PAMELA GEBER HANDMAN portrait
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies, Modern Dance Department
  • Advisor for Secondary Teaching, Modern Dance Department
  • Professor, School Of Dance
801-587-9806

Research Statement

RESEARCH – My research falls into three categories: Scholarly, Creative (Choreographic) and Creative (Performance/Interpretive).

1. SCHOLARLY RESEARCH: I have a passion for researching the ways in which dance science/kinesiology can aid dancers in terms of overall wellness, injury prevention and performance enhancement.  My scholarly research projects have built upon one another, often developing as follows:  1) acknowledging a gap in the dance science and dance education literature on a given topic, 2) noticing that certain dance practices and aesthetics necessitate scientific substantiation, 3) writing and presenting these ideas at conferences, 4) talking with other teachers, body workers, physical therapists, doctors and establishing networking organizations (such as the Dance Kinesiology Teachers’ Special Interest Group, for which I co-founded),  5) developing a practical application that brings these findings directly to the dancers inside a studio setting and 6) presenting movement sessions at conferences and workshops, more specifically geared towards teachers and writing them up more completely as a full-length paper.

 

Accomplishments:

a) I am very proud to say that my first full-length article entitled Teaching at the Interface of Dance Kinesiology and Somatics, co-authored with colleague Margaret Wilson from the University of Wyoming, was published in June 2010 in The Journal for Dance Medicine and Science  (Volume 14, Number 2, pp. 50-57(8)). This journal is the official publication linked to the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS).  Please note that I was originally informed that this article was to be published in 2009.  On older versions of my CV and the 2009 FARS Report, the incorrect date is listed.  I have updated it for 2010. 

b) In 2011, I presented original research at 2 conferences.  From Science to Art; Experiential Anatomy to Improvisation and Choreography was presented in Washington DC at IADMS’s fall conference.  How Do We Inspire Kinesiological Meaning-Making? was presented at the State University of New York in Brockport’s summer conference for the Dance Kinesiology Teachers’ Group. 

c) Other conference presentations since receiving tenure have included: Experiential Anatomy: The Shoulder and Shoulder Girdle (2012, Northwest Regional Conference of the American College Dance Festival Association at UU), Experiential Anatomy: The Foot (co-presented with Margaret Wilson in 2009, Northwest Regional Conference of the American College Dance Festival Association at Utah Valley University and later, presented by myself at the Utah Dance Education Organization’s fall conference at Brigham Young University), Experiential Anatomy: The Hip Joint (2008, at Oberlin College, OH) and Experiential Anatomy: The Shoulder Joint (co-presented with Margaret Wilson in 2008 at the Northwest Regional Conference of the American College Dance Festival Association at UU).  

d) Before 2007, I presented at conferences in Florida, Sweden, the UK, Finland, California, New York, Colorado, Wyoming, Hawaii and Utah among other locations.

 

 

Goals:

I will continue to be fully involved with IADMS (for which I also have served as an Education Committee member), with the Dance Kinesiology Teachers’ Group (for which I have co-coordinated three conference gatherings nationally and internationally) and would like to get more involved in the National Dance Education Organization as well as the Utah Dance Education Organization, submitting my research to those organizations.  I would like to expand my 2011 conference presentation entitled “How Do We Inspire Kinesiological Meaning-Making?” into a longer paper, perhaps during summer 2013 and submitting it for publication.  I will continue submitting work to upcoming conferences.  

I am also co-coordination an upcoming mini-conference for the Dance Kinesiology Teachers' Group to be held in summer 2013 at the University of Utah.

2. CREATIVE RESEARCH (choreographic): Creative research does not involve the proving or disproving of a theory or hypothesis.  Instead, it involves a more open-ended investigation, one guided by creative objectives. Creating a piece of choreography is a present-tense process of investigation, inquiry and collaboration on many levels.  I am passionate about the daily process in which I try new ideas, rearrange and reconfigure them.  The delicate weave between movement invention and choreographic structure fascinates me.  I work collaboratively with cast members, drawing out their own lived experience with the material.  I’ve been able to do a few collaborations with other artists, something I’d like to do more of.  

