Diversity and Your Department

Resources for addressing diversity and inclusion


Gerdes, E. V. P., & VanDenend Sorge, T. (2015). Building Humans and Dances: Exploring Cultural Relevancy as Teaching Artists. Journal of Dance Education, 15(2), 72-76. (PDF)

While this article focuses on the logistical intricacies of teaching dance to elementary school-aged children, there is relevant information about the "student authority" within dance classes. The authors advocate for dance instruction that reflects the cultural realities of the student. Employed in a college-level dance class, this practice could provide dynamic collaborations between professor and student.

Kerr-Berry, J., Clemente, K., & Risner, D. (2008). The Politics of Gender in Dance Pedagogy. Journal of Dance Education, 8(3), 94-101. (PDF)

In Risner's short article, he focuses on how his own gendered identity affects the classroom environment in his dance classes. He proposes methods of student-directed teaching that decenter his own primacy in the classroom; these pedagogies are similar to conference-based classes that Reed espouses.

Kerr-Berry, J. (2012). Dance Education in an Era of Racial Backlash: Moving Forward as We Step Backwards. Journal of Dance Education, 12(2), 48-53. (PDF)

This article argues against the notion that our nation, and dance education in particular, is post-racial. Kerr-Berry surveys numerous racial problems that continue to plague the field of dance, and proposes that the classroom must be a place free to transgress boundaries. This is helpful as an introduction to current racial issues, and could be circulated to students new to the dance department.

McCarthy-Brown, N. (2009). The Need for Culturally Relevant Dance Education. Journal of Dance Education, 9(4), 120-125. (PDF)

McCarthy-Brown also focuses on the need for dance teachers to listen to their students and allow the student to negotiate their own cultural lineages and realities within the dance studio, instead of functioning as a "gatekeeper" for the appropriate kinds of dances. McCarthy-Brown's experience as a person of color helps to show that no person is above harmful discrimination, and every instructor must regularly self-assess.


McCarthy-Brown, N. (2014). Decolonizing Dance Curriculum in Higher Education: One Credit at a Time. Journal of Dance Education, 14(4), 125-129.

In this short essay, McCarthy-Brown argues that dance programs should move towards "an inclusive system that does not privilege particular dance forms." She examines the disparity between the diversity-minded mission statements of college dance departments and the restrictions they face based on credit requirements. She offers several suggestions to professors who wish to make changes to the structure of their program.

Polasek, K. M., & Roper, E. A. (2011). Negotiating the Gay Male Stereotype in Ballet and Modern Dance. Research in Dance Education, 12(2), 173-193. (PDF)

This study interviews several male dancers in order to understand constructions of masculinity in the contemporary dance world and examine the pervasive homophobia that still exists therein. This study is helpful to anyone interested in masculinity studies, especially in a field traditionally thought of as feminine.

Risner, D., & Stinson, S. W. (2010). Moving Social Justice: Challenges, Fears and Possibilities in Dance Education. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 11(6), 1-26. (PDF)

This collaboration is a holistic view of the problems facing multiculturalistic inclusivity in dance education programs across the United States. This would be helpful to professors who want to self-examine their own teaching methods to see if they are as inclusive they intend to be.

Robinson, D., & Domenici, E. (2010). From Inclusion to Integration: Intercultural Dialogue and Contemporary University Dance Education. Research in Dance Education, 11(3), 213-221. (PDF)

In this essay, Robinson and Domenici seek to dispel numerous myths and false notions that continue to make modern dance more exclusive and less multicultural. This article is helpful because it articulates those myths, which often go unsaid, and argues against them.