Dr. Dodds Awarded the Gertrude Lippincott Award

Dr. Dodds Awarded the Gertrude Lippincott Award

Dr Sherril Dodds was awarded the 2015 Gertrude Lippincott Award for her essay, “The Choreographic Interface: Dancing Facial Expression in Hip-Hop and Neo-Burlesque Striptease.” Named in honor of its donor, a devoted teacher of modern dance in the Midwest and mentor to many students, Gertrude Lippincott Award was established to recognize excellence in the field of dance scholarship.

The committee commented: In her article, ‘The Choreographic Interface: Dancing Facial Expression in Hip-Hop and Neo-Burlesque Striptease’, published in Dance Research Journal, Professor Sherril Dodds issues a call to arms, or rather, a call to the face. Using a direct and arresting writing style, Dodds identifies the face as a blind spot in dance research, and urges dance scholars to join her in reclaiming the face as an integral part of the dancing body that, nevertheless, has a distinct role in the production of meaning. The article is grounded in a critical engagement with Deleuze and Guattari’s theory of faciality, as well as Darwinian universalism, Richard Schechner’s perspectives on acting, J.L Austin and Judith Butler’s concepts of performativity and Phillip Auslander’s ‘guitar face’. From this discussion, Dodds develops the notion of the choreographic interface, foregrounding interactions between the face, other body parts and other dancing faces. The usefulness of this concept is demonstrated through two popular dance examples, the hip-hop dancer Virgil “Lil O” Gadson, and a performance by neo-burlesque striptease artist Darlinda Just Darlinda. Dodds’ article exemplifies how attention to popular dance practices can reveal and challenge the assumptions underlying dance studies methodologies and ways of seeing constructed around ‘art dance’. Her argument has implications not just for popular dance studies, but also for dance studies more broadly, performances studies and beyond. It this broad contribution to scholarship, as well as the article’s eloquence and clarity, that renders the article deserving of the highest recognition.


-Sherril Dodds

Professor, Chair, Dept. of Dance

Life Lessons in Hip Hop

11148691_10103237535015753_2811907820971205436_n 10856523_10102834279957123_3909557839260128404_o IMG_0890

Life Lessons in Hip Hop

Dr Sherril Dodds, in collaboration with b-boys Steve “Steve Believe” Lunger and Mark “Metal” Wong, Co-Directors of Hip Hop Fundamentals, have initiated a new research project called “Life Lessons in Hip Hop”. The project focuses on on Temple Bboys, a student-led organization formally affiliated with Temple University, and the local North Philadelphia bboy community. The project has two main aims:

  • to document and preserve the vibrant dance practices of a Philadelphia ‘breaking’  community as its members engage in collective practice sessions and dance battles with other local dancers.
  • to elucidate how bboys draw on their embodied knowledge of breaking and battling to shape and inform other areas of their lives.

For more information on Hip-Hop fundamentals, please visit http://www.hiphopfundamentals.com/

-Dr. Sherril Dodds

Professor, Chair, Dept. of Dance

Temple Water Dances

Temple Water Dances


On Sunday, March 22, dance students at Temple University presented Temple Water Dances, a  performance to raise awareness for water rights and sustainable practices. The event, a collaboration between graduate and undergraduate dance students at Temple University under the direction of Professor Merián Soto, was scheduled in observance of World Water Day, a United Nations holiday devoted to raising public attention for the critical water issues of our era. The event consisted of a series of dances and videos that responded to the theme “Hot Water-Water, Peace & War”, as well as presentations by environmental scientists from Temple University and the Philadelphia community, Fletcher Chmarra-Huff and Tony DiLudovico.


Temple Water Dances celebrated the spiritual and life giving properties of water. Water is an intrinsic part of our being; 70% of the adult body is water. In fact, the body’s structure and form reflect the fluid form of water and trace our evolution from water to land.  As such, the movement of water is a great teacher for dance.


Presentations also addressed the global water crisis and questioned the corporate view of water as a “resource” rather than an intrinsic right. Water has been privatized in many places around the globe with devastating consequences for the communities whose water is sold to large corporations.


Temple Water Dances explores and advocates for useful responses to a global crisis that threatens the stability and subsequent motility of all living bodies. “As improvisers we see the themes inherent to this crisis – flow, survival, sustainability, conservation, and freedom – as vital parts of our creative process. Rather than force water to a point of stagnation, we want to keep it moving. Rather than dictate its path, we consent to its liberated choosing.” Amanda Di Ludovico.


Temple Water Dances included works by Long Cheng, Brooke Frieling, David Heller, Leslies Cornish, Kailey McCrudden, Katie Adkins, Blythe Smith, Muyu Yuan, Angelica Spilis, Amanda DiLudovico, and Elisa Davis.


Check out Julia Davis’ review of Temple Water Dances in GreenPhillyBlog



Kun-Yang Lin Dancers

As we head into the Holiday Season, I think of the many things for which I am grateful, including the opportunity to create new works through my company, Kun-Yang Lin Dancers.  Shortly after our performance at The Egg, an architecturally wondrous, 1,000-seat theatre in Albany, NY, KYL/D (which includes 3 Temple Dance alumni) began work on HOME, a new piece inspired by stories of the diverse residents of Southeast Philadelphia, where KYL/D’s research center is located.

Through HOME, we are working for the first time with methodologies adapted from the practices of the acclaimed Cornerstone Theater Company of LA.  Experimenting with new ways of creating, while inviting non-artist, immigrant members of our community to contribute to the creative process in ways that also are new to such folks — who typically are marginalized — is incredibly rewarding.  Over the next several months, KYL/D will be offering glimpses into our research through work-in-progress showings, including at the Temple Dance Faculty Concert in January.  There is nothing more exciting than creating and sharing works that spark conversations on timely issues and have the potential to foster new ways of seeing the world, and our relation to it.  That is what art is all about!

Kun-Yang Lin, Associate Professor


Articles and reviews of Union College residency and The Egg Performance: