UC Riverside Presents “Festival of Social Dance”

Imani Kai Johnson

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) – The University of California, Riverside is hosting “Festival of Social Dance,” an event that will feature 10 dance workshops, a lecture, and a roundtable discussion, followed by a reception and a party. The two-day event will take place on Friday, Oct. 21 to Saturday, Oct. 22, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Workshops and lectures will be held between the ARTS building, and the dance studio, ATHD 102, on the UC Riverside campus.

“The dance workshops represent a range of social dance practices, and thus diversifies the kind of dances that fall under the umbrella of social dance,” said Imani Kai Johnson, assistant professor of critical dance studies at UCR and the event coordinator.

All classes are free and open to the public, but RSVP is required as space is limited. There will be free parking – complimentary parking tickets will be made available at the information kiosk for event participants. The classes run consecutively rather than concurrently, so that someone can theoretically participate in all of the dance workshops. The event is made possible with the financial support of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences dean’s office.

“With the dean’s financial assistance, the department decided to feature genres of dance not otherwise available on campus, and to bring in an array of amazing guest artists to teach them,” said Johnson. “In doing so we’re creating a unique opportunity to exchange both dances and ideas about how social dance is meaningful in different cultural contexts. As well, by dancing together we’re also enacting community, which is the beauty of social dance.”

The following artists will be presenting at the event:

Eddie Alba – a professional ballroom dance instructor, and a certified judge in five styles of ballroom dancing. He is a champion dance-sport competitor, and the owner of Century Dancesport, Orange County’s premier ballroom dance studio.

Ana Maria Alvarez – the founding artistic director and choreographer of Contra-Tiempo, an urban Latin dance company.

Gerald Clarke – a new assistant professor of ethnic studies at UCR, Clarke also assists in running a family ranch on the Cahuilla Indian Reservation and is heavily involved in the Cahuilla culture. A frequent lecturer, speaking about Native art, culture and issues, he also helps organize Cahuilla bird singing events, a traditional form of singing that tells the history and beliefs of the Cahuilla people.

Yvonne Daniel – professor emerita of dance at Smith College, presenting a talk titled, “Social Dancing in Caribbean & Afro-Latin America.”

Moncell Durden – an assistant professor at the USC Kaufman International School of Dance. He is an internationally recognized practitioner, historian, ethnographer, and documentarian specializing in the pedagogical practices of Afro-Diasporic social dance formations over the last century.

Dmitry Filimonov – is flying in from Moscow to participate in the event, he is the co-director of a historical dance studio and researcher specializing in Baroque and 19th century eras. He is also an associate professor in mathematics at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Russia.

Participants can expect the following sessions:

Friday, Oct. 21

8-9:30 a.m. – “Introduction to Cahuilla Bird Songs and Dances,” by Gerald Clarke.

9:45-11:15 a.m. – “19th European Ballroom,” by Dmitry Filimonov.

11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Lunch break.

12:30-2 p.m. – “Steppin’ Through Time: African American Vernacular Dance,” by Moncell Durden.

2:15-3:45 p.m. – “Gender Neutral Dancesport,” by Eddie Alba.

4-5:30 p.m. – “Urban Latin Dance,” by Ana Maria Alvarez.

6-7:30 p.m. – The annual Schlundt Lecture will feature Yvonne Daniel.

7:30-9 p.m. – Reception.

Saturday, Oct. 22

8-9:30 a.m. – “Steppin’ Through Time: African American Vernacular Dance,” by Moncell Durden.

9:45-11:15 a.m. – “Urban Latin Dance,” by Ana Maria Alvarez.

11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Lunch break.

12:30-2 p.m. – “Gender Neutral Dancesport,” by Eddie Alba.

2:15-3:45 p.m. – “19th European Ballroom,” by Dmitry Filimonov.

4-5:30 p.m. – “Introduction to Cahuilla Bird Songs and Dances,” by Gerald Clarke.

5:45-7 p.m. – Round table discussion —The roundtable will feature all of the instructors participating in the event, and members of the UCR dance faculty. Discussions and conversations will include what constitutes the “social” in social dance, what they’ve experienced, and what they’ve learned.

7-9 p.m. – End of event celebration.

Leave a Comment