Rehearsing the Audience: Remembering Le Boeuf sur le Toit
Rehearsing the Audience: Remembering Le Boeuf sur le Toit is a discussion of a reconstruction project in which the author remade both the performed work and the audience. The 1920 Jean Cocteau/Darius Milhaud farce, Le Boeuf sur le Toit (Or the Nothing-Doing Bar), known in English as The Ox on the Roof, was a performance work of its moment. Set in an American bar during Prohibition, Cocteau's work referenced period celebrities and stereotypes. The author chose to remake the work, erasing potentially offensive stereotypes while making that erasure clear through accompanying visual imagery and text. With this accompanying material, the author prompted the audience into acts of historical imagination and critique, "rehearsing" their reception process. She also introduced audiences to 1920s appropriate behaviors, asking them to respond to the performance with audible catcalls and hisses. This too altered audience experience, allowing them a glimpse of period succès de scandale.
A Life Between Us
Taking as its defining moment, the image of Isadora Duncan standing alone in her studio waiting for the spirit of dance to arise from the wellsprings of her being, modern and then contemporary dance is premised on the notion of the radical recommencement of dance deep within the being of each new creator. This recourse to radical interiority is supported by its alignment to philosophical vitalism, and the degree to which this internalised sense of life was characterised by its opposition to all forms of social and disciplinary conformism. Despite the emergence of such disciplines as contact improvisation, which focuses on an engagement with alterity, contemporary dance training perpetuates the notion that the creative impulse lies deep within the individual dancer.
I suggest that understandings of the phenomenon of life have changed considerably over the century, and that recent formulations of life, arising from both the biological sciences and phenomenological practices, affirm that life is fully engaged in negotiating the interface between self and other. Based on this consideration of the relationality of life, I introduce my research into a-subjective partner-improvisation, describing the tools of PILOTING and T.A.C.T.C.S. as ways of understanding how the relation gives an account of the individual.
A Life Between Us [pdf]
Creating New Narratives Through Shared Time and Space:
The Performer/Audience Connection in Multi-Site Dance Events
Site-specific performance provides choices in audience experience via degrees of scale, proximity, levels of immersion and viewing perspectives. Beyond these choices, multi-site promenade events also form a connected audience/performer relationship in which moving together in time and space can produce a shared narrative and aesthetic sensibility of collective, yet individuated and shifting meanings. This paper interrogates this notion through audience/performer experiences in two separate multi-site, dance-led events.
here/there/then/now occurred in four intimate sites within the Brisbane Powerhouse, providing a theatricalised platform for audiences to create linked narratives through open-ended and fragmented intertextuality.
Accented Body, based on the concept of “the body as site and in site” and notions of connectivity, provided a more expansive platform for a similar, but heightened, shared engagement. Audiences traversed 6 outdoor and 2 indoor Brisbane sites moving to varying levels of a large complex. Eleven, predominantly interactive, screens provided links to other sites as well as to distributed presences in Seoul and London. The differentiation in scale and travel time between sites deepened the immersive experiences of audiences who reported transformative engagements with both site and architecture, accompanied by a sense of extended and yet quickened time.
Poetic Felt Space: Embodying Poetry as Dance Movement Imagery
Maria Adriana Verdaasdonk
This paper focuses on the notion of ‘poetic felt space’, a term coined to describe organic and sensory connections between performers, projected images and sonic elements within a performance installation mode. Distilled through several development periods and performances undertaken in Japan and Australia between 2006 and 2009, the term also refers to a butoh-influenced process where poetic text fragments and images are used as source material to create dance movement. The author also briefly outlines pathways for a current project investigating the affective potential of poetic imagery beyond dance creation for performance towards therapeutic and restorative environments.
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