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Dance, Movement, and Gesture Section
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The Dance, Movement, and Gesture Section is devoted to supporting the work of scholars and educators concerned with the inter-relationship of music, dance, movement, and gesture. Formed in 2002, it has been working to bring greater attention to movement as an integral part of music-making. The Dance, Movement, and Gesture Section welcomes all SEM members with an interest in any aspect of movement research and its relationship to musical expression.



Students from Los Tucsonenses at the Tucson High Magnet School perform Mexican Folklórico dances for SEM members at the 2004 pre-conference on dance.
Photo © Alan Burdette


Dance, Movement, Gesture Section Page: https://www.ethnomusicology.org/page/Groups_SectionsDMG


Esther Kurtz
Washington University 

Corinna Campbell
Williams College

Prize Committee Chair

Elyse Carter-Vosen
The College of Saint Scholastica

Communications Chair

Samantha Jones
Harvard University

$10 suggested (Dues are optional)

For many of the world's cultures, music and dance are complementary components of a unified artistic expression such that the study of dance is essential for a holistic understanding of music. Recognizing the myriad ways dance and music influence each other, and affirming that dance is an integral part of music making, the Dance section is dedicated to the increased understanding of dance and movement as relevant aspects of musical life. Its membership considers dance on its own terms and in relationship to music and advocates the study of dance as an important subject for ethnomusicological inquiry.

The Section's goals include:

  • raising awareness of the existing scholarship on dance and music and of the long history of dance research in the ethnomusicological literature
  • promoting the ethnomusicological study of dance and movement
  • advancing understanding of the symbiotic nature of music and dance
  • facilitating collaborations between dance and music scholars and educators
  • encouraging music scholars to incorporate the study of movement into their work
  • developing innovative ways of documenting, describing, notating, and discussing dance to make cross-disciplinary dialogue possible
  • securing space for the cultural study of dance and movement within the academy
  • working together with other SEM sections and academic organizations to promote activities that highlight dance scholarship
  • enhancing international understanding and friendship by using music and dance as vehicles for the exchange of ideas and experiences among people of different countries and diverse cultures
  • using music and dance as a means of cross-cultural communication within communities and across nations with the aim of promoting tolerance and mutual understanding

Section Prizes

Clara Henderson Award

Clara Henderson (1955-2016) earned her M.A. in 1995 and her Ph.D. in 2009 in Indiana University’s Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. Her dissertation was entitled “Dance Discourse in the Music and Lives of Presbyterian Mvano Women in Southern Malawi” and was awarded the Esther L. Kinsley prize for the outstanding dissertation in the humanities at IU that year. Dr. Henderson played a major role in the EVIA (Ethnographic Video for Instruction and Analysis) project, taught in Folklore and Ethnomusicology at IU, and there served as Associate Director of the Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities. We honor her drive in helping to build the Dance, Movement, and Gesture Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology.

Kealiinohomoku Award

Joann Wheeler Kealiinohomoku (1930-2015), American anthropologist and educator, was co-founder of the dance research organization Cross-Cultural Dance Resources (CCDR). A student of Gertrude Kurath, Kealiinohomoku led the way in forging a path for the anthropological study of dance. An associate professor in anthropology at Northern Arizona University, she retired in 1987, having published numerous articles and encyclopedia entries on the study of dance.  In 1997, she received the first annual award for Outstanding Contribution to Dance Research from the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD).  In 2000, the CCDR collection was named by President Bill Clinton’s White House Millenium Council, as a resource to be preserved under the “Save America’s Treasures” program. Her book Theory and Methods for an Anthropological Study of Dance was published in 2008. 

DMG Section Listserv

To subscribe to the listserv, send a message to list@list.indiana.edu from the address you want to subscribe to the list. In the subject line of your message, type in: subscribe semdancemovementgesture-l@list.indiana.edu yourFirstName yourLastName. Leave the message body blank. For questions regarding the listserv, please contact the DMG Section Communications Chair, Samantha Jones (samanthajones@g.harvard.edu).


Section reports can be found in the members' area of this website.

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