Performing the unutterable : mapping the experiential in contemporary dance

Dyson, Clare Marie (2010) Performing the unutterable : mapping the experiential in contemporary dance. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This research project looks to engage audiences in a variety of experiential ways by reexamining and manipulating the traditional presentation paradigm for viewing Western contemporary dance. It considers how the audience may be situated in the creation and presentation of contemporary dance generally, and specifically in the work The Voyeur, which researched these issues in action. By situating the body of the audience member as a site of understanding and meaning making, this practice-based research considers the audience within the artists’ creative process from the inception of a creative work, rather than after the work has been created. The research questions how a ‘lived experience’ of contemporary dance could be deepened for the audience. It presents a series of ‘tools’ to create alternative frameworks of presentation that challenge the dominant modes of creation, presentation and meaning making in contemporary dance. The five tools established and applied in this research are: site, liminality, agency, proximity and performer authenticity. These tools are framed as a series of calibrated scales that allow choreographers to map decisions made in the studio in relation to potential audience engagement. These scales have the ability to house multiple presentation formats from the traditional to the avant garde and open up possibilities for broad analysis of a wide range of artistic dance works.

Impact and interest:

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362 since deposited on 20 May 2011
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ID Code: 41750
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Haseman, Bradley & Street, Susan
Keywords: contemporary dance, performance, audience engagement, audience interaction, experiential, unutterable, dialogic, choreography, choreographic tools, presentation, proscenium-arch theatre, site-specific, liminality, proximity, audience agency, performer authenticity
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 20 May 2011 02:45
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 20:02

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