Kimerer LaMothe, PhD is an advocate for dance. As a philosopher and scholar of religion, author of five books and myriad articles, LaMothe investigates the values that undergird modern western culture’s perceptions and practices of dancing. As a dance artist, she creates opportunities for people to experience dance as generative of human knowledge. She communicates this message through a monthly blog at Psychology Today.
LaMothe earned her Masters in Christianity and Culture from Harvard Divinity School, and her doctorate in the Modern West from the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University, while also studying modern, ballet, Haitian, and Kathak dance. She wrote her dissertation on Martha Graham and phenomenologist, Gerardus van der Leeuw; gave birth to her first child, and upon graduating, was a visiting assistant professor of Religious Studies at Brown.
In 1997, LaMothe returned to Harvard as a Lecturer in the Modern West and the Director of the Undergraduate Program in the Comparative Study of Religion. In 2000-1, she received a fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study for her work in religion and dance. During that year, she completed her first book Between Dancing and Writing: The Practice of Religious Studies (Fordham 2004), and choreographed and performed her first solo dance concert, Genesis, while six months pregnant with her third child. In 2003-4, she received a second full year fellowship, as the 40th Anniversary Fellow in Religion and Art, this time from the Center for the Study of World Religions, also at Harvard. She wrote her second book, Nietzsche’s Dancers: Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, and the Revaluation of Christian Values (Palgrave 2006), and choreographed and performed her second solo dance concert, On Fire. Meanwhile, LaMothe and her partner, Geoffrey Gee, were nurturing a dream of finding a place where they could do their art in closer proximity to the natural world. In 2005, they moved to a retired dairy farm in the rolling hills of upstate New York. Here LaMothe, while continuing her dance practice, and giving birth to her fourth and fifth children at home, dedicated herself to writing three books that would establish the importance of dancing in relationship: to our bodily desires; to parents, partners, progeny, and to the natural world, respectively. Her third book, Why We Dance: A Philosophy of Bodily Becoming (Columbia 2015) draws upon current research from neuroscience to evolutionary biology, and anthropology to religious studies to offer a visionary account of dancing as vital for the biological, ethical, spiritual, and ecological development of human persons and communities.
While living on the farm, LaMothe remains active in the academic world, writing articles for journals and anthologies, as well as giving lectures and movement workshops at institutions including Williams College, Syracuse University, Columbia University, Dominican University, Oneonta State University, University of North Carolina, Green Mountain College, Long Trail School, and St. Johnsbury Academy. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal for Dance, Movement, and Spiritualities. Kimerer is also completing research on her next scholarly book, Ecstatic
Dance: Practices of Bodily Movement in the World’s Religions.
For more info on Kimerer, check out her website