ways. We read key literatures, view live and video archived performances, observe and ethnographically document movement “worlds” on and around the Brown University campus, and practically embody dance traditions and creative processes in the dance studio. This practical research is aimed at providing students with an experiential foray into choreographic analysis as a principal research methodology in dance studies in the US academy. One participatory aspect of this hybrid course is a “field work week,”  wherein students tour and ethnographically observe and document various non-dance movement “worlds” on around campus. Our goal is to extend dance methods to the study of non-danced behaviors and interactions. The course culminates in a Final Research Paper that links a student-selected movement “world” to key concepts introduced in the course. Student insights are presented orally in a mini-symposium at the end of term.

University of California, Los Angeles

Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance [http://www.wacd.ucla.edu/]

Visual and Performing Arts Education (VAPAE) Minor

September 2009 – June 2016

 

During my graduate tenure at UCLA, (M.F.A./2012, Ph.D./2016) I taught courses for undergraduate dance (BA) majors and non-majors including:

 

Global Perspectives on Dance,  Dance Compositional Processes ,and Improvisation, and hybrid lecture/practice courses in critical dance pedagogy for upper division undergrads enrolled in UCLA's Visual and Performing Arts Education (VAPAE) Minor. In 2012-2013, I served as the departmental TA coordinator, facilitating graduate courses aimed at acclamating incoming students to departmental policies and the development of pedagogical tools and perspectives that align with their research areas and differentiated perspectives. I also served as a departmental teaching assistant in undergraduate courses in feminist film theory, and critical art pedagogy. I will outline the original coursework that I developed and implemented breifly, below.
 

In winter 2011, I wrote and implemented a critical dance pedagogy course for upper division undergraduates entitled, Art Education and Health: Movement-Based Pedagogy for Adult Populations for UCLA's Visual and Performing Arts Education program (UG minor). The course examined current projects involving artists and health care professionals with particular attention to issues of translation and critical methods, theories, and literacies required by these collaborations.I was a teaching artist in 2013 for the inaugural installation of the Classroom-in-Residence at the Hammer (CIR@H) project. CIR@H is designed to strengthen and advance student and teacher learning through a unique weeklong, immersive experience at the UCLA Hammer Museum with two (2) six grade classrooms from UCLA Community School. This project involves UCLA arts faculty, undergraduate pre-service arts educators, and classroom teachers invested in socially-engaged pedagogy. For a glimpse of the CIR@H program, see: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyEoBu6kezo]. In July/August 2013, I served as the dance teaching artist in residence with the Book Arts Summer Workshop,a pilot arts education and library literacy initiative led by VAPAE, the UCLA Lab School and the UCLA William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, in the West Adams district.

In Spring 2015, I wrote and implemented a campus wide lower division undergraduate seminar as a Collegium of University Teaching Fellow. The course, entitled: Infrastructure and the Performing Arts: Policies, Practices, Politics examined the historically unstable infrastructure of the performing arts through the transdisciplinary lens of performance studies. Integrates archival and practice-based research to highlight tensions between “official” policy narratives and the practical efforts of artists and arts intermediaries.

 

Other Academic Teaching Appointments

My pre-graduate experience teaching undergraduate and graduate students dance techniques (modern and jazz dance), improvisation, and choreography/dance composition as an adjunct dance faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1997-2007/28 semesters), continued at Marquette University (2003-2005/6 semesters), and CSU-Long Beach (2008-2014/5 semesters). A full teaching vita is available upon request.

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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