Scholarly & Creative Research

As a young scholar and professional academic, I find it imperative to attend regional and national conferences to stay up to date on current research and topics of interest in the field; meet and connect with other dance artists and academics; and supplement and support my scholarly inquiries and interests. Conferences also provide the opportunity to share my own research with others. Below is a list of my research presentations at regional and national conferences. 



A short docu-interview on the gender binary in dance filmed and produced by Sofie Duzian. Artist: Bryant Henderson • Dancers: Ed Anguiano and Ryan Fish

Research Interests

Research Interests


Jazz Dance History

Private Sector & Higher Education Relationship

Male Dance Experience


Structuralism & Post-Structuralism

Vernacular Dance Forms in Higher Ed. Curriculum

Dance & Gender

Dance as Entertainment & Education

Embodied Performance of Gender


Hidden Curriculums in Dance Education

History of Dance in Higher Education

Interdisciplinary Research

Research Presentations

Research Presentations

October 2018

“MFA Takeaways: Connecting Knowledge to Practice” – Panel Discussion (Facilitator)
2018 NDEO National Conference, San Diego, CA

Panelists: Hannah Anderson, MFA; Gabrielle McNeillie, MFA; Darion Smith, MFA

Conference Abstract:

How can an MFA experience support your postgraduate career endeavors? Will your research continue to benefit you? Through this panel, we seek to address these questions, and share personal experiences as teaching artists who have recently completed MFA graduate degrees and navigated the school-to-career transition. In addition, we hope to initiate conversation about the impact of MFA programs on the future of dance education. As young dance educators and scholars who engage with diverse student populations through various institutions, we feel our perspectives can offer students and faculty involved with MFA programs contemporary insights into post-graduate experiences.

MFA program requirements vary across universities, and terminal projects can range from choreographic and performance studies, to theoretical and pedagogical inquiry. While each panelist’s research project was unique in its design, collectively our research continues to influence us in common ways as educators. Our projects aided us in uncovering biases and broadening our awareness of the field, thus strengthening our ability to connect with and respond to the needs of our students and workplaces. As we interact with student populations of varying sociocultural backgrounds, our experiences as graduate researchers both fuels current creative and scholarly inquiry, and helps us guide students to connect dance knowledge to other facets of their lives.

This panel will use the following topics as starting points for conversation: (a) the value of investing in research that is personally meaningful; (b) how graduate research projects can continue to influence classroom approaches and professional endeavors; (c) how graduate experiences enable educators to reach and connect with students from various sectors including higher education, private studios, K-12, and performing groups; and, (d) incorporating technology to create accessible learning environments. Through discussion, we hope to illuminate how these takeaways can help graduates develop as teaching artists, promote accessibility to dance for all, and advocate for dance as an essential field of study across communities.

June 2017

“Challenging the Expectations of the Male Dancer in Technique Class” – Movement/Discussion
2017 NDEO Special Topics Conference, Bridging the Gap: Men in Dance Symposium, Morgantown, WV       

Conference Abstract:

As educators, our attempts at presenting gender-inclusive movement experiences for all students within traditional technique classes do not always align with the real-world expectations of professional performers, which can leave male dancers particularly ill-prepared to navigate their professional careers. Societal expectations, profitability, and marketability often influence choreographic and staging choices by choreographers and producers, especially in commercial dance and ballet arenas. Inevitably, this can have a reciprocal effect on the ways in which educators interact with and teach male dance students. Therefore, how do we support students’ inquiries into diverse movement investigations within technique classes, while simultaneously providing them with the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully traverse their professional dance careers, and leading the field to a future of more inclusive acceptance of performativity across genders?

This jazz-based technique class aims to explore a variety of factors that influence the male dance experience, and encourage participants to dialogue about their experiences and offer suggestions for educating male dancers. Throughout this experiential session the facilitator will ask participants to critically challenge traditional expectations and treatment of the male dancer in technique classes. The results of this experience will be emergent during the class, and will optimistically inform this exploration with the goal of expanding both the educational and professional realms of dance.

Focus will be placed on the instructor’s use of language and presentation of material, as well as investigating proximity and touch. It is the goal of the facilitator to gain further information about his own teaching practices, and to understand the impact of stereotypical and gender-specific metaphors and cueing. Additionally, the facilitator is interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the relational experiences between and among male dancers within technique classes when asked to engage in close proximity and touch with both females other males, including interacting with the instructor. 

