How Dance is Placed, Re-Placed, and Imagined

THE POST-SECULAR MOVEMENTS OF BREAD AND BODIES:

PETER SCHUMANN’S PAGEANTRY

Michael Bodel

MFA Dance, Hollins University/American Dance Festival

Abstract

2014 Author: Michael Bodel

Peter Schumann’s Paper Maché Cathedral
Bread and Puppet Theater, 2013
Photographer: John Bell

In Peter Schumann’s pageantry divine icons intermingle with Ordinary People and political archetypes, piercing the skin between secular and religious spheres. Set amidst the pastures of Vermont, participants dance, pilot giant figures and animate cardboard populations. They embody the gods that have shaped their modern American existence.

This essay circumnavigates The Bread and Puppet Theater’s pageantry since 1990, situating the work within the contexts of dance, Medieval and American pageantry, and theories of corporeality in religious performances. In this article, the author traces the contours of religiosity and un-reason in Schumann’s pageants, locating within them the interplay between divine immanence and communal transcendence.

Biography

Michael Bodel is a choreographer and dance theorist whose scholarly interests include,alphabetically: affordances, archiving, Bread and Puppet Theater, Carnival, choric work, dance film, embodied cognition, scents and semiotics. He holds a B.A. in Dance and Astronomy from Wesleyan University and recently completed his M.F.A. in Dance from Hollins University/ADF. Michael’s experience puppeteering and dancing with The Bread and Puppet Theater incited a decade of his own multi-modal puppet dances, and he continues to study their work. Earlier versions of this research were presented at the 2012 Annual Conference of the Congress On Research In Dance and the “50 years of Bread and Puppet” conference held in 2013 at Boston College.

To view article, click link (press Back to return to website): Bodel.pdf

 

DANCE CURTAIN CALLS: PROBLEMATIZING THE ENDS OF DANCES 

Caroline Sutton Clark

Doctoral Candidate, Texas Woman’s University

MFA, University of Hawaii

Abstract

One of the most entrenched and pervasive performance practices in what has traditionally been called Western concert dance, curtain calls or “bows,” remains surprisingly under-investigated. In my article I consider performance theory in relation to dance curtain calls as an interdisciplinary call to action that decenters performance constructs. I begin with Victor Turner, Michel de Certeau, and Judith Hamera to establish a theoretical framework from which to consider curtain calls as performance rituals that reiterate discursive contracts through acts of propriety by both negotiating and containing relationships. Through doing so, I argue additionally that curtain calls signify the “liveness” of live performance; however, drawing upon Diana Taylor and Rebecca Schneider, I question the discursive function of curtain calls that establish a dance’s termination. This paper, by closely examining the performative punctuation of curtain calls at the “end” of dance performances, opens new conversations about dance and cultural agendas expressed through practice.

 Biography

Caroline Sutton Clark is a doctoral candidate at Texas Woman’s University. Coming from a range of experience in modern dance, butoh, ballet, and other forms of world dance, Clark received her BFA from the University of Michigan and MFA from the University of Hawaii, where she received the Carl Wolz Award for outstanding graduate student in dance. Clark’s dissertation research focuses on the monthly performances of Austin Ballet Theatre at a psychedelic rock and country music hall during the 1970s. She teaches at Texas State University.

To view article, click link (press Back to return to website): Clark.pdf

 

A PEDAGOGY OF RESTAGING: THE AUTHENTICITY OF EMBODIED PRACTICE

Christine Knoblauch-O’Neal

Ph.D. Dance, Texas Woman’s University, USA

MA Dance, Wesleyan University, USA

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine the concept of authenticity as defined by the Antony Tudor Ballet Trust within the restaging of the ballets of Antony Tudor.  I drew on my research which focused specifically on the work of the Répétiteurs of the Tudor Trust.  My analysis was supported by my interviews with Sally Bliss, executor of the Tudor will and Trustee of the Tudor Trust and four of the Répétiteurs. In addition, I observed all of the participants during the restaging process and was allowed full access to the archival videos of past productions of the Tudor ballets held by the Tudor Trust.  For the Tudor Trust, authenticity is defined through an eyewitness, experientially-based, embodied epistemology. I hope that this research adds to the literature on authenticity within the restaging of ballet master works.