Accomplishments:

a) My own choreography since receiving tenure has included: Life Raft (2012, fourteen dancers in Performing Dance Company), Blush (2011, sextet for Performing Dance Company), With/Without (2009 collaboration with Ellen Bromberg, duet for Performing Dance Company), Wonderland (2008, quintet for Performing Dance Company), The House Was Quiet (2008, solo for myself, performed at Oberlin College in Ohio and at The Rose Wagner in Salt Lake City), Solo material created and performed in Eric Handman’s film Dark Room (screened in 2008 & 2006 at several locations), Holding Us Up/Mothers and Daughters (2007, community involved work for 22 Performing Dance Company members and 9 mothers, performed in PDC’s spring concert), Deaf Voices/Mute Ears (originally performed for 2005 PDC later toured to American Dance Guild’s 50th Anniversary Gala Concert in New York City in 2007 and was selected to represent the UU at the American College Dance Festival’s Informal Concert in Missoula, MT in 2006) and Preludes (originally performed for 2003 PDC later toured to Bordeaux, France’s La Pont Tournant in 2007 and Scottsdale, AZ in 2003).

Goals:

a) I have become increasingly interested in community-based projects and creating work with trained as well as untrained dancers, similar to the 2007 piece Holding Us Up/Mothers and Daughters. I am interested in creating another family-type project, involving individuals with Down syndrome and a family member.  This will most likely begin as a teaching event but hopefully, branch into community-based research with a performance of some sort culminating.  This is a new area for me.  I have just submitted my first grant proposal (a Dee Grant/2013) for the first rendition of this project, hopefully to take place in fall 2013.

b) Continue finding venues outside the region to present my creative research.

 

 

3. CREATIVE RESEARCH (performance/interpretive):

As a creative researcher and more specifically, a performer learning and embodying a piece of choreography, I am given the task to expand upon it and interpret it from a lived perspective.  This particular research category is the one I have investigated the longest, having performed professionally before entering academia.  I choreograph works for myself to dance and have also commissioned several outside choreographers of note to choreograph and/or restage works on me.  I have collected a series of choreographies and have performed full evenings of solos and duets.

 

Accomplishments:

a) I performed in Palpate, a full-evening concert of duets, solos and film with partner Eric Handman at The Rose Wagner Black Box Theatre in Salt Lake City as a part of Repertory Dance Theatre’s LINK series in 2006 and later at Oberlin College in Ohio in 2008.  In this concert, I performed in duets by New York City-based choreographers David Dorfman and Susan Marshall and in choreography of my own.  There were earlier versions of this concert performed in other locations, including a solo created for me by Sara Rudner. 

b) I have performed professionally in choreography by many renowned contemporary artists (see CV).  In 2007, I performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in Anime and Adelante, choreographed by Fred Darsow.

Goals:

a) Choreographing and performing a new, longer duet with Eric Handman – later spring 2013 and into summer 2013.  

 

