Harmony Bench, PhD, Assistant Professor of Dance History and Theory, has received funding from the Battelle Engineering, Technology and Human Affairs (BETHA) Endowment to employ data analytics to develop the historical record of modern dance performance in the first half of the 20th century.
The digital humanities project, entitled “Dance in Transit,” explores the relation between touring performers and the modes, networks and infrastructures of transportation that link cities, countries and cultures. The result will be a publicly accessible database extensively documenting an estimated 30,000 individual performances, and a work of digital scholarship on mid-century African American choreographer Katherine Dunham created in partnership with dance historian Kate Elswit (Bristol). Dunham conducted anthropological research in the Caribbean, transformed her ethnographic observations into choreographed works for the stage and toured domestically and internationally with her dance company.
The annual BETHA grant competition supports projects that examine the complex relationship between science and technology on society and cultural issues.