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Title: Dancing in the dark : described dances and unseen choreographies
Author: Smith, Sue
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 0227
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London and Falmouth University
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis enquires how a rethinking of sight as the primary sense for experiencing dance performance can instigate new choreographies that embody the interplay between seen and unseen, described and not described, inside and outside, subject and object. By ‘unseen’ I mean invisible to the eye but potentially available to other senses or imaginative capacities. Choreography is a methodological and critical lens through which to explore relationships between description, translation and sensory perception in a range of performance engagements that invite multi-sensory attention. The research is launched with implications arising from a consideration of audiodescription: the supposed neutrality of the speaker, the potential for cultural mismatches or power tensions in translation and the challenge of making spoken language more fully represent the body in performance. The thesis argues that rethinking ideas of description, from the beginning of a devising process, can lead to the production of choreographic work that does not privilege vision. The research for this thesis has involved choreographic practice combined with writing. In this writing, the on-going narrative of my choreographic studio work has been deliberately interwoven with analysis and contextualisation of this practice. The different elements enacted in the studio and at the writing desk have continually interacted, back and forth, identifying in the process, appropriate objectives for successive phases. For example, the reflections stimulated at each phase of concurrent theoretical research and studio work have deepened my choreographic enquiries, while also identifying other points requiring further exploration. This exploration has been carried out during further practical choreographic experiments in the studio, triggering still further theoretical analysis, and so on. In this way, the dancer writing becomes, and interacts with, the writer dancing. Sensory and kinaesthetic knowledge can build a more integrated and immersive sensual experience of dance as something to be not just observed but also engaged in. The intention is that insights from the research will inform strategies for original choreography expressed in performance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Dance ; Choreography