2012 Ph.D., Comparative Literature, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dissertation title: ‘Sitting There: Embodied Perception, Kinesthetic Empathy, and Reading Pain in Dance Spectatorship’
2003 M.A., Philosophy, University of Georgia, Summer 2003.
Thesis: ‘Function and Epigenesis in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason’
1999 B.A., Comparative Literature and Philosophy, University of Georgia
Lecturer in Dance Studies, University of Malta (Msida, Malta; 2014-2018)
Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies, Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island; 2012-2014)
Coordinator of Postgraduate Programmes in Dance Studies
Co-Director of the Centre for Performing Arts Histories and Historiographies
Member of School of Performing Arts Board
Member of School of Performing Arts Ethics Committee
Member of School of Performing Arts Doctoral Committee
Member of School of Performing Arts Committee on Teaching and Learning
Dance and literature (esp. choreographic adaptations of Shakespeare); early modern European body culture; phenomenology; historiography; Black American dance and mid-to-late 20thCentury music; Foucault; Race Studies.
German (proficient), French (reading)
Co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Dance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)
‘Shakespeare’s Dancing Bodies: The Case of Romeo’, The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Dance, eds.Lynsey McCulloch and Brandon Shaw (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)
‘Introduction’ (with Lynsey McCulloch),The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Dance, eds.), L. McCulloch, and B. Shaw(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)
‘Friction, Antagonism, and Interdisciplinary Partnering: Prokofiev’s and Lavrovsky’s Romeo and Juliet(1940)’, in Performance & Interdisciplinarity: Contemporary Approaches, eds. Stefan Aquilina and Malaika Sarco-Thomas(Msida: University of Malta, 2018), pp. 173-191
‘Effacing and Declassification in the Archive of Shakespeare’s and MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliets’, Dance Research Journal49 (2) (Aug 2017): 62-78
‘Phantom Limbs and the Weight of Grief in Sasha Waltz’s noBody’,Theatre Journal67 (1) (March 2015): 21-42
Review of Barry Allen’s Striking Beauty(Columbia Press, 2015) for Dance Research Journal.
Review of Choreographing Empathy(Susan Leigh Foster) in TDR/The Drama Review57 (No. 4) (Winter 2013): 177-180
Review of Die griechische Komödie(Bernard Zimmermann) in Bryn Mawr Classical Review (online)
Preparing book manuscript: ‘We must have you dance’: Choreographic Renderings of Romeo and Juliet.
RECENT HONORS AND AWARDS
2016 Recipient of Society of Dance History Scholars’ 2016 Gertrude Lippincott Awardfor ‘Phantom Limbs and the Weight of Grief in Sasha Waltz’s noBody’ (Theatre Journal67 (1) (2015))
2015 Keynote speaker, Dance and Literature Symposium, Coventry University London Campus (Sept 10)
2013 Scholar in Residence, Jacob’s Pillow (Beckett, MA) (August 20-24)
2012 InauguralMellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies. Brown University (two-year appointment)
2010 Recipient DAAD Dissertation Research Grant, Berlin
SELECTED CONFERENCE PAPERS
2018 ‘Dance (v) Science: Concerns for Scientific Studies of Social Dancing’. Performance and Culture: Cities, Embodiments, and Technology. University of Malta: Valletta, Malta (8-11 Mar)
2017 ‘Sterile Dancing: Partnering Dance and Science’. CORD-SDHS Dance Studies Conference: ‘Transmissions and Traces: Rendering Dance’. Ohio State University: Columbus, Ohio (19-22 Oct)
‘Sutra, Sutures, and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Choreographic Interweaving’. School of Performing Arts Conference: ‘Interweaving Cultures’. University of Malta: Valletta, Malta (8-11 Mar)
2016 ‘Battling with Shakespeare in Rennie Harris/Puremovement’s Rome and Jewels(2000)’ CORD-SDHS Dance Studies Conference: ‘Beyond Authenticity and Appropriation’. Pomona College: Claremont, California (3-6 Nov)
‘Shakespeare’s Dancing Bodies’. Shakespeare and Dance Roundtable, World Shakespeare Congress. Kings College: London, UK (31 July – 6 Aug)
‘Invisibility, Impalpability, and Sensorial Culpability: Phenomenology and Aesthetic Education’. Department of Dance Studies Symposium: ‘Thinking Touch in Partnering and Contact Improvisation’. University of Malta: Msida, Malta (30 June)
2015 ‘Effacing Juliet’s Rebellious Choreography in the “Bad” Quarto and Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet(1965)’. Dance and Literature Symposium. Coventry University: London, UK (10 Sept)
