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Jen Atkins

Published April 20, 2015

School of Dance

Associate 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 2017 Jules and Frances Landry Award. This 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: Walking Raddy: The Baby Dolls of New Orleans (UPM 2018), Louisiana History, and the Journal of American Culture. In addition to New Orleans dance practices and dance in popular culture, Jen also focuses on research that explores innovations in dance studies pedagogy, especially related to the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC).


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

Select Scholarly & Creative Works

-New Orleans Carnival Balls: The Secret Side of Mardi Gras, 1870-1920 (LSU Press, 2017).
-Perspectives on American Dance: The Twentieth Century (University Press of FL, 2018), Co-Edited with Sally Sommer and Tricia Young.
-Perspectives on American Dance: The New Millennium (University Press of FL, 2018), Co-Edited with Sally Sommer and Tricia Young.

Teaching Areas

Dance Studies, MANCC Experience, GFS.

Research Areas

American social and popular dance

Dance in the Global Gulf (Gulf South, Mexico, and Cuba), especially New Orleans

Dance and its intersections with gender, race, and class
Dance studies pedagogy

Additional Scholarly/Creative Works, Publications & Awards

The Jules and Frances Landry Award (for New Orleans Carnival Balls: The Secret Side of Mardi Gras), 2017.

University Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2012-2013

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

“‘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.

“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-authored with Tricia Young, N. M. Mestre, C. G. Morte, & P. Torres.

“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. Co-authored with D. Milovanovic.

Review of New Orleans Carnival Krewes: The History Spirit and Secrets of Mardi Gras. By Rosary O’Neill. (Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2014) in Louisiana History, Spring 2016, 231-233.