Date(s) - 03/16/21
Celebrating Women’s History Month during the 75th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program
Fulbright Forum: Selma Jeanne Cohen and the Cultivation of American Dance Scholarship
Presented by Elizabeth Zimmer
Selma Jeanne Cohen almost singlehandedly delivered the discipline of dance history to the American academic community. Determined since her adolescence to study the subject, she found the teachers and environments she needed, and then helped develop university departments where such studies could deepen and continue, as well as training critics and funding awards in several scholarly disciplines. In the year preceding Cohen’s centennial, Elizabeth Zimmer mined the extensive archive of her personal and professional papers available at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts. The resulting paper, first presented in January of 2020 at the Library’s Bruno Walter Auditorium, condenses six months of research, both in Cohen’s papers and among her colleagues and acquaintances, into an inspiring story of grit and determination.
About the speaker:
Elizabeth Zimmer caught the dance bug at Bennington College in the 1960s, began writing professionally in Canada in the 1970s, and has contributed to radio, magazines, and newspapers in New York and California from 1979 until the present. She edited Body Against Body: the dance and other collaborations of Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane (Station Hill Press, 1989) and Envisioning Dance for Film and Video (Routledge, 2002), and worked for the Village Voice, as a writer and editor, from 1982 until its demise in 2018. She has taught dance writing workshops across the USA since 1993, and in the MFA program at Hollins University from 2011 until 2019. The research for her paper on Selma Jeanne Cohen was supported by a grant from the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. She currently acts in medical schools as a standardized patient, studies the Feldenkrais method, and writes about dance-related subjects for Chelsea Community News.