General Submission Guidelines for Paper & Presentation Proposals

The program committee for annual conferences welcomes proposals for presentations in several formats, outlined below. Alternative formats may also be proposed. 

Hubs: Hubs are meant to gather individuals around stated conference themes. (Read about the 2024 Hubs HERE.) Groups are curated through submission, meet on all 3 days of the conference, and are open to conference attendees as audience members. Applicants apply individually to participate in a Hub using the submission portal. Hubs will have facilitators. Hub participation counts towards a person's singular conference presentation.  Formats might include:

  • Circulating work before the start of the conference
  • Paper presentations
  • Embodied presentations
  • Lecture-performances
  • Workshops
  • Video presentations
  • Dedicating 20 mins per presenter over the course of the 3 days to be used however each
    presenter chooses
  • Collaborating and creating a performance, paper, manifesto, video, etc. that speaks to all of the group's work
  • Any other format.

Gatherings: Gatherings run 90 minutes. This format takes a dialogical approach to collective thinking about tools and strategies in dance studies (for the 2020 conference, particularly those related to dance activism). We welcome proposals from teams of at least five facilitators who will lead discussions with session attendees. Topics for 2020, for example, might include "Syllabi for Dance Activism in the 21st Century," "Strategies for Decolonizing Dance Performances," or "Using Dance to Protest Climate Change." One member of the Gatherings group must submit the proposal and submission form, but the names of all members of the Gatherings group must be listed on the submission form. Note: this format replaces DSA's previous "roundtable" format.

Individual Papers: Paper presentations must be based on unpublished research or interpretation and must be designed for oral delivery within 20 minutes, including use of audiovisual aids. Papers running eight double-spaced pages are ideal. The programming committee will arrange individual paper submission into panels of three with a moderator. 

Panels: Panels are 90 minutes in length and should consist of three 20-minute papers or occasionally four 15-minute papers on a related topic and 30 minutes for questions/answers. We also welcome panels that take a delivery response format, in which formal respondents comment on one or two presenters' work. Panel proposals should consist of one document that contains a 300-word summary of the larger panel topic and individual paper proposals as outlined above for each presenter. The title of the proposed panel and the panelists' names should be included in the appropriate fields of the submission form only. Only one member of the panel needs to submit the panel proposal. Proposed panels will not be assigned a moderator. If panels would like a moderator, they may include their own moderator with their proposal if they wish. 

Lecture-Demonstrations: Lecture-Demonstrations may run either 45 or 90 minutes, and should be presentations where spoken and performative aspects are in dialogue (as commentary, illustration, disruption, or otherwise). Proposals should articulate: why the presentation best fits within the lec-dem format; the time requirements and studio/space requirements (specifically whether a studio space is necessary); and the names of all presenters (include performers or demonstration assistants).  If two or more applicants are involved, one person may submit the proposal.

Workshops: Movement workshops may run either 45 or 90 minutes. If two or more applicants are involved, one person may submit the proposal but the names of all presenters (including performers or demonstration assistants) must be listed on the submission form. On the submission form clearly indicate the type of space required (whether the workshop can be held within a conference room or whether a dance/studio space is required) and the recommended attire for participants.  

Dance Works and Screendances: Dance works and screendances should run no more than 12 minutes. Proposals should include a link to a trailer, full work (preferable), or excerpt of the work to be shown. The proposal abstract should articulate the work's research inquiry. Presenters will be grouped into performance panels or screendance showings, depending on the space available at the conference site, and the research inquiry being posed. There will be time for a facilitated Q&A with all of the presenters/performers at the end of the session. It should be noted that there are no submission fees, screening fees, or other fees or revenue for the presentation of dance works or screendances. There is no technical support for dance works. 

FORMAT: All Proposals must include the title of the presentation and an abstract of no more than 250 words that describes the topic, approach, sources and format of your presentation, as well as keywords. Proposals will be anonymously reviewed and therefore names and affiliations of presenters should be omitted from the proposal and indicated only on the online submission form. 


  • Membership Requirement: Only DSA members in good standing are eligible to present at conferences.  Potential presenters may submit a proposal as a non-member, but must be a member of DSA in order to submit a Presenter Acceptance Form. For membership information, visit the Join Us section of our website.
  • Participation Limits: A potential delegate's name may be included on only one proposal submitted to the conference portal, whether as a presenter (including on Gatherings, Lightning session, or Hub) or as moderator. Though some exceptions apply, these are initiated by the program committee (i.e., if invited by the program committee after a panel has been accepted, a delegate may also serve as a moderator on someone else's panel.) A delegate presenting their own work may also serve on an awards panel honoring another scholar.  A delegate presenting their own work may also serve as their Working Group's "Lightning Round" speaker. 
  • Graduate & Conference Awards: Graduate students interested in having submissions considered for the Selma Jeanne Cohen Award, or in applying for a Graduate Student Travel Award, can submit as a part of conference submissions.  Individuals interested in submitting for a Conference Fellowship for Contingent Faculty/Independent Scholars, can submit as a part of conference submissions. Consult the Awards page for more information.
  • Onsite Participation: The 2024 Conference will be a live event, after three virtual symposia throughout 2023.  This decision was made so that DSA might use finanicial and administrative resources to support translation between English, Spanish, and Portuguese, as well as respond to other local needs. If you want to support a hybrid in-person/virtual event during the 2024 conference, you must have a collaborator onsite to facilitate Zooming in - as DSA does have the logistical or administrative resources to do this across the organization. DSA will provide Wi-Fi and projectors, so please do let the conference team know what you need onsite to make your event possible. 

Note about DSA Working Groups: At each conference, ongoing DSA Working Groups meet immediately before the conference starts to discuss a particular topic. Currently, there are working groups in: Dance and Music; Dance and Technology; Dance History Teachers; Dancing the Long Nineteenth Century; Early Dance; Latin American, Latinx, and Caribbean Dance Studies; PoP Moves: Popular Dance Research; Practice as Research; Iranian Dance Studies; Asian and Asian Diaspora Dance Studies; cuir/quare/queer dance; and Students . For additional information about WG requirements, visit our website HERE.

NOTE Lighting Sessions are not being accepted in 2024 for scheduling purposes. 

Lightning Sessions: Lightning sessions run 60 minutes, can take a variety of formats, and should include at least three presenters and a moderator/respondent. Formats might include: 

  • Multiple related Ignite or PechaKucha presentations, followed by discussion.
  • Long Table conversations
  • Discussion Groups, for which applicants propose a one-time open discussion that brings participants together to engage with materials (scholarly papers, published books, dance practices or productions) read and/or viewed prior to the conference. 

To propose a lightning session, the organizer should submit a title, an abstract, an explanation of the structure of the session, and names of all participants.