Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Knowing Bodies / Bodies of Knowledge: Eight Experimental Practitioners of Contemporary Dance
by Curtis, Jess Alan, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2015, 383; 10036148
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation addresses the concept of the experimental in contemporary dance and performance. In it I argue that, although the word is used in very different ways in traditional artistic and scientific practices, a number of contemporary dance artists utilize experimental practices in their work that produce useful knowledge that is recognizable and transmittable beyond the walls of the theater or gallery. I have written about artists whose embodied work has been described as experimental, whose innovations and explorations have produced paradigmatic shifts in dance practice and new ways of knowing, both about and through bodies.

Using theories of embodied experience from performance studies, dance studies, phenomenology and enactive perception, I argue for shifting our attention beyond textual and visual models of understanding performance to a broader palette of sensory modes and ways that attendees and makers both enact them. I propose that by doing so we broaden the possibilities for understanding the effects of performance and gain much richer tools for creating, using and analyzing our experiences of performance. I make these arguments as a maker of performance and as one who attends, reads and writes about performances.

The final chapter is a reflection in language of my own experimental performance project Performance Research Experiment #2 which was/is a Practice-as-Research performance project that engaged and embodied ideas and practices of scientific experimentation to specifically explore ways that artistic practice and scientific practice may inform or interrupt each other. By extension the project tried to think, and move, through different ways that we know what we know.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hunter, Lynette, Dumit, Joe
Commitee: Noe, Alva, Rossini, Jon
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Performance Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 77/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, Philosophy, Performing Arts
Keywords: Contemporary dance, Dance, Embodiment, Perception, Performance, Phenomenology, Science/art
Publication Number: 10036148
ISBN: 978-1-339-54323-9
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