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Dance Studies Values

Dance Studies stands with bell hooks credo/book teaching to transgress. The visibility of dance on our campus was founded upon values of inclusivity.  At CSUSM, dance is for every body. And, with everyone welcome regardless of their experience, ability and former training, we invite everybody to dance with the body they have 

Dance Studies is a discipline that emerged in the 1980s to critically address dance and identity specifically.  As the sole TT faculty, Dr. Schaffman established the Dance Studies Program with a commitment to creating curriculum that is decolonized, feminist, contemporary and experimental.  All classes are a confluence of theory and practice to recognize the context and significance of dance historically, politically and socially. We ask and embody: who is dancing?  

Dance Studies faculty recognize that Black people, their ancestors and contemporaries, are foundational to the legacy of dance in this country. This is discussed in every course. We are committed to using our privileged positions to advocate for and support BIPOC students on our campus. 

Since 2002, Dr. Schaffman has hosted/proposed over 60 dance related events on our campus. The list on our website honors the highly diverse artists and scholars that have intersected with students on our campus. 

There have been occasions over the last few years, where faculty have been confronted by racist behavior in LDGE classrooms. Under these circumstances, we have sought support from faculty fellows for support and to educate students directly in these courses. There has also been white supremacist threats to faculty and vandalism to the Dance Studies bulletin board. We have taken action through various administrative entities to report these incidents and support students. Minor Elective courses are predominately BIPOC students and these challenges have not arisen and dialogue is transparent.  

 Action Items 

  • Dance Studies faculty will become more and more vocal in our commitment to a more just and equitable society. We will call out White supremacy and call in accountability.  
  • Once available, faculty will be encouraged to participate in the CSUSM Black Ally training. 
  • Dance faculty are encouraged to attend trainings that challenge educational inequity.  
  • Dance Studies perseveres to curate, hire, and support Black and POC dance and performance artists/scholars on our campus.   
  • In fall 2020, Dance Studies will host Raja Feather Kelly for a virtual residency. Raja is renowned Black queer dance artist with a politically charged body of work that challenges/embraces pop culture.  A virtual performance event on October 1 is made by possible  by Arts & Lectures and  the Wagner/Epstein donor funds. 
  • In spring 2021, Dance Studies will host mayfield brooks, hopefully for an in person residency and Arts and Lectures performance event. mayfield is known internationally for their improvising while black performance work, teachings and writing.  
  • Dance Studies was ranked #2 in CHABBS for a TT hire, which is not possible at this time. Dance Studies will pursue a hire for a dance artists/scholar committed to the values of inclusivity and decolonization of the field of dance in the academy. 
  • Dance Studies will hire diverse lecturers with expertise in decentering the dance history canon.  Lecturers committed to Social Somatics are especially invited in order to respect each students’ embodied experience and identity. 
  • Diversity & Equity UDGE Courses: 
  • DNCE 321: Cultures in Motion was approved for the Diversity & Equity required curriculum in spring 2020. This will be offered in fall2020 and/or spring 2021.   
  • DNCE 303: Contemporary Folklorico is nearly approved for Diversity & Equity. 
  • DNCE 323: Women in Performance Choreographies of Resistance will be proposed next year. 
  • Dr. Schaffman will be working with a Black CSUSM student (AMD major-Dance Studies Minor) via an Independent Study, and in consultation with a Hip Hop dance scholar from UC,  to co-create a 3-unit UDGE Hip Hop course that blends practice and theory. Currently there are only 1-unit Hip Hop courses offered (DNCE 130-7 and DNCE 203).  This new course will be taught by an expert in the field, someone who is able to impart the social politics and history of the form and examines the depth of the impact of Hip Hop globally. 
  • Various DNCE courses will participate in TA’s Career Skills class events as well events hosted by MUSC, AMD and A&L. 

Dance Studies is relaunching our website which will be representative of our values and student population.