Corporealities: Dancing Knowledge, Culture and Power

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Universal Principles of Design

To display critical understanding of the relevance of theatre and dance practice to the discursive formation of corporeality in the 20th century. To organize and present informed and original arguments reflecting research and independent thought in the subject area of the course. To demonstrate critical awareness of current socio-cultural debates on corporeality, identity and embodiment as they relate to discursive formation in 20th century theatre and dance practices.

To co-operate as part of a group in presenting and argument in the analysis of course material. To undertake critical readings of key theoretical texts from Antonin Artaud to Richard Schechner as well as performance texts by major 20th century theatre directors and dance choreographers from Martha Graham to Merce Cunningham in comparison to changing perspectives on the body and corporeality. Students will be challenged to research the interrelationship between theatre practice, avant-garde aesthetics and cultural theories of the body as they investigate the interrelationship between dance and theatre performance and choreography.

Among the recurring themes of the module will be the following: the body and performativity, social habitus and performance practice, corporeality and aesthetics, media and the body, space and choreography, phenemenological analysis and kinaesthetics. Home Modules Module Information Module Identifier. Dr Sabine Sorgel. Recognizingthe symbiotic relationship between dance and sexuality and acknowledgingthe body as its common medium of expression, physical theatre encountersthe sexual, the erotic and the self, in honest and intimate ways.

This is furtherintensified as contact improvisation uses all surfaces of the body as sharedsurfaces, including the sexualized body parts. Physical theatre searches instead for a symbiotic ex- pression of body and mind trying to evoke the vulnerability and the extremes in human relationships. In its lineage, therefore, physical theatre has more in common with mod- ern dance the diametrically opposite predecessor of post-modern dance which was conceived to rebel against the aestheticism and idealism of ballet that in some ways was reinstated within post-modern and neoclassical dance and pushed to manifest in choreography, emotive and meaningful movement.

The emerging patterns of modern dance on both sides of the Atlantic which influenced the emergence of physical theatre, have been manifold. In Germany, Mary Wigman was in search of a ritualistic mode of expression through a more abstracted and primitive form that expressed the soul of the dancer. Decades later, Pina Bausch reinstated the use of voice and story-telling against the need for ritualized pedestrian movement to capture the rawness and vulnerability of human relationships.

Over the years, no doubt, these formal vocabularies have become repre- sentational in nature. Contemporary physical theatre companies like DV8, Frantic As- sembly and Ultima Vez successfully explore the points of collisions between dance and theatre in their use of extreme contact-work and visceral dance technique to embody human relationships and the awkward tensions of sexual and gender relations. Although Paxton ac-. Touch and sex lie in close prox- imity.

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Corporealities vivifies the study of bodies through a consideration of bodily reality , not as natural or absolute given but as tangible and substantial category of. Corporealities: Dancing Knowledge, Culture and Power. Front Cover. Susan Foster. Routledge, Aug 2, - Performing Arts - pages. 0 Reviews.

But they are not alone. Touch, along with the other senses, integrates our physicality [ Here, femi-nism had long created the space and given agency to the female body to re-claim her identity and her sexuality. They cast off the symbolic restrictions of ballet shoes and corsets,and danced barefoot in free flowing tunics and fabrics to allow liberatedphysicality, implying a confidence and fulfilment in their female form thatcould only come from sexually experienced selves.

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Instead he identifies its uses within a socially therapeutic environment that heals and connects people. However, when dance artists in search of new physical vocabularies began to encounter contact work, they recognized in it the potential to embody with great veracity the complexities of human relationships, the dynamics of sexual power and the visual appeal of bodies col- liding with bodies in space to tell their own stories.

Sexuality, intimacy and power-play then became a central narrative for the way companies like DV8, Frantic Assembly and Ultima Vez manifested contact improvisation in their work. It is in this context that I en- countered contact work. However, I did not feel comfortable in this mode ofpractice.

I struggled. I found myself avoiding physical contact, and wouldoften try to sustain the use of my formulaic physical vocabulary to expressmyself in this new context. Inevitably, my Indian physicality did not translateinto the Western context. I was not comfortable with the close association ofmy performing body with my sexuality and was threatened by physical inva-sion of my personal space. In finding myself in an unfamiliar situation I con-sidered threatening, my cerebral self, governed by my Indian cultural values,developed an extreme level of control over my struggling corporeal self, try-ing to cope with new movement vocabularies and physical realities.

