Research Fellow 2020-2021: Lindsay Winters

Lindsay Winters is a trained social worker and a ballet dancer. She graduated from University of California, Davis, with a BA in Anthropology on the Dean’s List, a MA in English from Sonoma State University, and received her MSW from San Diego State University. She trained in Ballet with the Coast Ballet Academy and later the Davis Arts Center, and explored Hip Hop, Contemporary, and Grooves dance styles as well. She is certified in studying social emotional arts, worked with community agencies for LGBT refugee and asylum seeking clients, and provided intensive case management services to the homeless. She currently works with Education, Training, and Research (ETR) Associates as a research assistant where she first authored a comprehensive literature review for a CDC funded state program “Every Woman Counts’ and continues working on reducing pregnancy and STD infections in homeless youth. 

She is thrilled to continue her passion of blending the arts with her clinical work to transform lives around her. 

How do Traditional Arts and Medicine combine?

In healthcare, we often talk about the importance of access in promoting and helping people maintain service use. Dancing in the world of Covid-19 and social isolation presents unique challenges for dancers who are now deprived of that most fundamental necessity of dance: space.

What happens then when access to large spaces (the studio, the stage, the dance club, public community areas) and other bodies is denied? What are the implications for communication and community building when dancers can no longer respond to others’ bodies in an immediate and dynamic way?

Trained to use their bodies to communicate, dancers seem uniquely positioned to feel and discuss the effects of physical distancing. Those whose first language may not be dance/movement can understand, feel now, in a sensorial, visceral way, the negative impacts of prolonged physical distancing, the absence of touch. In a world suddenly emptied of bodies, I believe it is dancers’ specific body knowledge that may forge new ways of thinking about movement, communication, community, and wellness.

–Lindsay Winters

Research Project: 

Re-imagining Dance in Isolation: Interviews with San Diego Dancers Exploring Digital Access and Equity

I am interested in how dancers are coping with and re-imagining what dance can be in isolation. My research will not only address the availability, even ubiquity of online classes, but dancers’ re-purposing of space to dance, the sensations and implications of dancing alone, and how the limitations and possibilities of isolation have reshaped how dance students, teachers, professional and recreational dancers think about their moving body and its ability to communicate, and in particular, what is being communicated and to whom? In the same way that COVID-19 has made health disparities undeniably and painfully clear, so too has it unmasked the reality of digital inequity. What then does dance’s accessibility look like for those who, pre-pandemic, may not have had the economic means to participate in dance groups, and who may now struggle to find ways to connect digitally? To what extent has COVID-19 mediated or complicated access to movement and its meaning for these dancers?

Presented at Health Humanities Consortium at Penn State, 2021, Oral Presentation