Call for Papers: Dancing Necessities – Infrastructures, interventions and maintenance

Call for Papers: Dancing Necessities – Infrastructures, interventions and maintenance

Edited by Franziska Bork Petersen, Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt, Jonas Schnor and Karen Vedel

Training and educational regimes ensure one aspect of individual dancing bodies’ creation and maintenance (Foster 1997); the performances and the lives of artists, however, rely on support structures made up of diverse emotional, financial, physical, and administrative factors. When such infrastructures, socialities and belief systems fall apart, we ask ourselves what to repair, what to reorganize and how to continue together. Feminist scholars have in recent years attended to practices of maintenance – the often invisibilized care of upholding bodies, social relations, artworks, institutions – , and conceived of these as a way of creating class solidarity and redistributing attention to unvalued, gendered, and racialized labor (Bryan-Wilson 2009; Baraitser 2017; Vergès 2019; Schmidt 2022). At the same time, maintenance has been linked to colonial conservation and the upholding of power relations and racist representations in their infrastructural embeddedness (Hass 2022; Mattern 2023).  

According to Bojana Kunst (2023), the fields of dance and choreography play an important role when it comes to confronting structural precarity through practices of self-organization and community-building. As Kunst notes, the sensorial and somatic investigations in dance give way to modes of coming together that are not rooted in rigid identity-confirmation. Instead they are anchored in the capacity to feel (for) the complexity and asymmetries of bodies, to configure spaces and temporalities where bodies can remain incomplete and fluid but still supported – maintained – in the vibrant socialities of communities in the making (2023). 

At this point in time, both the material-economic and the onto-epistemological infrastructures of dance and choreography in Denmark are being questioned and restructured: In the established national ballet institution, the art form’s longstanding values and ideals are being challenged with regard to both dancing bodies’ racialization, aesthetics and the hierarchies of creation, on the one hand. On the other hand, a much younger institution, the dance and choreography component of the Danish National School of Performing Arts, has lost its building at Holmen, a cornerstone in the school in Copenhagen. In the meantime, members of the dance community have self-organized in cooperatives; the field has moved towards self-definition as ecology (Stengers 2005) and it has expanded artistically to include more ways of moving and producing community through dance.  

With this call we urge scholars and artists to trace and reflect upon material conditions, economies, procedures, and conflicts in creating dance and choreography, and on how makers and institutions respond to the scarcity of resources and impermanence of the field – both in Denmark and internationally. Under which structural conditions are dance and choreography given access, maintaining, and developing in our historical present? Which bodies, actions, aesthetics, topics and audiences do the infrastructures of dance in Denmark and elsewhere make likely/unlikely, visible/invisible, possible/Impossible? And which historical conditions of producing and sharing do we want to unforget, through for instance intergenerational conversation and counter-archiving?

Possible topics include, but are not restricted to:

  • Historical changes in the physical and economic infrastructures of dance and choreography
  • Critical analysis of training practices in dance and their ideological promises and defaults
  • Cultural policy initiatives supporting or ignoring the field of dance and choreography
  • Comparisons of infrastructural support of dance and choreography in the past 20 years across national programs
  • Artistic practices and institutional patterns of maintenance in dance and choreography
  • Historical changes in ways of making, sharing and documenting choreographic work
  • Ways of self-organizing in dance and choreography
  • Hindrances of access to venues for indigenous and social dance forms 
  • Strategies and formats supporting structurally discriminated dance traditions and expressions
  • Practices of maintenance of dance histories and archives
  • Gendered, ableist, neurotypical, and racializing norms of which bodies are given institutional access – and practices that question, undermine and resist such norms
  • The critical potential in intersections of dancing and writing

References in text:
Baraitser, L. (2017). Enduring Time. Bloomsbury Publishing.
Bryan-Wilson, J.(2009). Art Workers. University of California Press.
Foster, S. L. (1992). “Dancing Bodies”. In Incorporations, ed. by J.Crary and S. Kwinter, Zone p. 480-95. 
Hass, K. A. (2022). Blunt Instruments. Penguin.
Kunst, B. (2023). Das Leben der Kunst. transversal texts.
Mattern. S. (2023). Reparationsmanualer. Kunsten som Forum på Tryk. 
Schmidt, C.U. (2022). Produktionsæstetik. Laboratoriet for Æstetik og Økologi.
Stengers, I. (2005). “An Ecology of Practices”. Cultural Studies Review, vol. 11, n° 1, 2005, p. 183-196.
Vergès, F. (2019). A decolonial feminism. Pluto Press.

Articles should be written in one of the Scandinavian languages or in English and cannot be already published elsewhere. 

Send your proposal to one of the co-editors, Franziska Bork-Petersen or Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt

– Deadline abstracts, max. 500 words: 29th of March 2024
– Deadline articles (for peer review): 20th of August 2024
– Deadline other contributions: 1st of October 2024
– Publication: Ultimo December 2024.

Writing guidelines:

Peripeti is a Danish journal focusing on performing arts, edited by researchers, dramaturges and artists. See