Creative Research

  • before she sleeps in the sand (4 performers) Selected to be performed at the College of Fine Arts Distinguished Alumni Celebration in Salt Lake, UT. (Kingsbury Hall) Research Presentation. Invited. Choreography, completed 09/26/2018.
  • before she sleeps in the sand (4 performers) Selected by the adjudicators at the American College Dance Association (ACDA) Northwest Region Conference Northwest Region for presentation on the Gala Performance in Boulder, CO. Research Presentation. Invited & peer reviewed. Choreography, refereed, completed 03/17/2018.
  • before she sleeps in the sand (4 performers) Selected by the School of Dance to be performed at the American College Dance Association (ACDA) Northwest Region Conference for presentation in Boulder, CO. Research Presentation. Invited & peer reviewed. Choreography, refereed, completed 03/15/2018.
  • before she sleeps in the sand (4 performers) Selected by the adjudicators to be performed at Breaking Ground: Dance and Film Festival in Tempe, AZ. Research Presentation. Invited & peer reviewed. Choreography, refereed, completed 01/19/2018.
  • before she sleeps in the sand (premiere, 4 performers) Performing Dance Company Concert, Marriott Center for Dance at the University of Utah in Salt Lake, UT. Research Presentation. Invited. Choreography, refereed, completed 11/04/2017.
  • Performed the solo, "The Shape Leaves" at Dance Science, Pedagogy and Performance - Las Cruces, New Mexico Performance, refereed, completed 07/21/2017.
  • 2014 Regarding Last Night – for 10 Performing Dance Company members For Performing Dance Company’s Fall 2014 season Hayes-Christensen Theatre, University of Utah – Salt Lake City, UT Choreography, completed 10/23/2014.
  • Jump Start: Creative Community Project for Individuals with Down Syndrome and Their Families (see full description above) Other, in progress 09/10/2013.
  • Life Raft (14 Performing Dance Company members) Performance, completed 10/2012.
  • 2011 Blush – for 7 Performing Dance Company members For Performing Dance Company’s Fall 2011 season Hayes-Christensen Theatre, University of Utah – Salt Lake City, UT Performance, completed 10/2011.
  • 2009 - Choreographed "With/Without" for Performing Dance Company. This was a collaboration with Ellen Bromberg (visual design/media design). Choreography, completed 2009.
  • 2009 - Performed "Interior" - choreography by Susan Marshall at the Gala Concert for the Colorado College Dance Festival (Colorado Springs, CO). Performance, completed 2009.
  • 2008 The House Was Quiet Choreography by Pamela Geber Performances as a part of duet concert “Palpate” with Eric Handman Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH. Performances as a part of Fieldwork Showcase The Rose Wagner Theatre – Salt Lake City, UT Other performances in future. 2006, 2008, 2009 Interior Choreography by Susan Marshall Performances as a part of gala concert at Colorado College. Performances as a part of duet concert “Palpate” with Eric Handman Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH. The Rose Wagner Theatre – Salt Lake City, UT As a part of Repertory Dance Theatre’s LINK series Other performances in future. 2003, 2006 & 2008 approaching no calm Choreography by David Dorfman Performances as a part of duet concert “Palpate” with Eric Handman Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH. The Rose Wagner Theatre – Salt Lake City, UT As a part of Repertory Dance Theatre’s LINK series Dougherty Dance Theatre, University of Oregon - Eugene, OR Performances as a part of the Graduate Concert Hayes-Christensen Theatre, University of Utah – Salt Lake City, UT Other performances in future. 2006, 2008 Dark Room – Improvisational solo in Eric Handman’s film Performances as a part of duet concert “Palpate” with Eric Handman Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH. The Rose Wagner Theatre – Salt Lake City, UT As a part of Repertory Dance Theatre’s LINK series Performance, completed 2009.
  • 2008 The House Was Quiet Choreography by Pamela Geber Performances as a part of duet concert “Palpate” with Eric Handman Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH. Performances as a part of Fieldwork Showcase The Rose Wagner Theatre – Salt Lake City, UT Other performances in future. 2006, 2008, 2009 Interior Choreography by Susan Marshall Performances as a part of faculty concert at Colorado College. Performances as a part of duet concert “Palpate” with Eric Handman Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH. The Rose Wagner Theatre – Salt Lake City, UT As a part of Repertory Dance Theatre’s LINK series Other performances in future. 2003, 2006 & 2008 approaching no calm Choreography by David Dorfman Performances as a part of duet concert “Palpate” with Eric Handman Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH. The Rose Wagner Theatre – Salt Lake City, UT As a part of Repertory Dance Theatre’s LINK series Dougherty Dance Theatre, University of Oregon - Eugene, OR Performances as a part of the Graduate Concert Hayes-Christensen Theatre, University of Utah – Salt Lake City, UT Other performances in future. 2006, 2008 Dark Room – Improvisational solo in Eric Handman’s film Performances as a part of duet concert “Palpate” with Eric Handman Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH. The Rose Wagner Theatre – Salt Lake City, UT As a part of Repertory Dance Theatre’s LINK series Performance, completed 2009.
  • 2008 The House Was Quiet – Solo for myself. (This piece is currently being developed into a group work to be performed in fall 2009 for Performing Dance Company members at the University of Utah.) Performances as a part of duet concert “Palpate” with Eric Handman Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH Performances as a part of Fieldwork Showcase The Rose Wagner Theatre – Salt Lake City, UT 2008 Wonderland – Quintet for Performing Dance Company members For Performing Dance Company’s Spring 2008 season Hayes-Christensen Theatre, University of Utah – Salt Lake City, UT 2006, 2008 Dark Room – Improvisational solo in Eric Handman’s film Performances as a part of duet concert “Palpate” with Eric Handman The Rose Wagner Theatre – Salt Lake City, UT As a part of Repertory Dance Theatre’s LINK series Choreography, completed 2008.
  • 2008 The House Was Quiet Choreography by Pamela Geber Performances as a part of duet concert “Palpate” with Eric Handman Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH. Performances as a part of Fieldwork Showcase The Rose Wagner Theatre – Salt Lake City, UT Other performances in future. 2006, 2008, 2009 Interior Choreography by Susan Marshall Performances as a part of gala concert at Colorado College. Performances as a part of duet concert “Palpate” with Eric Handman Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH. The Rose Wagner Theatre – Salt Lake City, UT As a part of Repertory Dance Theatre’s LINK series Other performances in future. 2003, 2006 & 2008 approaching no calm Choreography by David Dorfman Performances as a part of duet concert “Palpate” with Eric Handman Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH. The Rose Wagner Theatre – Salt Lake City, UT As a part of Repertory Dance Theatre’s LINK series Dougherty Dance Theatre, University of Oregon - Eugene, OR Performances as a part of the Graduate Concert Hayes-Christensen Theatre, University of Utah – Salt Lake City, UT Other performances in future. 2006, 2008 Dark Room – Improvisational solo in Eric Handman’s film Performances as a part of duet concert “Palpate” with Eric Handman Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH. The Rose Wagner Theatre – Salt Lake City, UT As a part of Repertory Dance Theatre’s LINK series Performance, completed 2008.

