Seónagh is a dance artist and somatic movement specialist rich with wisdom of international experiences in healing and performance. Seónagh is originally from Canada where she achieved her MA at UBC in dance/theatre education. In Canada she assisted indigenous healers and watched individuals grow through effects of trauma, seeing firsthand how somatic processes re-educate the neuromuscular system. Amazed by the effects of working with sound, breath, movement, and visualization, she further explored crossovers between dance/ceremony while training and performing in Vancouver, then dancing with US-based artists on the East Coast. Ultimately, Seónagh returned to integrating arts of choreography and healing, earning her PhD in Dance at Temple University.
Seónagh has had opportunities to work internationally, including living in Africa where she researched ceremonial dance. She believes dance provides a powerful lens to engage the mindset, aspirations and agency of individuals seeking social justice, and she understands dance as capable of communicating unlimited aspects of history and culture. Her research, writing and workshops are interdisciplinary, exploring the intersections of critical pedagogy and dance somatics, and assisting embodied critiques of oppression. An upcoming publication in the book, Spiritual Herstories: Call of the Soul in Dance Research offers a critical re-examination of how we look at African women’s dance history. Seónagh has developed numerous choreography projects as an award recipient or guest artist, presenting at venues throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.
As a professor of Dance, Seónagh guides her students to work with both professional and community artists, and she often generates movement through community engagement about topics, collaborating with artists to create works for the stage. While Seónagh's dance work is visual and physical, she also mirrors her values and uses dance as a form of activism. Her classes and workshops are interdisciplinary, exploring the intersections of critical pedagogy and dance somatics, and she assists students both to embody both dance and critiques of oppression.
Seónagh co-founded the non-profit, @dharmainmotion (2017) wherein she works through dance to create change globally and locally. With a mixture contemporary dance techniques, African influences and pedestrian gestures, her choreography often pursues topics about human rights, or social and environmental justice. Dharma in Motion also provides a mechanism to fundraise for sustainable projects, giving to women and communities in dire need, and raising consciousness about social inequities.
Seónagh tours internationally for performances, workshops and educational lectures. She has developed evening length performances that traveled to international festivals and venues. For example, at an Artist Residency in Seville, Spain (2014) the focus was on how local people interpreted the Spanish economic crisis, and Seónagh worked with Spanish modern dancers and international musicians to create an evening length performance featuring live music with reknowned jazz legend, Bennie Maupin. In similar fashion, Seónagh choreographed Bloom (2019), Traces (2016), Exit from the Blue Room (2013/2014), Bodies of Water (2010/2011/2012) and other works.
Seónagh's research lays a foundation for somatically-oriented pedagogy that expands the areas of dance theory, dance education and curriculum theory. She seeks to involve audiences in creative processes with the aid of Boalian theatre techniques, and her choreography exercises investigate topics about social and environmental justice, which inform dancers’ movements and gestures. This workshop format connects to Seonagh's scholarly research where she offers a perspective on the body as a zone of critical praxis.
On the CSULA campus Seónagh brings students in contact with professional experiences in Los Angeles, and she has enjoyed creating projects with faculty and students from multiple disciplines in the sciences, Latin American Studies, Women's Studies, and international studies. For example, in 2015 she choreographed the dance called "Life" that drew attention to the hydro station on CSULA campus and was performed onstage in Pasadena, CA. Student dancers worked with professionals from the Asava company and with advanced graduate student scientists to evolve movement about the process of making hydrogen fuel.
Likewise, Seónagh mobilizes students and community members in site specific performances. She coordinated a flash mob at Union Station, Los Angeles on International Women's Day 2015 as part of the Womenseriously campaign for Global Peace. She directed dancers and co-choreographed with Linsdsey Lollie and Daniel Glenn to create movement that would be relevant to the #Womenseriously campaign in April 2015.
