Vaudevival: Old is the new New is a “Trad” dance theater project that ricochets through pockets of twentieth-century popular entertainment to create a vibrant statement about the cyclical nature of art and society.  The accompanying paper lays a theoretical framework for research that is detailed in this blog.  Both the written and performance portions view American vernacular dance through the lens of Critical Race theory in order to dismantle unwieldy categories in Dance Studies in higher education. Envisioning a creative utopia free of exploitative hierarchies – both on the stage and on the page, Vaudevival invokes the old to reinvent the new through the intertextuality of American dances, bringing scholarship to the theater, and bringing some theater to scholarship.  Email emilyoleson@gmail.com to book a performance or lecture-demonstration.

I recently  graduated with my MFA from The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at University of Maryland College Park. My thesis concert, Vaudevival: Old is the new New, took place on October 20th and 21st, 2011 at The Clarice Smith Center, UMCP. This blog details my research and choreographic process… we made the attached Kickstarter video for our recent campaign, and a trailer for the Vaudevival: Old is the new New is included.

We were co-presenting an expanded version of the show June 30th and July 1st, 2012 at Dance Place in Washington, D.C., joined by special guests Baakari Wilder, Capital Tap and Urban Artistry, when the crazy wind storm (derecho) knocked out the power and changed that plan.  We held an invited dress rehearsal Saturday June 30th at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and held one performance in Georgetown at the National Conservatory for Dramatic Arts on Sunday July 1st.  Special thanks to our stage manager Sharon King who acted as a liason with these venues and a very, very big thanks to all the generous individuals who allowed the show to go on!!!  It was incredibly uplifting, and profoundly humbling, to see the power of the arts and community in action!  CSPAC, NCDA, and our cast and crew, thank you so much for making it happen!

I am co-founder of Good Foot Dance Company, a group which uses traditional and vernacular movement as a vehicle for a rhythmic  journey through American percussive dance. Taking inspiration from the connections between Irish and European step dance, Appalachian flatfooting, tap, and contemporary movement, Good Foot seeks a theatrical crossroads that will propel percussive dance into the 21st century. http://www.goodfootdance.org

P.S.  Trad is short for traditional, as in traditional American stringband music, etc – I first saw this on an awesome sticker for The Mammals: Trad is Rad!

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