Fisher Center: Dance, Disability and Aesthetics – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Fisher Center: Dance, Disability and Aesthetics

Dancer and award-winning choreographer Alice Sheppard joins the Fisher Center for the Study of Gender and Justice’s 2018-19 speaker series “On the Move” on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

In her dance performance and artist talk, “Unrolling Disability Culture and Aesthetics: A Meditation on Intersectional Disability in Dance,” Sheppard invites audiences to join her in a consideration of race, gender, disability, dance and aesthetics. As she performs some of her solo work, Sheppard will meditate on her artistic practice and lead a discussion on a disability arts manifesto.

Beginning at 7 p.m. in the Deming Theatre at the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts, the lecture and performance will be followed by a question and answer session with the audience.

Sheppard studied ballet and modern dance with Kitty Lunn and made her debut with Infinity Dance Theater. Sheppard joined AXIS Dance Company, an Oakland-based company where she toured nationally and taught in the company’s education and outreach programs. Since becoming an independent artist, she has danced in projects with Ballet Cymru, GDance and Marc Brew Company in the United Kingdom and Full Radius Dance, Marjani Forté, MBDance, Infinity Dance Theater and Steve Paxton in the United States.

An award-winning choreographer, Sheppard creates movement that challenges conventional understandings of disabled and dancing bodies. Engaging with disability arts, culture and history, her commissioned work attends to the complex intersections of disability, gender and race. She is the founder and artistic lead for Kinetic Light, a project based collaborative working at the intersections of architecture, dance, design, identity and technology to show how mobility — literal, physical and conceptual — is fundamental to participation in civic life.

Sponsored by the Fisher Center, the HWS Dance and Education Departments, and the Arts Experience Festival, the event is free and open to the public. A descriptor and an ASL interpreter are available upon request. Please contact Professor of Dance Cadence Whittier at 

The Fisher Center celebrates its 20th anniversary throughout the 2018-19 academic year with the theme “On the Move,” hosting artists, scholars, authors and activists to examine contemporary concerns surrounding mobility, movements and migration. In October, keynote speaker Angela Davis addressed themes for the future of feminism.

Endowed with a $1 million gift from Emily and the late Richard Fisher, whose son Alexander graduated from Hobart College in 1993, the Fisher Center was inaugurated in October 1998 with an event titled “Engendering the Future: Educating Women, Educating Men, Educating Women and Men,” featuring noted experts Carol Gilligan, renowned feminist, psychologist and professor; and Michael Kimmel, author and editor of many influential books on the topic of masculinity.

Since then, the Fisher Center has hosted nearly a dozen events each year, bringing together faculty, students and experts in gender-related fields in the arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences to foster mutual understanding and social justice in contemporary society. Reflecting the intersection of the Colleges’ coordinate history and trends in the study of gender throughout academe, the Fisher Center builds upon the Colleges’ long-held commitment to interdisciplinary liberal arts education.