Welcoming in Dancers from All Traditions: De-centering Modern/Contemporary Dance in Choreography Class

Author, Researcher, or Creator

Kristin HorriganFollow

Affiliation of Author, Researcher, or Creator

School of the Arts


Performing Arts


Kristin Horrigan

Resource Type


Publication, Publisher or Distributor

Journal of Dance Education: Special Issue on Race in Dance Education/ Taylor&Francis

Publication Date


Related Information


Brief Description

Abstract: Most college-level choreography classes are grounded in the aesthetics, techniques, and practices of modern/post-modern/contemporary dance (hereafter referred to as contemporary dance). Even if the department’s technique classes reflect a broader range of dance traditions, choreography classes that center contemporary dance speak loudly to our students about whose traditions are valued most. Dancers with backgrounds in other forms, such as hip-hop, salsa, kathak, etc. must learn a new set of movement principles and values to enter into classes on dance-making. To create a dance field that welcomes all dance forms and does not lift contemporary dance and ballet above the rest, I argue that we should de-center contemporary dance in our choreography curricula. In this article, I share my experiences working to de-center contemporary dance in my choreography courses over the past two years and discuss why I see this as a matter of racial equity.


choreography, dance, education, equity

Preferred Citation Style

Chicago Manual

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