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Title: Unresolved differences : choreographing community in cross-generational dance practice
Author: Pethybridge, Ruth
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 0286
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London and Falmouth University
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2017
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This practice-led research enquires into how ideologies of community as commonality have informed the dominant rhetoric in the Community Dance sector since the 1970s, and formed the conditions of possibility for Cross-generational Dance, a reciprocal relationship between discourse and practice that has arguably been overlooked in the historiography of Community Dance. Framed by Michel Foucault’s (1972) concept of the episteme – an umbrella mode of knowing that permeates historical taxonomies – Community Dance history is linked here with experimental choreographic processes during the 1960s and 1970s, and Relational Art of the 1990s. Such relationships suggest a more critical, politically-orientated genealogy. Cross-generational Dance is discussed through a reflexive approach to the writing which reveals how philosophies of community are divided into those associated with the idea of commonality – either through shared characteristics or common goals – and those that advocate a break with these imperatives, here examined through the philosophies of Adriana Cavarero, and Jean-Luc Nancy. Given its perceived agenda to bring people of distinct ages together into a harmonious totality, Cross-generational Dance provides a particular opportunity to discuss community, examined here through case-studies of key choreographers at the time of writing – Rosemary Lee, and Cecilia Macfarlane. The discussion of age is made explicit through an analysis of models of difference, and introduces how an ethical encounter with others can avoid the totalising impulse of community in subsuming these differences. The methodology of ‘relational choreography’ underpins the phenomenological emphasis on process and relationships in choreography over more conventional conceptions of product and form in dance and supports the hypothesis that community can be experienced as ‘being in relation through a phenomenology of uniqueness’. This conception does not rely on polarising the positions of the individual and the community, or self and other, young and old, but rather generates an experience of uniqueness, wherein differences remain unresolved, shared amongst ‘others plural’ (Nancy, 2000). This thesis therefore reconsiders what community means in the context of dance practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Fine Art ; Dance ; Choreography