‘Friction, Antagonism, and Interdisciplinary Partnering: Prokofiev’s and Lavrovsky’s Romeo and Juliet(1940)’. School of Performing Arts Conference: ‘Performance and Interdisciplinarity’. University of Malta: Valletta, Malta (20 Mar)
2014 ‘Interanimacies: Encountering Life Through the Inanimate in Sasha Waltz’s noBody.’ The School of Performing Arts Research Seminar. University of Malta: Msida, Malta (6 Nov)
2013 ‘Feet for Dancing: Shakespeare and the Dancing Body in Romeo and Juliet’. Renaissance Society of America. San Diego, California (4-7 Apr)
University of Malta
DCS1001/3 – Dance Techniques Lab 1 & 3 (Contemporary and Limon techniques)
DCS1005-6 – Dance in History and Society 1 & 2
DCS 1007 – Dance Devising (group-devised choreographies; emphasis on partnering)
DCS1013 – The Healthier Performer (anatomy, healthy practice, and dance science)
DCS2005-6 – Dance and Performance Theory 1 & 2 (second year theory unit)
DCS2007 – Technology in Interdisciplinary Performance
DCS2011 – Movement Analysis
DCS3005 – Choreological Perspectives (third year theory module)
DCS3007 – Dissertation
DCS5002– Theoretical Frameworks for Dance (first year graduate theory module)
DCS5007 – Research Project Seminars(graduate writing and research skills)
DCS5009– Independent Dance Praxis (graduate Practice as Research)
DCS5010– Research Seminar (Masters dissertation)
DCS5011– Dance, Health, and Wellbeing (Dance Science and applications)
BST5018– The Baroque Theatre (lectures on early modern dance and stages)
2014 Spectatorship: Moving Bodies, Perceiving Bodies” (TAPS 1281R). Attention to black, white, and queer audiences in contemporary dance. Focus upon 1) adaptations of “The Dying Swan” in Hip Hop and Swan Lake(e.g., Bourne), 2) choreographies of protest, and 3) issues in contemporary spectatorship studies. Midterm assignment involved ethnographic study of dance in local club or pedestrian dances. Final project: digital curation of dance concert.
2013 “Introduction to Dance Studies”; Theme: “Sex, Death, and Endurance” (TAPS 1281Q). Survey addressing choreography, performance, sociological effects, critical appraisals, dance history, and dance theory. Consideration of social dances (including Renaissance and contemporary club dance) and concert dance with attention to dance’s use and/or subversion of gender-specific and ethnic hierarchies. Attention to Disability Studies and mixed-ability dance groups as well as representations of grief in concert dance.
“Africana Dance in the US” (TAPS 1281R). Seeking an embodied, historico-cultural perspective on Africana dance in the U.S. through reading dance scholarship and also engaging in dance practice. Consideration of vernacular dances hip-hop and break dancing and concert works by choreographers including Katherine Dunham, Bill T. Jones, Urban Bush Women, and Alvin Ailey.
2012 “Introduction to Dance Studies”; Theme: “Sex, Death, and Endurance” (TAPS 1281Q)
University of Massachusetts Amherst
2011 “The Aesthetics of Peace Making” (online) (University of Massachusetts Amherst CMLT 141).
2010 “Comedy” (CMLT 231)
2009 “Literature and the Body” (section focus within the course “Good and Evil: East and West” (CMLT 141))
“Tragedy, Comedy, and In-Between” (online) (section focus within the course “Good and Evil: East and West” (CMLT 141))
“Comedy” (CMLT 231) (Spring)
2008 “Literature and Dance” (CMLT 141, Honors section)
Teaching Associate, “Tragedy, Comedy, and In-Between” (online)
2007 Teaching Associate, “Tragedy, Comedy, and In-Between” (online course)
Teaching Associate, “International Short Story” (CMLT 121)
Teaching Associate, “Poets and Poetry of New England” (online)
Guest Lectures and Teaching
2014 Co-organizer (with Richard Fishman) of Creativity Workshop for Executive MBA Program (Brown University)
2013 ‘Kinesthetic Empathy in Dance’ for Introduction to Ethnomusicology, Prof. Kiri Miller (Brown University)
2011 ‘Why Dance?’ Seminar. Lecture regarding contemporary theories of gesture and use in dance, “kinetic empathy,” and discussion of Berlin-based choreographer NIr de Volff’s Picnics, Weddings, and Funerals. (European College for the Liberal Arts, Berlin)
POSTGRADUATE TUTORING AND EVALUATION
Supervision of MA and Masters Dissertations
MA Dissertation Committees
2017-18 Chair of Dance Studies Association (DSA) international conference, Valletta, Malta (5-8 July 2018)
Member of Dance Studies Association Standing Committee on Conferences
2016 Co-organizer of ‘Thinking Touch in Partnering and Contact Improvisation,’ University of Malta (June 30)
2014 Organizing committee member, “Dance in/and Theory” conference at Brown University (Apr. 11)
Co-Chair, roundtable on “Shakespeare and Dance.” Shakespeare Society of America (Apr. 9-12)
