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Title: The path to oppositional practice from a dancer's perspective
Author: Kim, Eun-Hi
ISNI:       0000 0004 5924 0113
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2016
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Working from the context of contemporary dance, this research interrogates contemporary understandings of agency from the point of view of the dancer. Drawing on Sklar and Noland, and engaging in an oppositional improvisation practice in which I reject the embedded movements of my formal, codified dance training, I put forward the hypothesis that not only a more specific differentiation of kinesthesia into different modes is useful for articulating opposition, but that an emphasis on the role of agency in informing this articulation reveals more accurately the creativity of oppositional practice. Following a contextualisation of oppositional practice within approaches to dance such as those of Rosemary Butcher, Anna Halprin and Contact Improvisation, the research enters the controversial debate over the existence of agency, so as to attend to the theoretical aspect of the research question 'How is oppositional improvisation possible for a trained dancer?' I answer through discursive and reflective practice-based methodologies articulating, from a first-person perspective, the dynamic interaction between agency and kinesthesia through improvisation. The self-determination claimed by the oppositional body is contested by social constructivist theories negating individual agency. I critically engage with Judith Butler, as representative of this approach, and also draw from Jacques Rancière and Michel de Certeau, to indicate bodies capable of acting independently of conformity. In doing so, I appropriate agency from the context of social theories for use in dance discourse, encouraging hybrid forms of knowledge. I also draw upon Susan Leigh-Foster's and Merleau-Ponty's notion of embodied subjects, whose sense of agency is inherent to the self-givenness provided by the first-person perspective. I argue that, in improvisation, opposition stems from the interaction between agency and kinesthetic awareness, activated by the dancers' lucid moment, the understanding not just of possessing kinesthesia, but that this makes of them agents able to oppose their embeddedness. This research articulates the importance of the dancer's perspective and agentic nature as a means to expand the knowledge and making of dance. In doing so, it reconfigures the trained body by expliciting its un-danced capabilities for agentic opposition; it reconfigures it as an intentionally abject body, evidencing potentials for further developments in dance.
Supervisor: Hughes, Helen ; Protopapa, Efrosini Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available