Corporealities: Dancing Knowledge, Culture and Power - CRC Press Book

I did notrealize that as a result of this, I was blocking all creative impulse, spontaneityand physical improvisation, the basic principles which constitute contact im-provisation. I soon realized that the negotiations that were going on between my brain andmy body were being dictated by my Indian cerebral self which refused per-mission for my body to start imbibing a new corporeal vocabulary.

It also re-fused to accept at a cerebral level the need to re-evaluate my identity and mysexuality, by embracing my newfound Western ideology. I began to recognize my body as an iconic, so-matic powerhouse of personal, sexual and cultural experience that desperately26 Cf. Cooper Albright: op.

Elements of Dance - KQED Arts

Cerebrality 11craved expressive agency. I also began to acknowledge that if physical theatrewas indeed about the point of dialogue and conflict between the personal andthe political, then I had my own narrative to relate through this new foundphysical medium. It was enough to place myethnically explicit and politicised body in a performance space, negotiatingbetween classical vocabularies and contact improvisation, intellectualising,thinking, performing, feeling, emoting and growing through the self, all atonce. These explorations of the performing self soon became a metaphor formy social self.

The negotiations between my Indian and Western identitywere gradually beginning to find a comfortable point of hybridized reality,28and I wanted illustrate this condition in my work. To this critique I have a considered response.

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Where artists like Akram Khan, Shobhana Jeyasingh, and Daksha Seth have expressed their globalized identities by experimenting with form, thereby challenging classical idioms and generating new physical languages, in my practice I have chosen to inject the form be it physical theatre or classical dance with content driven by my personal politics and my subjective experiences of encoun- tering translocation. The two performance styles Iworked with embodied this concurrence. Cerebrality 13Fig. Juxtaposed againsta classically choreographed and rigidly synchronized movement of my two31 Italo Calvino: Invisible Cities trans.

This Body is in Danger! Shift-shaping CorpoRealities in Contemporary Performing Arts

William Weaver , London Contact work characterized the choreography; atfirst the earth supported my falls and my lifts, and then the other two per-formers became a part of my physical and emotional journey through contactimprovisation. I was eventually driven out of the circle of fire in despair, notfinding acceptance in the attractive and desirable environment where I beganmy journey. Once again, I had found a personal, physical and emotional con-nection to the work we were creating.

This tale had translated to me in a very personal way. The use of classical idioms on bodies other than mine was a deliberate choiceto denote my liberation from the rigidity of physical articulation.

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First published in Call us on or send us an email at. We did a search for other books with a similar title, and found some results for you that may be helpful. John added it Dec 29, The spinal column of the Kathakdancer is upright and the use of the extended arms marks out a very clear per-sonal space which is never invaded. How does the blurring distinction between art and life add to new forms of activism? Please check your browser settings or contact your system administrator.

The initialdelight of free and uninhibited physicality that had been made possible by myWestern training stood for the liberating Western culture that gave me agencyas a woman and as a performer. The ultimate despair and rejection from thebeautiful environment that eventually turned ugly, symbolized my impure andcontaminated status within the Indian cultural context, as a result of my obvi-ous Westernisation.

Chandralekha questions these same purist values of In-dian dancers and critics alike who negate hybridism in favor of purity, au-thenticity and preservation. Cerebrality 15Where most diasporic Indian dancers in the UK situate their practice and artwithin the British context, I am yet to find a permanent space for my work.

When working in the UK, I deny the pressure exuded on diasporic artists tomove towards a hybridized global identity.

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Where the likes ofKhan, Jeyasingh, and Nahid Siddiqui all renowned for their experimentationwith and progressive treatment of classical dance forms have chosen to workwith the singular medium of dance, primarily in its purely technical manifes-tation, I have chosen to express through the medium of physical theatre, hy-bridized in itself in trying to integrate dance, theatre, personal histories, textand the expression of subjectivity through the self. Technique in physicaltheatre functions beyond virtuosity and enables the collision of personal iden-tities and politics of the performer and the world we occupy.

In negotiatingconstantly between classical idioms and contact improvisation, I deliberatelywish not to simplify the complexities of my social reality by choosing a ho-mogenous identification with authenticity. Physical theatre mirrors appropri-ately the complex heterogeneous roots that are me. Thisstage in my practice is precisely that: a point of transition, a rite of passagebetween what was and what lies ahead.

It is almost impossible to try and as-certain the future of my work, for it would be presumptuous to cerebralise inwriting a process I am yet to embody. However, I do know this. In doing so I am attempting to reinstate the dancer as athinking body who embodies and articulates thought, history and experiencethrough her art.

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Bhabha, Homi K. Calvino, Italo: Invisible Cities trans. Foster, Susan Leigh ed.