Anna Paris and Alan Perez in "Duality" choreographed by Seónagh Kummer (Dharma in Motion) Photography @redheartmedia
Collaborators/Dancers Anna Paris and Alan Perez in "Bloom" (2019) Directed by Seónagh Kummer @dharmainmotion @seonaghdances Photography @redheartmedia
Ph.D., Temple University, Dance (2009).
Areas: Choreography, Critical Pedagogy; Poststructuralist Theory
Dissertation: A Conversation with Dance History: Movement and Meaning in the Cultural Body
M.A., University of British Columbia, Curriculum and Instruction (2000).
Areas: African Canadian Literature; Performance in Multicultural Education
Master’s Thesis: Legacy of Influence: African Canadian Stories in a Multicultural Landscape
B.A., University of British Columbia (1995).
Thesis: Indigenous Canadian Histories and the Oral Tradition: Women speaking, dancing, singing.
AWARDS AND HONOURS
Concejal de Cultura, Ayuntamiento de Alanis, Residencia Artistica Internacional (2013) Art of Engagement Network, Artist-in-Residence, (2011-12)
Canada Council for the Arts, Award in Dance, (2009-10) CID—UNESCO, Conseil Internationale de la Danse, Member (2009-) Fisher Center Pre-doctoral Fellowship (2006-07)
The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation Grant (2006-07)
Creative Leave (2013)
Mentoring Grant, (2012)
Department of Dance and Fisher Center for Women and Men, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY
Fisher Center Pre-doctoral Fellow (2006-2007)
TEACHING AND ADMINISTRATION
Associate Professor of Dance and Theatre (2009-)
Department of Music, Theatre and Dance, California State University, Los Angeles, CA.
Performance Studies Seminars, Dance History, Composition, Choreography, Technique
Co-Coordinator AA Program, Curriculum (2008)
Transpacific Hawaii College, Honolulu, HI.
Assistant Professor (2007-2008)
Transpacific Hawaii College, Honolulu, HI.
Theatre Arts, Women’s Studies, Intercultural Communication Multidisciplinary Appointment.
Lead Teaching Assistant, Adjunct Professor of Dance (2004-2006)
Dance Department, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.
World Dance, Dance and Pluralism, Dance as Art, Dance and Human Society
Lead Instructor, Adjunct Professor in Dance and Communication (2001-04)
Fine Arts Department, Communications in Technology Bay Path College, Longmeadow, MA.
Dance Composition, Dance History, Intercultural Communication, Digital Video
INVITED PERFORMANCES, PUBLICATIONS
(2014). Headline. Movement, Contact, Social Justice: A Dialogue in the Service of Expressive Arts Therapies. The Southern California Chapter of the North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA). Venice, CA.
(2012) Opening Event Bodies of Water. Downstream: Reimagining Water. Emily Carr University: Vancouver, Canada (Choreographer, Opening Event).
(2011) “Fragments and Possibilities: Choreographing an Intervention in Dance History,” in Studies of Embodiment and Transformation Through Dance, Literature, Music, and Philosophy.” Powerful Visions Lecture Series. The Huntington, CA.
(2008) “Modern Dance, Negro Dance.” Book review in Dance Chronicle.
(April, 2007—Artist in Residence). “Sand and Bone: ‘World Dance,’ Choreography, and Pedagogy,” Art, Gender, and Activism. Fisher Center Lecture Series. Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY.
(May, 1999) Keynote "Shanks" Domain Seminar for Social Justice, Ottawa, Canada (Performance and Lecture).
PUBLICATIONS (PEER REVIEWED)
PUBLICATIONS WITH MULTIPLE AUTHORS (PEER-REVIEWED, SELECTED)
Meglin, Joellen, Greenbaum, Matthew, Kim, Sue-In, Jae, Hwan-Jung, Jeong, Ok-Hee, and Odhiambo, Seónagh (November, 2005). “Music of the Body: Modern Minuets and Passepieds Far from Passé,” pp. 125-141 in Sound Moves: An International Confrerence on Music and Dance Proceedings. http://www.roehampton.ac.uk/soundmoves London, U.K.: Roehampton University.
