The Dance Studies Association has honored Professor of Dance Judith Hamera with the 2020 Gertrude Lippincott Award for Best Article of the Year for her scholarly article entitled “Rehearsal Problems: Gus Giordano’s The Rehearsal and the Serious Business of Middlebrow Dance.”
The Gertrude Lippincott Award recognizes the best English-language article in the field of dance studies in a given calendar year. The $500 award is a tribute to Gertrude Lippincott of Minneapolis, one of the founders of the original Congress on Research in Dance, who is nationally recognized for her choreography, performance, company directing, teaching and dance writing. Lippincott founded the Modern Dance Center of Minneapolis. From the 1940s-1960s she was also a writer and an editor for Dance Observer and Dance Magazine.
In her article, which was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in the June 2019 edition of Theatre Journal, Hamera turns to Chicago-based white jazz dance choreographer Gus Giordano’s 1980 performance of The Rehearsal to illuminate middlebrow dance. The essay examines the context, narrative arc, choreography, and movement vocabulary of The Rehearsal as a historical document, as an example of Giordano’s 1970s and early ’80s aesthetics, and as a pivotal moment in his career. Hamera argues for a reexamination of middlebrow dance in times of structural economic change and probes the dance’s surprisingly biting and prescient critique of the postwar middle-class bargain exchanging prosperity and mobility for professionalism, just as that bargain was beginning to unravel.
The selection committee noted that, “Hamera’s article is a model of rigorous dance scholarship in its analysis of intersecting racial and economic structures and its historicization of those structures, which in turn help frame the racial and economic violences of our contemporary moment.”
This article also won an Honorable Mention for Outstanding Article from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.
Hamera is Professor of Dance in the Lewis Center for the Arts with affiliations in American Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Urban Studies. Her scholarship and teaching are interdisciplinary and examine a wide range of sites, united by commitments to ethnography as a research method and to investigating ways specific performance practices reflect and respond to the racialized, gendered political economic challenges of US urban life in periods of structural change. Her latest book, Unfinished Business: Michael Jackson, Detroit, and the Figural Economy of American Deindustrialization (Oxford University Press, 2017), received the 2018 Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s Outstanding Book Award and the 2017-2018 Biennial Sally Banes Publication Prize from the American Society for Theatre Research. Hamera is author of several other publications, and her essays have appeared in Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Cultural Studies, Modern Drama, PMLA, Qualitative Inquiry, TDR: The Drama Review, Text and Performance Quarterly, Theatre Topics, and Women and Language.