IDS Keynote Lecture & Workshop – Let’s Go Outside: Dancing Beyond the Institution

When and Where

Friday, February 02, 2024 2:00 pm to Saturday, February 03, 2024 1:00 pm
Music Room, Hart House & LCR, Morrison Hall
Hart House and Morrison Hall
7 Hart House Circle, Toronto, ON M5S 3H3


Thomas F. DeFrantz will present a keynote lecture, "Let’s Go Outside: Dancing Beyond the Institution" on Friday, February 2 in the Music Room at Hart House and a workshop on Saturday, February 3 in the LCR at Morrison Hall. The exact times and information on how to register will be available soon. 

Keynote Lecture Description:

The institutionalization of dance in academic settings has forced a reckoning with genre, access, aesthetics, and colonial histories, at least.  This talk focuses on the ways that dance resists containment by institutions. Calling on the rhetorics of dance as protest, as erotic demonstration of possibility, and as manifestation of outrageous style, we wonder together at the ways dance arrives outside of the scaffolding of the linguistic, to demonstrate ways to be in relationship to authority while moving in another direction.

Keynote Speaker Bio:

Thomas F. DeFrantz is Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at Northwestern University, affiliated with the Segal Design Institute and the Dance and the department of African and African American Studies. DeFrantz specializes in African diaspora aesthetics, dance historiography, and the intersections of dance and technology. DeFrantz acted as a consultant for the Smithsonian Museum of African American Life and Culture, contributing concept and a voice-over for a permanent installation on Black Social Dance that opened with the museum in 2016. Creative Projects include Queer Theory! An Academic Travesty commissioned by the Theater Offensive of Boston and the Flynn Center for the Arts; fastDANCEpast, created for the Detroit Institute for the Arts; reVERSE-gesture-reVIEW commissioned by the Nasher Museum in response to the work of Kara Walker, January, 2017. Recent teaching: University of the Arts Mobile MFA in Dance; Juilliard; Movement Research; ImPulsTanz; New Waves Institute; SNDO; faculty at Hampshire College, Stanford, Yale, MIT, NYU, University of Nice. DeFrantz has directed many productions across a long career, including GeVa Theater, Karamu House, and a residency at the New York Public Theater. He currently directs the research group SLIPPAGE, a group that works to create innovative interfaces for the telling of alternative histories. He is co-editor of the Routledge Companion to African American Theater and Performance (with Kathy Perkins, Sandra Richards, and Renee Alexander Craft, 2018), Choreography and Corporeality: Relay in Motion (with Philipa Rothfield, Palgrave, 2016), Black Performance Theory: An Anthology of Critical Readings (with Anita Gonzalez, Duke University Press, 2014) and editor of Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance (Wisconsin University Press, 2002), which received the CHOICE award for Outstanding Academic Publication and the 2003 Errol Hill Award presenting by the American Society for Theater Research. He has published extensively, with his monograph Dancing Revelations: Alvin Ailey’s Embodiment of African American Culture (Oxford University Press, 2004) receiving the 2004 de la Torre Bueno Prize for outstanding publication in Dance. DeFrantz received the 2017 Outstanding Research in Dance award from the Dance Studies Association. DeFrantz believes in our shared capacity to do better, and to engage our creative spirit for a collective good that is anti-racist, anti-homophobic, proto-feminist, and queer affirming. DeFrantz has chaired the Women’s Studies program at MIT, and the African and African American Studies Department at Duke. He is past president of the Society of Dance History Scholars, and founder and director of the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance, as well as the Black Performance Theory working group. DeFrantz has received the Distinguished Research Award from the Dance Studies Association in 2017, and had work nominated for a “Bessie” Award in 2020.


7 Hart House Circle, Toronto, ON M5S 3H3