Well, my second conference at the Banff Centre for the Arts has come to a close. This conference for the Society for Dance History Scholars has been a completely different experience from the GEOIDE conference a couple weeks ago. This weekend there were a million hugs, a broad tonal range in conversations, random acts of dance and movement, and lots of old friends reconnecting. It has been a really great time!
I presented a paper called "Provocative Loci: The Banff Centre for the Arts and other places of dance creation", which is not really the paper I ended up writing or presenting. It's funny how the process of writing can totally shift the intended outcome to something very different, or at least skewed from the original inspiration. The paper I did present should more appropriately be called "Provocative Loci: Heterotopias and transitional places for artistic innovation." We can submit the papers for publication in the proceedings so I may change the title before submitting. These papers always sound so pretentious, and can be nerve-racking to present in case the audience also finds your work horribly pretentious, or worse, vapid. Ah well, it's done for now anyway.
My paper was one of the more conceptual presentations and though it still fit into the conference ethos, many presentations were localized on a specific performance or dance artist. One presentation in particular was great fun: a textual analysis of Centre Stage (2000)! Centre Stage could have easily appeared in my matinee chick flick post a few days ago. It's a terrible, terrible movie about ballerinas in a pre-professional program who have eating disorders, body-image crises, bleeding feet, sexual affairs, and very tight buns (hair and ass!). The analysis - quite well done, I should add - focused on the use of the mirror as an element of plot and character development.
Conferences, though sometimes very boring and always a hell of a lot of elbow-rubbing work, can turn up the most interesting people and projects. Now if only UBC would reconsider their meager conference funding for grad students, I could attend more of them and in more exotic locales.