2013 Organizer, “Dance in the Renaissance.” Renaissance Society of America. (Apr. 4-7).
Organizer and Leader, “Literature and Dance.” Northeastern MLA. Boston, MA (Mar. 21-24)
Pre-show talk and moderator for talk-back, David Wambach’s Sacre(Holyoke, MA), (Jan. 18)
2008 Organizer and Chair, ‘Shakespeare and Dance’, UMass Center for Renaissance Studies (Sept. 27)
2017 Continuing Professional Development for pedagogy in higher education (comparable to UK’s Postgraduate Certificate of Higher Education)
First Aid Training
Emergency Mental First Aid Training
2014 Certification in Pilates Mat (private certification specializing in working with dancers)
2013 Trained mediator through Brown University Mediation Providers
Certified Teacher by the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence
2012-13 Volunteer with 9 Yards program (for male inmate education and re-entry).
Participant in Tenderloin Opera Company (writing and performance group for the homeless of Providence, RI; directed by Erik Ehn).
2012 Conducted movement-based workshops at Brown University exploring integrity and structure.
2008 Volunteer with Spectrum in Motion (youth dance company in Hartford, Connecticut).
2004-07 Founder and Teacher, UMass Argentine Tango Society.
Dance Studies Association
Gesellschaft für Tanzforschung (Association for Dance Research)
International Comparative Literature Association
American Comparative Literature Association
Logic X (advanced)
Garage Band (advanced)
Ableton Live (intermediate)
II. DANCE PRACTICE
2018 Vignettes for Orfeo and Majnun(dir: Martina Winkel and Airan Berg) (27 Oct)
2017 Choreographer of vignettes for Inwardly Silent(dir: Nicole Cuschieri). St Paul’s Catacombs. Rabat, Malta (27-29 Jan)
2016 Choreographer and performer: Sticks and Stones. Notte Bianca Festival. Valletta, Malta (1 Oct)
2015 Choreographer: “Flailing Memory.” Science in the City Festival. Valletta, Malta (25 September)
Choreographer: “Between the Two…works in progress.” Casa Pereira, Valletta, Malta (29 July 2015)
2013 Choreographer and performer: “Again, If You Have More Strength.” Brown University Family Weekend Dance Concert. Providence, Rhode Island (Oct 18-20)
Choreographer: “The best advice my grandma ever gave me…” Brown University Spring Faculty Dance Concert (May 2-5) and Commencement Dance Concert. Providence, Rhode Island (May 25)
Choreographer and performer: through…an Oresteia. AS220 Arts Center. Providence, RI (May 15)
2012 Choreographer: “Morphine Tango” in Kiss of the Spider Woman (dir. Marcus Gardley). Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island (Oct 30-Nov 8)
2011 Produced and curated evening-length concert, tip of the tongue. Choreographies: ‘tip of the tongue’ (30 min.; 7 dancers); ‘Through the Precipice’ (solo); ‘Cuticle’ (duet) K77 Studios. Berlin (Dec. 10-11)
Performer: “Sonic Body Boom” (chor. Henrik Kaalund). Mica Moca. Berlin (Sept. 11)
Choreographer and performer: Wake. Into the Deep: Liz Erber and Guests, K77 Studios. Berlin (May 22-3)
Choreographer and performer: “Knowing you like I do, I could…” 10×6 Festival, ADA Studios. Berlin, Germany (May 7-8).
2010 Choreographer and Performer: “Skin” (with Ariel Cohen). Ponderosa Dance Festival. Stolzenhagen, Germany (July 29)
Choreographer: “Mourning Wake.” Caught in the Act: Performance and Performativity Conference, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, Massachusetts (April 17)
Performer: Picture Window. MFA Concert, Smith College. Northampton, Massachusetts (2-4 Feb)
2009 Performer: “Prophets of Funk” (Chor. David Dorfman). Smith College and Mount Holyoke College. Northampton, Massachusetts (12-14 and 19-21 Nov)
2006- Member of Blaze Dance (dir. Krisen Day). Performed in Philly Fringe
2007 Festival, Dance New Amsterdam, and throughout Massachusetts.
SELECTED DANCE TEACHING (PREVIOUS TO APPOINTMENT AT UNIVERSITY OF MALTA)
2012- Beginning and Intermediate Modern Dance classes (guest instructor), Brown 2014 University.
