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Title: Dance, space and subjectivity
Author: Briginshaw, Valerie A.
ISNI:       0000 0000 3950 0492
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Chichester
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis, by examining relationships between dancing bodies and space, argues that postmodern dance can challenge traditional representations of subjectivity and suggest alternatives. Through close readings of postmodern dances, informed by current critical theory, constructions of subjectivity are explored. The limits and extent of subjectivity are exposed when and where bodies meet space. Through a precise focus on this body/space interface, I reveal various ways in which dance can challenge, trouble and question fixed perceptions of subjectivity. The representation in dance of the constituents of difference that partly make up subjectivity, (such as gender, 'race', sexuality and ability), is a main focus in the exploration of body/space relationships presented in the thesis. Based on the premise that dance, space and subjectivity are constructions that can mutually inform and construct each other, this thesis offers frameworks for exploring space and subjectivity in dance. These explorations draw on a selective reading of pertinent poststructuralist theories which are all concerned with critiquing the premises of Western philosophy, which revolve around the concept of an ideal, rational, unified subject, which, in turn, relies on dualistic thinking that enforces a way of seeing things in terms of binary oppositions. Certain ideas are central to this project. They include the blurring of bodily and spatial boundaries, leading to a focus on inside/outside body/space interfaces, on in-between spaces ofhybridity and ambiguity, on folds and flows of bodies and space, on bodily and spatial excesses and on the disruption of the logic of visualization which privileges seeing things from one position. These key interrelated ideas are employed in order to identify and outline the possibilities for rethinking subjectivity in terms of notions of becoming, non-fixity and instability, that the postmodern dances discussed suggest. This thesis is organized in three parts: Constructions of space and subjectivity, Dancing in the 'in-between spaces' and Inside/Outside bodies and spaces. It concludes with a final chapter that shows how the concerns of all three parts can be seen to overlap. In the first part site-specific dances are examined. The focus is on the ways in which the actual spaces of their location are constructed, and in turn contribute to constructions of subjectivity. In Part IT there is a shift from these actual spaces to virtual or metaphorical spaces in the dances seen as 'in-between'. I argue that these are created as 'in-between' by the choreography and, in some cases, the filming, and that they suggest possibilities for rethinking and challenging constructions of subjectivity as fixed. In Part ITI the focus shifts to the dancing bodies, specifically tp the inside/outside spaces of their boundaries, which I argue can trouble and subvert traditional constructions of SUbjectivity and make room for subjectivities previously excluded from the mainstream. The final chapter demonstrates that these focuses are not mutually exclusive, but overlapping, and that they interconnect in various important and apparent ways.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: GV1782 Stage. Setting and Scenery ; GV1782.5 Choreography ; GV1580 Dance