October 2016

“An Inquiry Into Men's Experiences in Collegiate Dance” – Presentation
2016 NDEO Conference, Arlington, VA       

Conference Abstract:

Students and educators of all genders are invited to participate in a facilitated discussion to dialogue about men’s participation and experiences in collegiate dance programs. While research into the male dancer is not necessarily revolutionary, there is a significant demographic gap specific to males’ experiences in post-secondary institutions. A meager amount of research exists regarding male college dance majors; yet, more research on the collegiate male dance experience, including non-majors and/or minors, is necessary. Although it remains marginal in comparison to female participation, male participation in college dance has grown over the past several years. Thus, it is vital for current educators, administrators, and students in higher education to share and study information about the lived experiences of collegiate dancers who are participating in order to advocate for, support, and advance male dance populations’ participation across college campuses. This session will disclose the presenter’s preliminary and upcoming subsequent phases of research into this topic in order to gain feedback on his proposed methodologies, curriculum design, and implementation plans. This research plan aims to inform and improve current pedagogies among faculty as well as departmental procedures, marketing, recruitment, and curricular design in hopes of better supporting and encouraging male dancers. Perspectives from a variety of viewpoints, experiences, and roles are highly welcomed and encouraged.  Information gleaned from this discussion will be used to support and deliver an upcoming men’s workshop as a part of the presenter’s MFA thesis research. Conceivably, the potential application of the understandings discovered in this research will not be limited only to collegiate dance programs, but may also be beneficial to other movement-based programs such as physical education, music, theatre arts, and athletics. 


March 2016

“An Inquiry Into Men’s Experiences in Collegiate Dance” – Panel Discussion
2016 NW Regional Conference of the American College Dance Association, Laramie, WY        

During this conference, I facilitated a panel discussion regarding men’s experiences in collegiate dance which served as the preliminary phase of my MFA thesis research.  The University of Oregon IRB (Internal Review Board), UO Department of Dance, The University of Wyoming IRB, and ACDA (American College Dance Association) approved this research. This panel was designed to gain insight into the current climate and experiences of men in collegiate dance programs. The six-person panel was composed of 5 professors (4 males, 1 female) and 1 undergraduate student (male) from the University of Wyoming, University of Oregon, University of Utah, and Western Wyoming Community College. Several conference participants attended the panel and offered wonderful insights from their perspectives as students and educators as well as challenged panelists with questions and commentary. With ACDA's recent shift to focus conferences on both performance and research, I was one of the first graduate students to present research during a regional conference. 



“Intertextuality and Dance: An Approach to Understanding Embodied Performance of Gender in Dance Discourses” Journal of Dance Education, a publication of the National Dance Education Organization


By critically reviewing and discussing existing scholarship, this article considers how individuals construct their embodied performances of gender while navigating the diverse teaching-learning paradigms experienced within dance discourses. The inherent relationships that exist between dance education and gender have been substantially considered throughout dance studies scholarship. However, these inquiries often concentrate on pedagogy or traditional gender roles and expectations in dance education and performance. In this inquiry, I recognize embodied performances of gender as intertextual constructs. I believe intertextuality is foundational to the dance experience, and is directly related to how ideas about gender are disseminated and consumed. I contend that participants in dance discourses have continuous access to their past, emerging, and future socio-cultural interactions and experiences, i.e. texts. Participants accept, reject, and consider these texts in relation to one another to gain understanding. This intertextual processing points to individuals’ somatic authority over their embodied performances of gender. 




June 2017

“An Inquiry Into Men's Experiences In Collegiate Dance”

MFA Thesis, University of Oregon



This qualitative research study was designed to gain a deeper, more profound understanding of the lived experiences of collegiate male dancers. Through three phases of research, this study uncovered societal and familial obstacles collegiate male dancers often endure during their dance journeys, and describes how males navigate and transcend them. Extensive interviewing offers detailed glimpses into the lives of 9 male students who participate in collegiate dance programs. The study reveals participants’ dance experiences prior to and during college; recognizes and questions common factors that influence collegiate male participation in dance; and identifies how male dancers feel supported and/or unsupported by their program. An experiential workshop series applied and explored existing pedagogical suggestions offered by other scholars. Subsequently, a rehearsal and performance experience physically investigated emergent themes. Recommendations are offered on how to better encourage, cultivate, and support collegiate male dance populations through enhanced pedagogies and program improvements.