Presentations

  • Collaborative Presentation+Workshop+Publication within the VSA (Very Special Arts) Conference in Irvine, CA. (Co-presenters: Kristen Paul, Cathy Nelson, Brooke Barnhill). Title: "Using dance to teach educational concepts to students with multiple disabilities and sensory loss" . Presentation, Presented, 10/27/2019.
  • Invited to co-present "Teaching Concepts to Children with Visual Impairments and Deafblindness Using the BEST Elements of Dance" with Kristen Paul, Cathy Nelson and Brooke Barnhill at Council for Exception Children's conference in Indianapolis, IN in January 2019. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 01/29/2019.
  • See updated CV for conference papers. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 01/07/2019.
  • See updated CV for presentations + publications. Presentation, Presented, 01/01/2019.
  • See "Publications" for all Presentations - 2017. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 07/21/2017.
  • Spoke on panel: Politics, Aesthetics and Educational Advocacy. Showed my documentary film: Jump Start (project for individuals with Down Syndrome and their family members) as a part of my presentation. Presentation, Presented, 10/17/2015.
  • Presented Jump Start - invited talk, shared new documentary film, topic: community engaged projects involving individuals with Down Syndrome and their family members, at Cleveland State University's Summer Dance Workshop. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 07/10/2015.
  • *Dance Kinesiology Teachers’ Group: Overview and History 2014 Dance Kinesiology Teachers’ Group Conference Linwood University, MO. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 06/20/2014.
  • Title: Designing a Contemporary Post Modern Dance Technique Class: A Teacher’s Approach to Infusing Science (Presented at the International Associate for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) fall 2013 conference in Seattle, WA. Original Abstract Submission: Integrating scientific information within a dance technique class can often strangle the life out of what was once a fully lived, expressive experience. When I first began my enthusiastic study of anatomy and tried referencing scientific concepts in a technique class, there were moments when class ground to a halt in a “kinesiological freeze.” Even though I believed many of these anatomical refinements were important, why did they have to be at the sacrifice of fully buoyant, dancing? I am proposing to share how I design my contemporary post modern dance technique classes, infusing scientific information in a more dynamic, holistic way. I will discuss the overall structure, pacing and developmental arc of technique class as well as the timing with which I offer feedback on alignment, proper joint articulations and efficient muscular work. I will share some key explanations I’ve found helpful for cueing alignment and movement efficiency: ones that can be quickly integrated within a movement class. I will share my own technique class preparation, often involving systematic exploration of joint articulations, movement initiations and range of muscular effort. In this preparation, I create movement material to help the students find greater movement efficiency and clarity in their joints. In technique classes, my overarching goal is that students have a full and expressive dancing experience, leaving class feeling exhilarated rather than bogged down with too much scientific information in their heads. Under the surface however, I keep guiding them towards greater movement efficiency, clarity, control, range and nuance. In essence, the underlying technique is completely informed by scientific information. Within this presentation, I will share my teaching strategies for organizing kinesiological concepts within the dance studio. Participants for this proposed session would most likely include fellow dance teachers and students although anyone interested is most welcome. As my current experience is within higher education, I have taught in different settings. For this particular presentation, I think the teaching strategies I will share are applicable to different technique class situations. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 10/18/2013.
  • Integrating Dance Science in the dance technique class (co-presented with Margaret Wilson, Associate Professor in the Dance Department at the University of Wyoming). Presented at the Dance Kinesiology Teachers' Group Mini Conference at the University of Utah in summer 2013. This was an earlier version of the presentation for IADMS (October 2013 in Seattle, WA). Original Abstract Submission: Within a dance kinesiology or dance science course, there is a wealth of information for students to be introduced to. Anatomy, physiology, and somatics provide the foundation in many Dance Kinesiology courses. However, subjects like biomechanics, motor control, psychology, and fitness are considered part of dance science as well. However, it is impossible to adequately cover all of this information in one or two classes. In some cases the students can choose to study these topics in more depth in other courses, and yet how can this information be provided to students in an experiential way? For all of the topics listed above, the value in the information comes in helping the students link key concepts to their dance training. And while the information can be presented in lecture form, it is possible to introduce or augment this information within a traditional dance class. This presentation will consist of several examples of how scientific information about the body can be integrated into a dance technique class, with an emphasis on how dancers make ‘meaning’ of the information in their dance training. Conference Paper, Presented, 08/10/2013.
  • Several papers/abstracts published in conference proceedings for: the International Associate for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS), Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA), Utah Dance Education Organization (UDEO), American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA), Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, The International Symposium On Dance and Medicine: Medical Psychological and Nutritional Aspects of Dance in Helsinki, Finland, and Dancing in the Millenium: Conference 2000" in Washington, D.C. Conference Paper, Other, 2008.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
    Traveled to London and Chester (UK) for sabbatical projects during fall 2018. Projects connected to Candoco Dance Company, Magpie Dance, StopGap Dance Company, Jemima Hoadley and Trinity Laban Conservatoire.

