Backspace: A Special Issue on Dance Studies


  • Alana Gerecke York University
  • Mary Fogarty Woehrel York University


In this editorial introduction, Alana Gerecke and Mary Fogarty Woehrel situate the intervention enacted by this special issue on dance studies. The issue editors use the framing kinesthetic concept of backspace to engage with questions of history, privilege, and visibility. This approach opens toward an investigation of that which is not, perhaps, immediately evident—gaps in Canadian performance and dance histories. With an emphasis on the back, Gerecke and Fogarty Woehrel describe the range of contributions in the issue, identifying the potential of dance studies to speak beyond itself, carving out back-routes into discussions about belonging, exclusion, and social values.

Author Biographies

Alana Gerecke, York University

Alana Gerecke is a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Theatre at York University and a settler dance artist. Her academic and artistic research practices—including a recent co-edited issue of Canadian Theatre Review and a book project, Moving Publics (under contract with MQUP)—explore the social and spatial lives of subtle and virtuosic choreographies in public spaces.

Mary Fogarty Woehrel, York University

Mary Fogarty Woehrel is the Graduate Program Director in Dance Studies (MA/PhD) and Associate Professor of Dance at York University, Toronto, Canada.She has written about music, film and dance and is most well-known for her ethnographic research about international breaking scenes that appears under the name Mary Fogarty. Her most recent publication is "Why are Breaking Battles Judged?" in The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Competition and her work can also be found in The Oxford Handbook of Dance and the Popular ScreenThe Routledge Reader on the Sociology of MusicContinuumMusic and Arts in Action, and Ageing and Youth Cultures: Music, Style and Identity, among other publications.