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Jen Atkins

Jen AtkinsAssociate Professor
School of Dance
Curriculum Vitae (CV)


Jen Atkins teaches courses in dance studies—especially related to dance in the Americas and dance in popular culture—and Co-Chairs the Dance & Culture Area of the joint national conference of the American Culture and Popular Culture Associations. Her first book, Carnival Balls in New Orleans: The Secret Side of Mardi Gras, 1870-1920, published by LSU Press, received the 2018 Jules and Frances Landry Award. The Jules and Frances Landry Award is presented annually to the LSU Press book published during the year which, in the judgment of the Press, constitutes the most outstanding achievement in the field of southern studies. Her articles about New Orleans dance history and their relationship to gender, race, and class have appeared in: Contemporary Scholars and Artists Respond to the Baby Dolls of New Orleans (forthcoming, University Press of Mississippi), Louisiana History, and the Journal of American Culture. In addition to New Orleans dance practices and dance in popular culture, she also focuses on research that explores innovations in dance studies pedagogy, especially in joining liberal studies approaches with case studies from the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC), two pathways that enliven dance studies learning when connected in ever-expanding ways.


Bachelor of Arts in Dance, Huntington College
Master of Arts in Dance with a Major in American Dance Studies, Florida State University
Doctor of Philosophy in History, Florida State University

Teaching Areas

Dance Studies
American Dance Studies
Dance practices in the Global Gulf (Gulf South, Mexico, and Cuba)
MANCC Experience
Dance in popular culture

Research Areas

American social and popular dance
New Orleans dance
Dance and its intersections with gender, race, and class
Dance studies pedagogy

Select Scholarly & Creative Works

New Orleans Carnival Balls: The Secret Side of Mardi Gras, 1870-1920 (LSU Press, 2017).

The Jules and Frances Landry Award (for New Orleans Carnival Balls), 2018.

Co-Editor with S. Sommer and T. Young, Perspectives on American Dance: The Twentieth Century (Forthcoming, University Press of FL, 2018).

Co-Editor with S. Sommer and T. Young, Perspectives on American Dance: The New Millennium (Forthcoming, University Press of FL, 2018).

“From the Bamboula to the Baby Dolls: Improvisation, Agency, and African-American Dancing in New Orleans,” in Contemporary Scholars and Artists Respond to the Baby Dolls of New Orleans, edited by Kim Vaz-Deville (Forthcoming, University Press of Mississippi, 2018).

Additional Scholarly/Creative Works & Awards

University Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2012-2013

“‘Using the Bow and the Smile’: New Orleans Mardi Gras Balls, Grand Marches, and Krewe Court Femininity, 1870-1920,” Louisiana History 54:1 (2013): 5-46.

“Class Acts and Daredevils: Black Masculinity in Jazz Funeral Dancing,” Journal of American Culture 35:2 (2012): 166-180.

Co-author with Young, T., Mestre, N. M., Morte, C. G., & Torres, P., “Issues of Integration in European and Spanish Dance Curricula and in American Dance Curricula,” The International Journal of Learning 16:8 (2009): 405-420.

Co-author with D. Milovanovic, “La Meri,” in Susan Ware (Ed.), Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary, Completing the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2004), 363-364.