Publications

  • Pamela Geber Handman & Kristen Paul (2017). Interdisciplinary Teaching Model: Dance and Special Education. National Dance Education Organization's annual conference in San Antonio, TX. Accepted, 11/12/2017.
  • Pamela Geber Handman & Kristen Paul, Cathy Jensen, Brooke Buchanan (2017). Teaching Concepts to Children Using the BEST Elements of Dance. DeafBlind International - Aalborg, Denmark. Accepted, 09/08/2017.
  • Pamela Geber Handman (2017). Dance Research-invited panel. Presented at William Evans' Dance Science, Pedagogy and Performance Conference. Accepted, 07/26/2017.
  • Pamela Geber Handman (2017). Anatomical Meaning-Making: Personalization and Agency. Dance Science, Pedagogy and Performance (conference). Accepted, 07/26/2017.
  • Pamela Geber Handman (2017). Contemporary Technique Class: Infusing Science - presented at fall 2017 conference “Dance Science, Pedagogy and Performance” in Las Cruces, NM. Dance Science, Pedagogy and Performance (conference). Accepted, 07/21/2017.
  • Cross Training and Conditioning, chapter 3 of "Dancer Wellness" was published by Human Kinetics. Co-author: Emma Redding. Published, 12/16/2016.
  • *Dance Kinesiology Teachers’ Group: Overview and History 2014 Dance Kinesiology Teachers’ Group Conference Linwood University, MO. Published, 06/07/2014.
  • From Science to Art; Experiential Anatomy to Improvisation and Choreography. Published, 10/2011.
  • How Do We Inspire Kinesiology Meaning-Making. Published, 07/2011.
  • Teaching at the Interface of Dance Kinesiology and Somatics. Published, 06/2010.
  • Somatic Practices for Our Holistic Lives. Published, 10/2006.