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Kent De Spain

KENT DE SPAIN is recognized for his work as both a dance/multimedia artist and a researcher. He received his B.A. in Dance (1980) and M.A. in Choreography (1986) from U.C.L.A., and his Ed.D. in Dance Studies from Temple University (1997). He has taught and toured throughout the United States and beyond, including performances at Jacob's Pillow and Judson Church, and has performed for a number of choreographers, including being a guest artist with the Brazilian modern dance company Grupo Tran Chan, Kei Takei and Moving Earth, Lower Left, and the dance/theater troupe Ausdruckstanz. He has been the recipient of several major awards, including the Pew Fellowship in the Arts for Choreography and an Established Choreographers Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He also received a Performance Fellowship from the Philadelphia Repertory Development Initiative that commissioned choreographer Ralph Lemon to create an original work, So this is the hero, for he and his partner Leslie Dworkin.

Most recently a Visiting Professor of Theatre and Dance at Oberlin College, De Spain has taught master classes and workshops in the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Asia, has been a Visiting Artist/Professor in Dance at the University of Texas at Austin, Columbia College, University of Georgia, Luther College, U.C.L.A., and the University of North Carolina - Greensboro, and has been on the dance faculty at Temple University and Bryn Mawr College.

De Spain is widely known as a researcher and master teacher of movement improvisation and contemporary choreographic practice. He has written a series of articles for Contact Quarterly examining the relationship between movement improvisation and recent scientific thought (Chaos Theory, Quantum Theory, Neuropsychology). He was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow guiding an improvisation ensemble at Ohio State University, his dissertation is still the most comprehensive academic study of improvisational process yet undertaken, and his essay, The Cutting Edge of Awareness: Reports From the Inside of Improvisation, appears in the book “Taken by Surprise.” His feature-length film on improvisation, A Moving Presence: Ruth Zaporah and Action Theater, is now available on DVD. He has presented his research on contemporary dance practice and theory at numerous international conferences and symposia, including CORD and SDHS, the “Uncommon Senses” Conference in Montreal, the “body/machine” congress in Toronto, and the Multimedia Technologies and Applications conference in Irvine, California. De Spain has also written extensively on the interface between dance and technology, and his articles, Dance and Technology: A Pas de Deux for Posthumans and Come in and Make Yourself at Home: Colonization and the Body/Technology Interface, plus his numerous conference presentations have established him as an important voice in the discourse surrounding the critical and theoretical implications of the interface between the moving human body and technology.