I am a contemporary dancer and dance scholar based in Chicago. My research focuses on contemporary dance in Africa, its development through transnational structures and choreographers' subversion of the colonial gaze.
Amy Swanson received her BFA in dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she graduated with high honors. While at the University of Illinois, Swanson studied modern dance, composition, improvisation, contact improvisation, and West African dance with Linda Lehovec, Kirstie Simson, Tere O’Connor, Cynthia Oliver, Rebecca Nettl-Fiol, Erika Randall, and Djibril Camara. She performed in works by Robert Wood, Philip Johnston, Linda Lehovec, Rebecca Nettl-Fiol, Kirstie Simson and Tere O’Connor. In April, 2008, she presented a site-specific piece titled Cavernous Dwelling. Following graduation, Swanson continued studying West African dance with Djibril Camara and performed with his group Ballet Allah Tanta throughout Champaign and Urbana. In October, 2009, Swanson performed in Mahoment Aquifer Project choreographed by Jennifer Monson of iLAND Art throughout Urbana, Champaign and surrounding towns. In January, 2010, Swanson traveled to Dakar, Senegal in order to further study West African dance forms and to research contemporary dance in West Africa. While there, she studied traditional West African dance with Abdoulaye Keita Soumah and Joe Coly. She collaborated and performed with the contemporary group Afreekanam in June, 2010 at the Centre Culturel Français and the British Council. From September to October, 2010, Swanson participated in Andréya Ouamba’s Ateliers Expériences et Corps (AEx-Corps) workshop where she worked with Ouamba, Roberto Torres (Spain), Esther Baker-Tarpaga (United States) and Oliver Tarpaga (Burkina Faso/United States). Following AEx-Corps, Swanson participed in dCLIC Danse, a workshop focused in numeric dance, culminating with a performance at the Centre Culturel Français. In March and April, 2011, Swanson performed in Laura Chiaramonte’s SHIFT at venues in Chicago, IL. Swanson presented a self-choreographed solo, Nostalgie, as part of the Bloom concert series hosted by CCBDance Project in Chicago in May, 2011. In September of the same year, Swanson performed in an evening-length piece, Hub and Spoke with The Dance Team as part of the Chicago Fringe Festival. Swanson returned to Dakar to participate in the 2011 session of AEx-Corps from November to December, 2011, where she worked with Ouamba, Fatou Cissé (Senegal), Keith Hennessy (United States), and Company Mar Gomez (Spain). From March-April, 2012, Swanson participated in the AEx-Corps creative residency workshop as a dancer in Momar Ndiaye’s Me & My Space.