How do dancers, choreographies, and movement practices travel from one place to another, and what does it take to get them there? How can data analysis help dance scholars understand phenomena that facilitate the movement of movement--phenomena such as economic support, technological infrastructures, and touring networks? Movement on the Move is a collaborative research initiative by Harmony Bench (The Ohio State University) and Kate Elswit (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London) that employs data analysis to examine the conditions under which dance circulates. We advance historical research in dance studies and beyond by focusing on what occurs both onstage and offstage in cultural transmission.

Principal Investigators

Harmony Bench is Associate Professor in the Department of Dance at The Ohio State University, where she is also affiliated faculty with Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Translational Data Analytics. Her research revolves around encounters between bodies and machine or media technologies. She particularly attends to how human bodies and technological devices are imagined in relation to each other, and how technologies facilitate the circulation and transmission of movements, gestures, and even bodily schema. Her research asks how people leverage the various technologies at their disposal for cultural expression, political control, and social action. Her writing has appeared in numerous edited collections, including the Oxford Handbook of Dance and the Popular Screen, Choreographies of 21st Century War, and Dance on Its Own Terms as well as Dance Research Journal, The International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, Participations, and Performance Matters, among others. Her book Dance as Common: Movement as Belonging in Digital Cultures is in contract with the University of Minnesota Press.

Kate Elswit is an academic and dancer whose research on performing bodies combines dance history, performance studies theory, cultural studies, experimental practice, and technology. She is author of Watching Weimar Dance (Oxford University Press 2014), about the strange things people claimed to see while watching dances in and from the Weimar Republic, which won both the Oscar G. Brockett Book Prize for Dance Research and honorable mention for the Callaway Prize. Her new book is about the interdependence of Theatre & Dance (Palgrave 2018). Further awards and prizes include a postdoctoral Mellon fellowship at Stanford University, the Lilian Karina Research Grant in Dance and Politics, the Gertrude Lippincott Award, and the Biennial Sally Banes Publication Prize. Together with Harmony Bench, her digital work has been funded by a Battelle Engineering, Technology, and Human Affairs (BETHA) Endowment Grant through The Ohio State University, and most recently a project grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). She is Reader in Theatre and Performance at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, and also works as a choreographer, dramaturg, and curator.

Consultants and Research Assistants


  • Nena Couch
    Professor and Head
    Thompson Library Special Collections, The Ohio State University
  • Karen Eliot
    Professor, Dance
    The Ohio State University
  • Michael Hardesty
    Director of Application Development
    ASC Technology, The Ohio State University
  • Mike Migurski
    Previously Code for America, Mapzen, Stamen
  • Sara Murphy
    Associate Professor
    Thompson Library Research and Education, The Ohio State University
  • Dustin Perzanowski
    Web Developer
    ASC Technology, The Ohio State University
  • Amanda Rinehart
    Assistant Professor, Data Management Librarian
    Thompson Library Research and Education, The Ohio State University
  • Michael Seufer
    Creative / UI Lead
    ASC Technology, The Ohio State University
  • Eric Andrew Sherman

Research Assistants

(Years active with project)

  • Kat Sprudzs (2017-18)
  • Julia Nichols (2017)
  • Baylie McRae (2017-2018)
  • Gabriella Wiltz (2017)
  • Kylee C. Smith (2016-17)
  • Sheila Zeng (2016)
  • L. Archer Porter (2016)
  • Dana Podell (2016)
  • Katherine Greer (2015-16)
  • Lucy Kerr (2015)
  • Elisa Davis (2015)
  • Shannon Drake (2014-15)
  • Christine Ghinder (2014-15)
  • Emily Liptow (2014-15)


The Ohio State University

Thanks to the Following Archives

Ballet Russes
Museum of Performance and Design
National Library of Australia