678 research outputs found

    Issues of control and agency in contemplating Cunningham’s legacy

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    A discussion of Merce Cunningham’s 1967 work Scramble within the context of it being learned and performed by Laban students in London 2010. Cunningham’s significance to a new generation of dancers is considered drawing on discussions with the students and the Cunningham dancer and teacher, Patricia Lent, who set Scramble and is a trustee of the Cunningham legacy. In particular Cunningham’s approaches to dance, both in terms of his technique and choroegraphic methods, are examined in relation to how dance can embody both the potential and limits of human agency

    Claiming their space: virtuosity in British jazz dance

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    A discussion of the jazz dancing that took place in British clubs in the 1970s and 1980s

    Dualism’s legacies: dance and difference in London in the 21st century

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    Drawing on my experiences in dance, and developing on from research amongst a small number of other London based artists, I explore how the legacies of dualism might be seen as informing different artists’ negotiations of both the shared physical/temporal location of London in the ‘noughties’ and conceptually, that space which Thomas Csordas (1994) has suggested as the ‘terrain on which opposed terms meet’. While addressing how the artists’ explorations emanate from different cultural positions, the paper also suggests what some London based artists may share across difference

    LandMark: a collaborative exploration of the interrelationships between action, memory and space

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    Drawing on the philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s later development of existential phenomenology (1968), I suggest that in the dance/installation LandMark, the artists Deborah Saxon, Henry Montes and Bruce Sharp may be understood to probe the complexities of the interrelationships between consciousness-world and self-other. This has relevance to understanding both the relationship between work and audience and the experience of artistic collaboration

    The problem of significance: revisiting aspects of Laban’s discussions of the significance of movement and dance from a twenty-first century perspective

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    How cultural difference is contemplated has changed since Laban first formulated his theories.In Britain today, informed by experiences of diversity, dance theorists may be more wary of accepting the universalism underlying Laban's therories. However, it is argued that it is important to keep in mind that the experience of dance is enriched by an engagement that, in Laban’s terms, requires thinking in movement. This paper revisits Laban's effort theory to suggest how his work might provide the means to develop a sensitivity to how different ways of being in the world are manifested, and perhaps even negotiated, in performance

    Diasporic experience and the archival process: reflections upon the initial phase of the Black Dance Archives project (UK)

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    State of Trust has been funded to archive ‘collections from eminent individuals and organisations from the British Black dance sector’ (http://blackdancearchives.co.uk/). The Black Dance Archive may be considered as a ‘contingent, dynamic and transformative site’ (Heathfield 2012, 238) whose presence facilitates an historical ‘re-remembering’ (Bindas 2010). It stands as the site of negotiation between ‘Black British’ dance artists and the ‘archontic principle’ (Derrida, 1995) through which the archive retains the traces of a power that consigns documents to their place within a (dominant) signifying system.   Through a diaologic, reflective and trans-disciplinary process, we consider the role of the performance archive within the context of decolonisation. For those artists whose work is included, the transition of artefacts from private to public space marks a legitimization that nevertheless is fraught with the risk of appropriation. The archival process repeats previous tensions between hegemonic dance discourses and the artists’ aims to respond authentically to their lived diasporic experiences. The archive also marks a coming to terms with, even a mourning of, a past that for many of the artists was already shaped by a sense of loss. If, ‘the theory of psychoanalysis… becomes a theory of the archive and not only a theory of memory’ (Derrida 1995, p.18 ), can this archive be conceptualised and experienced in ways that allow for recognition of the lived trauma of diasporic experience while also celebrating how such experiences engendered new danced identities?

    Battling under Britannia’s shadow: British dance battles before B Boys

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    In Britain, before Hip Hop and House ruled the dance floor, the sons and daughters of the ‘Windrush’ immigrants, dancing alongside other young people who lived in the UK’s poorest areas, had forged their own dance styles with which to battle for supremacy on the dance floor. What remains of this phenomenon are the testaments of those involved and a few brief video clips that can be retrieved from films or postings on the internet. These reveal how in a Britain struggling with issues of ‘class’ and ‘race’ a generation of youths developed their own dance identities

    LandMark: dance as a site of intertwining

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    In the performance installation, LandMark (2011), dancers Deborah Saxon and Henry Montes and the visual artist Bruce Sharp explore both the facticity of human experience and the frailty of connections between people and between them and the world that they inhabit.1 I suggest that their work may also be understood to probe the complexities of the interrelationships between consciousness-world and self-other that are the focus of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s text, ‘The intertwining-the chiasm’. His analysis of intercorporeality is particularly relevant to understanding the significance of the dancers’ somatic investigations that inform their artistic practices. Further, by drawing on developments upon Merleau-Ponty’s work in ecological aesthetics and social philosophy, I explore how the artists’ creative practices may be understood to foster intercorporeal negotiations of significance. This is suggested to be of increasing importance within an intracultural context in which people have a complex variety of cultural experiences even while sharing in a national identity

    Researching British (underground) jazz dancing c1979-1990

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    The concept of 're-remembering' (Bindas, 2010) informs my account of researching the  jazz dancing performed in clubs in Britain in the late 1970s and 1980s in which I reflect upon the findings of  my own interviews with jazz dancers and those published by the DJ’s  Mark (Snowboy) Cotgrove (2009) and Seymour Nurse (n.d. b). Further, drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus and field (1984), I consider how jazz styles may be understood to have proposed new British dance identities within the changing cultural field of dance in postcolonial Britain. With specific reference to video recordings of Brothers in Jazz, IDJ and the Jazz Defektors, I explore this jazz dancing in the context of the social changes of the period 1979-1990, the era in which, under the government of Margaret Thatcher, economic and political changes took place that were (and still are) a source of much controversy. Here, Bourdieu’s analysis of cultural fields provides a useful framework from which to consider how differences in practices within an arena such as jazz dancing can be understood both in relation to each other and to a wider context. Finally, recognising how the synchronic and diachronic dimensions of experience and understanding intersect (Bourdieu 1993), and drawing on the words of dance artist Sean Graham, I consider how inclusion of British (Underground) jazz dancing (also known as UK jazz)  in the wider historical understanding of dancing in Britain is important to  the current ‘field’ of dance that is still coming to terms with the social, economic and cultural changes of the recent past.
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