On Conferences and Free Agency

The International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) conducted its 25th annual meeting this weekend in Pittsburgh, rejoicing a quarter century of research and scholarship in a field that, prior to IADMS, had little support or visibility.

To be honest, I don’t know how much support or visibility dance science has today beyond the individuals who are passionate about it, plus, conferences are kind of weird, but that’s not exactly the point of this post.

The net result (for me) of most professional conferences is a laundry list of things I can and should do better, and a chance to engage IRL with people I’ve only read about or seen on the Internet. Being one of those people who is passionate about dance science, a gathering of this magnitude is intensely exciting and energizing.

Originally, I was to present a poster on some of my ideas about using qualitative methods to determine new ways of describing dance performance. You can read about that later (or not, because cat videos and Pinterest are far more entertaining).

My poster, titled, "Presented Without Comment." I'll be ready for you next year, IAMDS.

My poster, titled, “Presented Without Comment.” I’ll be ready for you next year, IADMS.

The point is, a series of unfortunate events lead to me not being quite ready to take on this topic in a discerning crowd of brilliant academics and practitioners. Instead, I’ve been here in Pittsburgh as a totally free agent, ready and willing to talk to anybody who will listen to my ideas and engage in a dialog about dance. Turns out, IADMS is a great place to do that, because there are really smart people here who care about the same things I do: dance and dancers.

Moreover, I now free to investigate my question in my own way, in my own time, free from some of the constraints of Academia and its beautiful kerfufflery.*

In the words of the great scholar Miley Cyrus, “It’s my party, I can do what I want.”

By the way… that time that Monika Volkmar and I went out to dinner and the waiter accused us of being super heroes? That is a totally accurate assumption.

Fighting crimes against dance. (thanks to Catherine Tully for this photo of me and Monika Volkmar)

Lauren and Monika are fighting crime. Crimes against dance. (thanks to Catherine Tully/4dancers for this photo)

*I should probably mention here that I’m not anti-Academia, and if there’s a scholar out there who wants to take on a passionate (though occasionally headstrong) personal trainer/esoteric dance writer, call me. Also, I made up the word kerfufflery.


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