PRESENTATIONS OF RESEARCH (PEER-REVIEWED)
Kummer, Seónagh (2019). "Somatic Body Mapping: Choreographing at the Intersection of Multiple Oppressions" at The Creative Process: Choreography, Choice Making and Communication. National Dance Education Organization, Miami, Florida.
Kummer, Seónagh (2019). "Dances of Protest: Connecting Awareness through a Somatic Process," Emerging Pathways Within Somatic Movement and Dance Education. International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association with National Dance Education Organization. Gibney Studios, NYC.
Kummer, Seónagh and Nelson, Vaneska (2018). "Embodied Research Voices: A Model for Teaching Somatic Dance Research" in Connections, Knowledge, and Leadership: A New Era in Dance Education. National Dance Education Organization. (poster)
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2016). “Digging the Presence of African Women Dancers,” in Contemporary Ethnography Across the Disciplines. University of Capetown, South Africa.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2016). “Choreography of Memory: Postwar Avant-Garde Japanese Dance in Intercultural Dialogue.” Honolulu, Hawaii: Japanese Studies Association.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2016). “Barefoot Dancers of the Early Twentieth Century: Digging the Presence of African Women in Nyanza Province, 1900-1940” in College of Arts and Letters Symposium at the Huntington Library. San Marino, CA.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2015). “Engaging Pedagogy: Choreography as an Approach to World Performance” 2015 Hawaii University International Conferences on Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Education. (Declined)
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2014). “Body of Theory: Choreographing an Approach to Dance History” in Writing/Dancing, Society of Dance History Scholars, Iowa City, Iowa.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2013). “Playing the Blues: Resonance and Connection through Critical Dance Pedagogy,” in World Dance Alliance Festival—Evolve and Involve: Dance as a Moving Question. The Scotiabank Dance Centre: Vancouver, Canada.
Odhiambo, Seónagh with Paris, Anna (2013). "Partnering in Choreography" Barcelona International Dance Exchange. Barcelona, Spain.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2012). “Bodies of Water,” Opening Lecture in Downstream: Reimagining Water. Emily Carr University: Vancouver, Canada.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2011). “Dancing Water: Healing the LA River through Dance,” Society of Dance History Scholars. Toronto, ON.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2011). “Fragments and Possibilities: Choreographing an Intervention in Dance History,” in Studies of Embodiment and Transformation Through Dance, Literature, Music, and Philosophy.” Powerful Visions Lecture Series. The Huntington, Pasadena, CA.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2010). “Choreography and Liberation Theatre in Critical Dialogue,” in Hybrid Lives of Professional Teaching Artists in Dance and Theatre: Questions of Power in Performance, Teaching & Community Work. Congress of Research in Dance/American Society for Theatre Research. November 2010, Seattle, WA.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2010). “Dancing in Time: Choreographic Process as a Genealogy of History.” World Dance Alliance—Global Dance Event, New York, NY.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2009). “Choreography as Engaged Pedagogy: The Embodiment of Fractured Coalitions.” Topographies: Sites, Bodies, Technologies. Society of Dance History Scholars. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2008). “Modern Dance, Negro Dance.” Book review in Dance Chronicle.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2008). “African Women’s Dance History in the 1930s: Cultural Memory in Conversation.” Society of Dance History Scholars. Syracuse, NY: Syra U.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2007). “Educating the Student Body: Somatic Processes in Cultural Studies.” Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities. Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2006). “Une Idée Fixe?: Culture and Choreographic Practice.” Continuing Dance Culture Dialogues: Southwest Borders and Beyond. Annual Conference, Congress of Research in Dance, Arizona State University: Tempe, Arizona.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2006). “Dancing Embrace: A Transnational Choreography.” International Conference on the Arts in Society. Edinburgh, U.K.: University of Edinburgh.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2006). “Dances in the Stories I tell: A Transnational Approach to Dance Studies” World Dance Assembly. Toronto, Canada: York University.
