Two PhD Students Win Awards for Dance Scholarship

Katja Vaghi and Cristina de Lucas, both doctoral students in the Department of Dance, won awards at the Society of Dance History Scholars conference in Iowa in November

Posted: 11 December 2014

image for news story Two PhD Students Win Awards for Dance Scholarship
Three Roehampton PhD students presented papers at the 2014 Society of Dance History Scholars conference (left to right): Suparna Banerjee; Katja Vaghi, winner of the Selma Jeanne Cohen Award; and Cristina de Lucas, winner of the Graduate Student Travel Grant. At right is Roehampton dance alumni Hetty Blades, who also gave a paper. Photographer: Stacey Prickett
Katja Vaghi won the prestigious Selma Jeanne Cohen Award for her paper essay ‘Deixis on Dance: Locating the Audience’s Experience in Time, Space, and Persona’. The award, which recognises excellence in dance scholarship, is given for the originality of the research, the rigor of the argument, and the clarity of the writing. Ms Vaghi’s essay used the linguistic theories of deixis to examine Jiří Kylián’s performance piece Birth-Day. The award committee found her paper ‘groundbreaking’ and said it ‘definitely expands the possibilities at the intersections of linguistics, dance philosophy, and studies of dance performance’.

Named after American dance historian Selma Jeanne Cohen, the award includes an invitation to present a paper at the conference, waiver of the conference registration fee, and a grant to help defray the travel and accommodation costs of attending. Ms Vaghi is the second dance PhD student from Roehampton to win the award.

Ms Vaghi said: ‘Attending the conference was a great opportunity to collect inspiration, exchange ideas and get to know people in person, especially those who do not often come to Europe. One has the tendency to forget that that there is a person behind the words on the page.’

Cristina de Lucas won a Graduate Student Travel Grant for her paper ‘Dancing Happiness: Lyrics and Choreography in Singin’ in the Rain (1952)’. She said: ‘It was a great honour to win the award. SDHS is a prestigious organisation in the States and to attend to its conference for the first time was a great experience. Presenting my paper was an excellent opportunity to expose my research to such an audience. The grant was a wonderful surprise, both because of the reputation and for the money.’

Ms de Lucas and Ms Vaghi received their awards at a special ceremony on 14 November, during the conference Writing Dancing/Dancing Writing at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA. The conference was held jointly by the Society of Dance History Scholars and CORD, The Congress on Research in Dance.

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