COMING SOON! PQDT Open is getting a new home!

ProQuest Open Access Dissertations & Theses will remain freely available as part of a new and enhanced search experience at

Questions? Please refer to this FAQ.

Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Feeling History: Emotion, Performance, and Meaning-Making in Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
by Nereson, Ariel, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2014, 230; 3582729
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company’s Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Lincoln trilogy (works that deal with explicitly with American historical narratives) in the context of the cognitive science behind such sense-making tools as narrative, metaphor, and causation. Within this cognition-based theoretical framework, making the past meaningful in the present necessarily involves emotional response; making and understanding historical narratives are not simply “objective” endeavors. I argue that BTJ/AZ’s engagement with historical narratives, events, and figures within their choreographies happens through the relationship of emotional response and embodiment, and provides a corporeal route into history that critiques previous formulations of archive, identity, narrative, time, and space that compose historical inquiry. My interest in “feeling history” is in yoking feeling and moving as complementary processes rooted in the materiality of the body that reveal how individuals both create narratives as sense-making tools and find meaning within inherited and reimagined histories. BTJ/AZ’s work manifests transhistorical human conditions of meaning-making that are nonetheless situated in particular spatio-temporalities. Specifically, their emphasis on embodied emotional response as choreographic methodology reflects the biological reality of concepts like mirror neurons, conceptual blending, and empathic concern that interact with cultural sense-making tools that are historically situated (for example, Lincoln’s metaphor of “a house divided”). BTJ/AZ propose a corporeal relationship to history, one of interanimation through embodied cognition. We are moved, literally and figuratively, by the past and, in the archival repertory of BTJ/AZ, we move the past, choreographing historical events and figures into our present so that we might re-route our current paths.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McConachie, Bruce
Commitee: Anderson, Mark Lynn, Favorini, Attilio, Jackson-Schebetta, Lisa
School: University of Pittsburgh
Department: Theatre Arts
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 76/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Dance, Performing Arts
Keywords: Arnie Zane Dance Company, Cognitive science, Embodiment, Feeling history, Historiography, Jones, Bill T., Modern dance
Publication Number: 3582729
ISBN: 978-1-321-21055-2
Copyright © 2021 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy Cookie Policy