Biography

Christine Knoblauch-O’Neal, Professor of the Practice in the Performing Arts Department at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, performed for twenty years with such companies as American Ballet Theater and the National Ballet.  Her awards include a bronze medal from the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria, a State Department medal in recognition of her accomplishment in Varna, the Washington University in St. Louis’ ArtSci Faculty award, and the 2009 CORPS de Ballet International Service Award.  Dr. Knoblauch-O’Neal finished her dissertation, Preserving a Legacy, Preserving History: Restaging the Ballets of Anthony Tudor, through the Dance Department at Texas Woman’s University.

To view article, click link (press Back to return to website): KnoblauchOneal.pdf

 

SELLING BALLET: DANCER AS COMMODITY IN THE

ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS OF AMERICAN BALLET COMPANIES 

Melonie Buchanan Murray

Associate Professor, University of Utah

Doctoral Candidate, Texas Woman’s University

Abstract

In the United States, ballet companies are fiscally dependent on donor support and box office sales; therefore, it is crucial to their survival that their marketing campaigns be effective. In recent years, several ballet companies have embarked on advertising campaigns that merchandise not the art form or the experience of a live production, but the dancers themselves—either by commoditizing individual dancers’ personalities or by sexually objectifying the dancers’ physical bodies. Through analyzing images from recent marketing campaigns of two of the largest ballet companies in the United States—American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet—this article reveals subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, ways in which these images objectify the dance artists.  These advertising campaigns raise questions about how an art form that emphasizes the aesthetic of the human body in motion can market the art form of ballet without objectifying the performers.

 Biography

Melonie Buchanan Murray will be joining the Department of Ballet at the University of Utah as an Associate Professor in fall 2014.  Previously a tenured Associate Professor of Dance at Colorado Mesa University, Melonie holds a BFA degree in Ballet from Friends University (Wichita, KS), an MFA degree in Dance from the University of California, Irvine (UCI), and is currently pursuing a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University.  Melonie has completed American Ballet Theatre’s National Teaching Curriculum and is an ABT certified ballet instructor.  Her research interests include ballet history and ballet pedagogy.

To view article, click link (press Back to return to website): Murray.pdf

 

A CALL TO ACTION, OR THE POLITICAL BODY IN DANCE AND PROTEST:

AN INVESTIGATION OF VICTORIA MARKS’ NOT ABOUT IRAQ

Brianna Taylor

MFA in Choreography, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA

Abstract

2014 Author: Brianna Taylor Photographer: Steve Gunther Title of work: Not About Iraq Performer: Taisha Paggett Choreographer: Victoria Marks

2014 Author: Brianna Taylor
Photographer: Steve Gunther
Title of work: Not About Iraq
Performer: Taisha Paggett
Choreographer: Victoria Marks

Through my focused study of Victoria Marks’ Not About Iraq, I realize the potential of dance to connect to larger socio-political issues.  In my paper, I investigate political bodily metaphors in Not About Iraq, the physical recalcitrance of the body in dance and in organized protest events, and the ways in which dance has the potential to mobilize people to action to create lasting political and social change. I look closely at the body as a vast reservoir of information, of signs and symbols, as well as messages about how we act politically: how we move as individuals and as groups to inform, inspire, disrupt, or reach consensus.  As a dancer I cannot help but feel the energy of the act of dancing as a call to action, and this paper is an answer to that call.

Biography

Brianna Taylor is a multidisciplinary movement artist, performer, teacher, scholar and investigator. She holds an MFA in Choreography from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a B.A. in Dance from the University of Colorado, Boulder. In 2008 Brianna co-founded SoShe’s Performance Collective in San Francisco, CA, where she continues to create work and perform.  In Boulder she was a company member of The Skeleton Dance Project with Onye Ozuzu, as well as Logo Ligi West African Dance Ensemble with the Mensah Brothers, and she co-directed the performance collective Separation Anxiety.  Brianna has taught dance and yoga since 2003.

To view article, click link (press Back to return to website): Taylor.pdf