top of page

Performing Memory Through Dance

Anthropological Perspectives


©Sara Lando

general info


The conference Performing Memory Through Dance. Anthropological Perspectives aims to explore anthropology’s contribution to dance studies by reflecting on the relationship between dance and memory as manifested in the dynamics of re-appropriation, re-signification and invention of the past. Considering dance and performance as central tools in the negotiation of power relations and as tactics of resistance and survival, with particular regard to colonial and postcolonial contexts, the additional objective of this conference is to investigate cultural and historic continuities and discontinuities. Dance, both as a social practice and performing art, involves embodied cognition, mobilizes kinesthetic empathy, and activates corporeal and sensorial memories. As a “somatic way of knowing” and a distinctive “somatic mode of attention”, dance is also a way to communicate and establish a complex network of intersubjective and intercorporeal relationships. By dancing, we acquire and transmit knowledge; we express emotions and remember or create stories while producing long-lasting effects on the audience, which, in turn, transforms these experiences into personal memories. Likewise, anthropological studies have demonstrated how body movement does not stand for but is reality. Rituals and performances serve as key occasions for people to shape their cultural practices, preserve and transform traditions, (re)enact and (re)read their past combining history and memory. Through this lens, the conference is an opportunity to discuss the cultural knowledge gained through the ethnographer’s observation and participation in dance events and practices, as well as in ethnographic writing, which is in itself an act of remembering challenged by the task of capturing movement into words. The conference’s ultimate goal is to share different perspectives on the complex interplay between dance, individual experiences, and collective memories (shared, reinvented, rejected), and to reflect on the active role of mnemonic processes and transmission strategies in dance as a modality to negotiate the past.



International Online Conference organized by Susanne Franco and Franca Tamisari

Location: online


​​Start date: 17/06/2021 | 14:00-18:00 (CEST)

End date: 18/06/2021 | 14:00-18:00 (CEST)


Registration is free and open until 15 June 2021.



Daniela Hahn (Universität Zürich)

Chiara Minestrelli (London College of Communication, UAL)

Cristiana Natali (Università degli studi di Bologna)

Franca Tamisari (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice)

Petra Tjitske Kalshoven (University of Manchester)

Claire Vionnet (Independent Researcher)

Elizabeth Waterhouse (Universität Bern)

Katya Wesolowski (Duke University)

in print
day one
day two




bottom of page