Alum Receives the 2020 Oscar G. Brockett Book Prize for Dance Research

Alum Receives the 2020 Oscar G. Brockett Book Prize for Dance Research

Monday, November 23, 2020
woman with short brown hair smiling

The Oscar G. Brockett Book Prize for Dance Research is awarded each year to the most outstanding book in dance published within the last three years. This recognition, awarded through the Dance Studies Association, comes with a $1000 prize provided with funds from the Oscar G.  Brockett Center for Theatre History and Criticism. Among this year's winners is alumna Clare Croft (Ph.D. 2010) for her book Queer Dance: Meanings and Makings.

Clare Croft’s edited volume Queer Dance: Meanings and Makings was commended by the award committee for its boldness in demonstrating and embodying the generative potential of coalitional and collaborative Dance Studies work on queer dance. Exercising curatorial and editorial prowess, editor Clare Croft gives fresh presence to non-normative conceptions of the queer – foregrounding investigations of a range of feminist queer-of-color practice, productively feminist-identified. 

Queer Dance: Means and Makings is a model for scholarship that transcends theory/practice divides; designed to circulate across multiple platforms—including live performance, traditional print media and digital multimedia. Not only theorizing coalition, the book itself performs coalition, bringing together seventeen thought-provoking essays with a website and a performance series offering full performance works linked digitally to the volume. As an important archive of twenty-first century queer dance, Croft’s volume makes an important contribution to the digital arts and humanities, modeling a way for scholarly texts to be inclusive of the voices and works of dance artists and queer activists. As Croft observes in her strong introductory essay, the book makes the case for dance studies as itself coalitional, essentially joined in vital aspects with black studies, feminism, queer studies and queer performance. The Introduction not only stretches the reach of Dance Studies but the book as a whole advances feminist, anti-racist and decolonial work in dance studies through complex theoretical, historical and methodological interventions.

book cover for "Queer Dance: Meanings & Makings" with a dancer doing floor work in black and white

Croft’s presence on this project goes well beyond that of a typical monograph editor, it includes curation of a queer dance performance series, securing high quality video documentation of those performances and conducting extensive interviews with the dancers and choreographers about how their artistic practice embodies and extends queer theory. All these materials are included on the book’s website, creating together with the volume, a rich resource for teaching, as well as an invaluable archive of queer dance performance in the early twenty-first century.

Authors, contributors, and artists that contributed to this anthology include Lou Henry Hoover, Sandra Chatterjee, Cynthia Ling Lee, Shyamala Moorty, Emily Wilcox, Gu Jiani, J. Carter, Jennifer Campbell, Hannah Kosstrin, Thomas F. Defrantz, Justin Torres, Nic Gareiss, Kareem Khubchandani, Peter Carpenter, Jennifer Monson, DD Dorvillier, Angie Ahlgren, Rocky Monroe, Patrick McKelvey, Martine Whitehead, Kevin Guy, James Morrow, Gina Kohler, Cleek Schrey, Doran George (in memorium) and Amy Guilmette.

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