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Title: Dancing sculptures : contractions of an intercorporeal aesthetic
Author: Mylona, Stefania
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 2739
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2010
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Contraction dances have been seen as ‘unnatural’ since the contemporary dance focus shifted - especially in Europe - towards release-based dance forms, of continuous rather than ‘free’ flow, based on somatic and anatomical knowledge. In the modem dance period, however, contraction proved productive in creating radical shifts of form in the case of Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham. In this research, the dancing contraction is redefined to characterize muscular tension and used to visually distort bodily forms. Disciplinary discourses may keep dance contraction separated from contemporary dance, but, I want to suggest that when contraction becomes a method of practice, it can draw together various disciplines and add an aesthetic intensification to choreography. In this way, contraction’s bound flow, effort, weight, tension and grotesque dynamics are often considered dance mis-performances. This practice-based research examines the concept of contraction through contemporary dance practice. Based on bodily contractions, Dancing Sculptures proposes an aesthetic link between dance and sculpture by acknowledging corporeality as a meeting point. This interdisciplinary approach emerged through an emphasis on exploring visual methodologies in dance. The main body of the thesis contains four chapters: The first chapter addresses the modern histories of contraction in dance. Chapter two focuses on the contractile processes of Dancing Sculptures as a new hybrid genre which favors intercorporeality by emphasizing the importance of the visual in dance. The relationship between dance and visual art references is examined in chapter three. Moving beyond practice, the fourth chapter offers an evaluation of interdisciplinary approaches as primarily body-based and argues for intercorporeality within and beyond dance studies through Deleuzian theory. In Deleuzian theory, the assemblage (spatial contraction) also creates deconstruction, and vice versa, and thus, they can happen simultaneously, meaning that they are contracted. Historicizing these concepts in terms of aesthetics allowed me to make clear that my proposition does not imply the negation of deconstruction but rather suggests that contraction deconstructs deconstruction. Contraction becomes more prominent, as in Deleuzian theory, after a long focus on deconstructionist processes and particularly, for tracing an analogy between disciplines and bodies. I will thus propose that the aesthetic of contraction may be of increasing significance within an intercorporeal, post-deconstruction dance practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available