In the Space of Interdisciplinary Dialogue: Generating Ethnographic Research on Dance/Movement in Canada


  • Evadne Kelly


This paper explores past and present academic spaces that have support ethnographic research on dance/movement in Canada. Drawing from qualitative and quantitative research, this paper examines the interdisciplinary synergies that have enabled dance/movement-based ethnographic research to flourish. Locating many such research hubs across Canada, this paper focuses on York University’s Dance Department by exploring the circumstances, theoretical and methodological orientations, curricula, departmental alliances, and individual scholars that made such research possible. Ultimately, this paper demonstrates that dance/movement ethnography is interdisciplinary in Canada with a strong socio-political and kinesthetic tradition of pedagogical, curatorial, and methodological practice, grounded in understanding movement-based experiences. These kinesthetic and socio-political aspects are catalysts for generating greater interdisciplinary contact between multiple disciplinary fields, pushing back against inwardly focused disciplinary specialization.

Author Biography

Evadne Kelly

Evadne Kelly is an artist-scholar with a PhD in Dance Studies from York University. Dr. Kelly has presented and published on topics relevant to the fields of anthropology and dance studies with a particular focus on danced experience and expression. Dr. Kelly’s research centers on the political and social dimensions of trans-locally performed dance traditions, and investigates danced expression as a source of social change. Publications of her research can be found in Pacific Arts Journal, The Dance Current, and Fiji Times. Her book, Dancing Spirit, Love, and War: Expressing the Trans-Local Realities of Contemporary Fiji, is under contract with University of Wisconsin Press. Research for her book received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council doctoral award and builds on her 20 years of professional experience as a performer, teacher, and rehearsal director for celebrated choreographer and co-founder of Toronto Dance Theatre, David Earle. Dr. Kelly developed her manuscript as an invited participant in the 2015 Mellon funded Dance Studies summer seminar at Northwestern University.