Disrupting / Belonging

Event Type
Event Description

NOTE: this session is concurrent with Emily Stein and Rebecca Crystal's Workshop-Paper Presentation "Building Somatic Confidence: Tools for Ballet and Improvisation" in Studio 300.

Embodied Talk-Lecture-Performance-Workshop in the Theater (dress to move and bring something to write with/on)

Embodied Talk: "Slouching Towards Technique: Gender dysphoria, physical correctness, and sense of belonging in dance class"

Drawing on personal history as an inroad to broader observations, Nora Sharp addresses an intersection of dynamics around movement learning culture, gender dysphoria, and challenges with physical execution. In particular, it unpacks the ways that striving to be successful at certain kinds of technique - and feeling inadequate if one can’t do so - can overlap with and reinforce identity-based challenges that arise in dance education. This session is based on a 2022 essay originally titled “Am I a Bad Dancer, a Big Fucking Baby, or Just Trans?”, and will use the notion of a sense of belonging as an orienting point for what movement education spaces might seek to foster.

Nora Sharp is a creator and performer working across dance, theater, film, comedy, writing, and community facilitation. Their work often addresses the underbellies and kinks in the fabric of queer+trans identity formation, as well as artmaking culture/labor and the creative economy.

Photo of Nora Sharp by Anjali Pinto.

Lecture-Performance-Workshop: "Neuroemergent Insurgence: Disrupting Methodology, Valuing Emergence, and Embodying Inquiry in Practice and Performance"

Chrissy Martin’s research emphasizes the importance of embracing unique identities and neurological aptitudes by legitimizing the bodymind as a site for practice-based research in the classroom and on stage. Challenging binary and normative frameworks, she introduces a non-method for practicing and performing that values process, identity, and sociocultural context. The ways in which neurodivergent, queer bodyminds navigate and express themselves through movement invites the co-creation of knowledge by inviting the audience to do, speak, and think with her.

Chrissy Martin is an interdisciplinary performance artist and movement educator with roots in contemporary dance forms, Afro-Caribbean dance, postmodern experimental music, vocal jazz, and physical theater. Chrissy blends contemporary dance and language/voice to rigorously examine her intersecting queer and neurodivergent identities. Martin is an avid member of the global contact improvisation community and has facilitated and taught workshops across the Midwest and is currently Assistant Professor at Northwestern University.

About the American Dancing Bodies Symposium

In 2012, a curricular revolution took place at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago recognizing the American dancing body as a rich fusion of techniques originating in Africa, Europe and the United States. More than a decade since this transformation at the Dance Center, the impact locally and nationally has been profound. The 2-day American Dancing Bodies Symposium invites dance educators, enthusiasts, practitioners, scholars, and students to explore together the intersectionality of present-day dance: what's now and what's next in dance, on the stage, in the studio, and in the classroom?

Running Time
80 minutes
Dance Styles
Modern / Contemporary


The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago

1306 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 369-8330