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2005). “Dances Embrace and Theories Talk: A Conversation Between two Aesthetics, Doris Humphrey and Kenya Luo Dance,” Dance and Human Rights. Annual Conference, Congress of Research in Dance. Montréal, Canada: UQAM.
CHOREOGRAPHY/PERFORMANCES (PEER-REVIEWED, SELECTED)
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2013). “Canto,” Residencia Artistica, Alanis de Sevilla, Spain. (Choreographer and Artistic Director; International Peer Reviewed Competition)
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2013). Exit from the Blue Room. Mainstage in World Dance Alliance Festival— Evolve and Involve: Dance as a Moving Question. The Scotiabank Dance Centre: Vancouver, Canada (Choreographer, International Peer Reviewed Festival).
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2012). “Bodies of Water,” in Downstream: Reimagining Water. Emily Carr University: Vancouver, Canada. (Choreographer)
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2011-2012). Artist-in-Residence, The Art of Engagement Network. (Choreographer)
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2011). “Chiarascuro,” Society of Dance History Scholars. Toronto, ON. (Choreographer, International Peer Reviewed Conference).
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2010). “Healing Water,” Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada. June 20, 2010. (Choreographer and Artistic Director, Peer-Reviewed Grant).
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2009). “Bitten.” in Topographies: Sites, Bodies, Technologies. Society of Dance History Scholars. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University (Choreographer, International Peer Reviewed Conference).
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2007). “Sand and Bone” Faculty Dance Concert. Geneva, NY: Hobart and William Smith Colleges (Choreographer in Residence, International Fellowship).
SERVICE TO THE PROFESSION
Editorial and Review Board Membership
(2015-present). International Advisory and Editorial Board, Dance, Movement, and Spiritualities (Academic Journal). London: Intellect.
(2014-2015) TEAL Dance Expert. Member of a task group that will develop arts education modules for K-6 teacher education.
(2013) World Dance Alliance, Peer Reviewer of both creative and scholarly submissions for international festival and conference.
PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
I maintain membership at the following four premiere professional organizations in my field: Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS), Congress of Research in Dance (CORD), World Dance Alliance (WDA), and National Dance Education Organization (NDEO).
SERVICE TO UNIVERSITY
Service Positions: Student Service
University Student Union Board--(Fall 2012-Spring 2015) Worked with student government to recommend policy related to student activities and student services; Advises the administration regarding the effect of the University's operations and policies on students
Primary Graduate Advisor (Fall 2012-Spring 2015)
Faculty Advisor, Clubs (Fall 2009-present) Dancing Calstatela Club (Fall 2014-Spring 2017) Salsa Club (Fall 2012-) Eccentric (2010-2013), United Dance Troupe (2010- 2011); Engaged Buddhist Club (Fall 2013-Spring 2015)
IRA Grant Writer for Dance Area (2012-present)
Service Positions: University Curriculum, Policy and Applicant Review
Department, University, and College Curriculum Committees
Educational Policy Committee--University-Wide Curriculum Committee (Spring 2014-Spring 2015) Recommends policy on all instructional issues; Establishes a process for the continuous review and evaluation of instructional programs. Oversaw Quarter to Semester Conversion.
ISAC-College Curriculum Committee (Fall 2009-2015, Fall 2017-Spring 2018)
*Committee Chair Fall 2009-Spring 2013; Fall 2017-Spring 2018
Quarter to Semester Conversion—Committee Service, Course Proposals and Modifications
ISAC-Theatre and Dance Curriculum Committee (Fall 2010-Present)
Applicant Review, Policies and Procedures:
MFA in Television, Theatre, and Film Acting Applicant Review Committee Chair (Fall 2012- 2015)
Adjunct Review Committee (Department) Fall 2012-Spring 2017
University Student Union Board, Personnel Committee (Win 2014-Fall 2014)
Policy and Procedures (Fall 2013-Spring 2015, Committee Chair) Scholarship Review (Fall 2009-Fall 2013)
Working Group Committees for Music, Theatre and Dance Merger