Seónagh Kummer, Ph.D. is a freelance choreographer and Associate Professor of dance with a rich international background in dance education. Originally from Vancouver where she began training and performing as a dancer, Seónagh’s Master’s degree at UBC explored the uses of Dance and Theatre to teach cultural issues. When she moved to the East Coast Seónagh’s love of contemporary dance deepened as she learned its history and performed movement of master choreographers in New York City such as Jennifer Mueller and Paul Taylor. As a dancer, Seónagh performed for a brief period at festivals and Art House performances on the East Coast, dancing in works of choreographers such as Jim May, Hayley-Michelle Dance, and staged works of other US-based artists. Seónagh taught technique, choreography and dance history, then received her Ph.D. in Dance at Temple University as the Fisher Center Fellow in Gender, Arts and Activism.
Seónagh explores environmental concerns, human relationships or history through somatic research, and integrates these themes into her work. She developed a methodology of movement invention and Somatic Body Mapping techniques influenced by indigenous healers in North America, Africa and Hawaii. Seónagh lived internationally and tours by choreographing pieces for groups and solos under the moniker Asava Dance, and with independent dance artists. She blurs the line between what is dance and what is pedestrian by using habitual language of the human body against rhythm and form. Seónagh is excited to work with both professional and community artists, and her work addresses a broad range of topics such as the historical displacement of Micronesian people due to nuclear testing, effects of unemployment, and water scarcity in a global economy. She often generates movement through community engagement about topics, and collaborates with artists to create works for the stage. Her work is project based and she enjoys dancing and choreographing with an array of different people. While her work is visual and physical, she also mirrors her values and uses dance as a form of activism.
Seónagh has created and presented dance works, and has delivered workshops or dance talks, at venues such as Casa de Las Artes (Seville, Spain), Barcelona International Dance Exchange (B.I.D.E., Barcelona), The Scotiabank Dance Centre (Vancouver), The Roundhouse (Vancouver), Emily Carr University (Vancouver), Roehampton University (London), University of Edinburgh (Scotland), the University of Capetown (South Africa), York University (Toronto), The Luckman Theatre (Los Angeles), A Room to Create A.R.C. (Pasadena, CA), and presents her research at global and national organizations like World Dance Alliance, the Dance Studies Association, and the National Dance Education Organization. Seónagh headlined “The Fisher Center Series” as a Fellow and Artist-in-Residence (Geneva, NY), and has produced and organized multiple dance concerts with professionals and university dance students. Seónagh’s work has been supported by The Fisher Center Fellowship, the Canada Council, and the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation. She is a member of the International Dance Council at UNESCO, and publishes articles and chapters in the areas of dance somatics, world dance history, and dance education. She works on the editorial board of the journal, Dance, Somatics, and Spiritualities. Seónagh is currently working on a new work with dancers from Spain and Los Angeles about the idea of female bodies and dialogues that surround them. She will present this at a concert for the non-profit dance organization, Dharma in Motion, which she is launching this year with her partners.
Ph.D., Temple University, Dance (2009).
Honours: Fisher Center Fellow in Gender, Arts and Activism
Dissertation: A Conversation with Dance History: Movement and Meaning in the Cultural Body
M.A., University of British Columbia, Curriculum and Instruction (2000).
Honours: University Graduate Fellow
Master’s Thesis: Legacy of Influence: African Canadian Stories in a Multicultural Landscape
B.A., University of British Columbia (1995).
Honours Thesis: Indigenous Canadian Histories and the Oral Tradition: Women speaking, dancing, singing.
AWARDS AND HONOURS (Selected International)
Japan Studies Institute Fellowship (2015)
Seed Grant for Research (2015)
Creative Leave (2013)
Residencia Artistica Internacional, Alanis, Seville. (2013)
Mentoring Grant, (2012)
Art of Engagement Network, Artist-in-Residence. (2011-12)
Canada Council for the Arts, National 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)
University Graduate Fellow (1999-2000)
Japan Studies Institute Fellowship (2015)
Month long residency at UCSD. A select group of educators were selected for a summer residency in order to research about increasing Japanese culture in the curricula.
Residencia Artistica Internacional (2013)
Concejal de Cultura, Ayuntamiento de Alanis, Seville.
Brought international dancers and musicians together from several European countries, created a dance performance to live music with internationally renowned composer Bennie Maupin.
Artist-in-Residence (2011-12), Art of Engagement Network
Based on Galiano Island, BC, the Art of Engagement network provided a year-long artist residencies.
Fisher Center Pre-doctoral Fellow (2006-2007)
Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva NY.
Year-long artist residency. Developed and taught two classes, created a dance performance, developed a lecture/performance series in cooperation with a committee, and hosted artists from around the world.
TEACHING AND ADMINISTRATION
Associate Professor of Dance (2009-)
Department of Theatre and Dance, California State University, Los Angeles, CA.
Dance Theory and Somatics, Choreography, Technique, Dance History, World Dance
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
Adjunct Professor (2002-04)
Department of Humanities, Holyoke Community College, Holyoke, MA.
English Composition, Literature
Adjunct Professor (2001-02)
Department of Humanities, Springfield College, Springfield, MA.
English Composition, Literature
INVITED LECTURES, RESIDENCIES, PERFORMANCES, PUBLICATIONS
Odhiambo, Seónagh (2016). “Barefoot Dancers of the Early Twentieth Century: African Women and Dance History” in College of Arts and Letters Symposium at the Huntington Library. San Marino, CA.
(2014). 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).
(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.
PAPER PRESENTATIONS (PEER-REVIEWED)
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” 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 (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 (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 AND 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. (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 Board Membership
(2015-). 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
Seónagh presents her research at global and national organizations like World Dance Alliance, the Dance Studies Association, and the National Dance Education Organization.
SERVICE TO UNIVERSITY
University Service Positions
Educational Policy Committee (Winter 2014-June 2015) Institutional Review Board (Fall 2013-Win 2015) University Student Union Board (Spring 2012-June 2015)
University Student Union Board, Personnel Committee (Win 2014-Fall 2014) Faculty Advisor, Engaged Buddhist Club (Fall 2013-)
Fall Faculty Day, Workshop Leader (Fall 2011)
College Service Positions
ISAC College Curriculum Committee Chair (Fall 2009-Fall 2013)
Department Service Positions
Primary Graduate Advisor (Fall 2012-Fall 2017)
Faculty Advisor, Dance Clubs (Fall 2009-present)
IRA Grant Writer for Dance Area (2012-present)
Committee Service in Music Theatre and Dance, Theatre Arts and Dance:
Department Curriculum Committees
Quarter to Semester Conversion—Course Proposals and Modifications for Dance Graduate MA in Theatre Arts, Committee Chair (Fall 2009-Present, Committee Chair) ISAC-Theatre and Dance Curriculum Committee Chair (Fall 2009-present
ISAC-Music, Theatre and Dance Curriculum Committee (Fall 2013-present)
MFA in Television, Theatre, and Film Acting Applicant Review Committee Chair (Fall 2012- 2015)
Adjunct Review Committee (Fall 2012-Present)
Policy and Procedures (Fall 2013-Present, Committee Chair) Scholarship Review (Fall 2009-Fall 2013)
Working Group Committees for Music, Theatre and Dance Merger