2012 Two-month workshop of investigation of myofascial understandings of human structure and dance practice. Brown University.
2011 Conducted three-day workshop, “Dynamic Partnering: Bones and Skin.” K77 Studio, Berlin (Dec. 7-9).
Argentine Tango and Beginning Modern Dance, European College for the Liberal Arts (Berlin, Germany).
Beginning Modern Dance, Dock 11 Studios, (Berlin, Germany).
2008-2010 Teacher and organizer for Tango Helix (Studio Helix, Northampton, MA)
2006-2008 Teacher and organizer, UMass Argentine Tango Club
Dance and marital arts equally inform Brandon’s movement practice. As a mover and choreographer, he is captivated by how opposites are contained within each other. Within marital arts, the tai chi symbol represents the harmony of yin and yang, and that within the core of yin is yang, and vice versa. Doris Humphrey’s fall and recovery system of movement likewise uses gravity to go up and conceives of suspension as going both up and down at once. Brandon’s approach to choreography and movement is characterized by this dynamic of seeking the mutual inherence of soft-hard, fast-slow, fierce-tender.
Partnering is the primary focus of Brandon’s practice. Drawing equally from martial arts training—including tai chi, preying mantis kung fu, and aikido—as well as from contact improvisation and ballet, he has developed several tools that facilitate partnering that is innovative, powerful, and safe.
Humphrey-Limón technique and Bartenieff-based contemporary techniques are central to Brandon’s approach to dance. His own practical research has investigated the role of the arms in Humphrey-Limón technique, which led him to develop his own style that utilizes slashes and use of the arms as counterbalances. Through slashes and minimalizing friction through turning on the tip of the heel, Brandon has developed a technique that resembles ice skating.
Various somatic approaches, including qi gong, Anatomy Trains, and Klein technique, directed Brandon toward attention to the back line and the heel-pelvis connection.
To find out more about Brandon’s choreography, visit www.cleavedancetheatre.com.
As a dance historiographer, Shaw is principally interested in how dance functions as a prism for strategies of power and a training ground for resistance to those oppressive structures and operations. He posits that dance ossifies black-white race relations in 17thcentury England, France, and America, and explores their parallels with and causality for contemporary race relations.
Following upon his role as co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Dance, Brandon has turned to how the branding of Shakespeare, because of its cultural capital and association of white heteronormativity, has served not only as a foil but also a chaperone for subversive choreographic readings of the Shakespeare project. His current book project, “We must have you dance”: Choreographic Rendings of Romeo and Juliet, explores politically-aggressive rendings (as opposed to renderings that strive for textual fidelity) of Romeo and Juliet. The monograph analyzes choreographies by Rennie Harris’ (2000), Dada Masilo’s (2010), and Jessica Nupen’s (2015) Romeo and Juliets, which tear past the classical veneer to address black and queer experiences. These are compared with Lavrovsky’s (1940), Cranko’s (1962), MacMillan’s (1965) supposedly more faithful renderings. Shaw argues that, while the global cultural commodification of Shakespeare ostensibly provides an exploitable branding to marginalized groups, Africanist understandings of Romeo and Julietestablish a camaraderie with Will. As Rennie Harris put it, “Shakespeare was a DJ.” “We must have you dance”argues that a materialism-oriented (neo-historicist) approach to Romeo and Juliet, accounting for conditions of textual production and theatrical performance practices alongside more panoramic considerations of social milieu, demonstrates resemblances between Africanist and early modern European performance strategies.
Viewing ballet as fundamentally a vernacular form, Shaw compares the “balletification” of rustic and foreign dancing to contemporary Euro-American white-washing of black vernacular dance forms. His research into the roots of ballet investigates early modern European body culture ancillary to dance, including medical, anatomical, and artistic renderings of the body, as well as special attention to fencing manuals and practices of the time. As an inheritor of formation of ballet in the early modern period, Classical ballet has an adoring-abhorring relationship with the vernacular forms upon which it is based, and it taxonomizes measures formulated to distance aristocracy from lower social classes and also encounters with African dances.
Brandon is a dance scholar and practitioner. As a scholar, he is fundamentally interested in dance as a prism, ossification, laboratory, and rebel encampment for race relations. Buttressing and critiquing Foucauldian concepts through post-colonialism, contemporary race and gender studies, and empirical research, Shaw’s scholarship is an activist voice against bigotry permeated by a careful optimism.
With a movement background in dance and marital arts, Brandon’s dance technique and choreography demonstrate a simultaneous ferocity and sensitivity. Through interfacing dance and martial arts, he has devised partnering techniques and conducted practical research into new materialism and with props, fabrics, and staffs.