Call for Papers/Submissions: 2nd International “Season of Dance” Conference

Colombian girls dance during the Carnival in Barranquilla, Colombia, 26 February 2006. The Carnival of Barranquilla is a unique festivity which takes place every year during February or March on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. A colourful mixture of the ancient African tribal dances and the Spanish music influence – cumbia, porro, mapale, puya, congo among others – hit for five days nearly all central streets of Barranquilla. Those traditions kept for centuries by Black African slaves have had the great impact on Colombian culture and Colombian society. In November 2003 the Carnival of Barranquilla was proclaimed as the Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

The 2nd International ‘Season of Dance’ Conference theme is “Caribbean Fusion Dance Works: Rituals of Modern Society.” The conference will take place on May 19-22, 2016 at The University of the West Indies-Cave Hill, Barbados. The Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination (EBCCI) at the UWI invites the international community of dancers, choreographers and scholars to participate and to submit any work in which the focal point is dance fusion in any dance genre. The deadline for submission of abstracts and videos is February 20, 2016. Other important dates are indicated below, in Submission Guidelines. [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]

Description: In 1940, Cuban scholar Fernando Ortiz coined the term “transculturation” to describe the process by which distinct cultures fuse to give birth to new cultural expressions. Scholars have since widely recognized the vital role syncretism has played in the Caribbean, due in no small part to its geographic and historical location at the center of travel and slave trade between Europe, Africa and the Americas. In 1996, Cuban writer Antonío Benítez-Rojo suggested that the defining characteristic of Caribbean culture is supersyncretism, a propensity for recombining elements from disparate cultural traditions in a continual pattern of interruption and repetition. As Caribbean dances and dancers have migrated from the Caribbean Basin, they have continued these patterns of transculturation, syncretism, and hybridization in new fusions of Caribbean dance with practices as varied as ballet, modern, jazz, hip-hop, bhangra, and belly dance. Within the Caribbean, dance artists and social dance practitioners are integrating techniques and vocabulary from other Caribbean islands, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, facilitated by increased ease of travel, both physical and virtual.  Conference participants are invited to examine the theme of fusion in Caribbean dance from a wide range of perspectives, including its socio-historical function. Caribbean dance will be conceptualized broadly to include the greater Caribbean created through migration, globalization, and virtual travel.

Questions addressed by presentations might include: In what ways does fusion compromise the cultural integrity of Caribbean dance?; In what ways does fusion offer new commercial, educational, and cultural opportunities to Caribbean artists?; How do the lingering impacts of English, French, and Spanish colonialism differentially impact dance artists from different Caribbean islands?; How are patterns of migration reflected in the history and contemporary expression of Caribbean dance?; How do migrants from the Caribbean adapt dance practices to new cultural environments, and what kinds of new hybrid dance forms are created as a result?; Is there any such thing as Caribbean dance without fusion?; How are sacred rituals adapted for modern cultural contexts?; How are social dance practices adapted for stage performance and how are staged dances incorporated back into social practice?; How has the proliferation and availability of dance video on the Internet accelerated and altered practices of Caribbean dance?; What is the difference between fusion, hybridity, syncretism, transculturation and appropriation?; How do fusion artists balance the need to honor a tradition and legacy with the impulse to innovate?; How have issues of globalization impacted Caribbean dance?; and How can we expose and address issues of cultural appropriation in the context of a modern global dance community?

Conference sessions will include:

Individual Paper Presentations – original research including in-depth exploration and analysis of an issue related to the conference theme. [20 minutes paper/10 minutes for Q & A]

Panels – organized panels of 3-4 papers on related topics, each presenting original research related to the conference theme. [3-4 panelists – 1.5 hours] [15-20 minutes paper/10 minutes for Q & A]

Workshops – practical presentations of fusion dance forms including a narrative component based on the applied pedagogy of fusion [50 minutes – 10 minutes for Q & A]

Performance – presentation of Caribbean dance fusion. Six to eight works approximately 10 to 15 minutes in length will be selected to be part of two different programs. A minimum of five years of professional choreography experience is required. Submission of video of the proposed work must be in its full version (link to an online resource such as YouTube or Vimeo).

Submission Guidelines

Digital submission only – Mailed paper proposals will not be accepted

Deadline for abstracts and videos: February 20th

Notification of acceptance: March 18th

Submission date for publication of papers: July 15th

Proposal submission – contact:

Abstracts should be submitted online to:  ABSTRACT SUBMISSION PORTAL

For instructions for abstract submissions and more details, see

[Photo by Jan Sochor: “The Carnival of Barranquilla celebrates the Black African presence in Colombia.” See Jan Sochor Photography at]


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