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Title: Affective dramaturgies in contemporary dance : leaky encounters and turbulent spectating
Author: Passfield, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 952X
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2019
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Bridging the gap between performance dramaturgies and critical discourse . This thesis proposes that contemporary dance choreographic practices that emerged in the UK during the 1980s onwards challenge the established approaches of critical appreciation and resist conventions of interpretation and genre classification. Choreographers discussed in this thesis are part of a lineage of new creative practices in contemporary dance that demand a different discourse about spectating dance. They require awareness of how the actions of spectating affect the audience and resist traditional discourses of critical appreciation. Their works contribute to a re-theatricalisation of dance choreography that is influenced by European Tanztheater, and in particular, by the choreographer Pina Bausch. Choreographers discussed include Liz Aggiss, Lea Anderson, Matthew Bourne, Jonathan Burrows, Michael Clark, Yolande Snaith and Ian Spink. They are independent dance makers whose works share dramaturgic processes that foreground affective spectating. These choreographic dramaturgies afford increased agency to spectators and highlight processes of how the dances create affective encounters within the performances. I bring first-hand experience and dance knowledge of movement training and choreographic approaches that inform this research and I reflect on the ways in which these artists resisted existing frameworks of critical discourse. As a dance student, performer and scholar during this era, I studied or worked with several of these choreographers, as well as attending performances of many of their pieces in addition to those analysed in this thesis. Their choreography made significant new demands on spectators by resisting interpretations and shifting attention to how the dance exposes spectators to their own processes of engaging with a performance, to focus on what the dance does instead of what it is about. The affective impact of contemporary dance became the central feature of their creative practices, yet the existing critical discourse lacked appropriate terms and concepts to address the significance of these works. Established approaches to dance analysis and critical, academic discourses have had limited success in articulating the complex demands of such dance works and it is those aspects of affective engagement that are the focus of this study in relation to dramaturgic and choreographic forms. This thesis proposes a reframing of critical analysis based on concepts of dramaturgy as a bridge between conventional frameworks of dance discourse and the creative practices. This thesis introduces a notion of 'leaky' dramaturgies, where encountering also operates outside the frame of the performance itself. How spectators encounter contemporary dance works is the central question of this thesis and this study proposes that discourses of dramaturgy and affect are effective in articulating how these works create spectating encounters. I define these encounters as having a two-part dramaturgy that is characterised as 'turbulent' during the performance event, evoking effects of disorientation, excitement and intensity, and also as 'leaky' in encounters outside the performance itself. In combination, leaky and turbulent systems within the choreographic and performance practices, contribute to the disruptive, affective impact of the work. I place this research in the field of phenomenological dance studies to contribute to the discourse of spectating dramaturgies in contemporary dance. The thesis finds that a discourse of affective dramaturgies is effective to articulate leaky processes and turbulent spectating of contemporary dance.
Supervisor: Shaughnessy, Robert ; Boenisch, Peter ; Vass-Rhee, Freya Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available