Bodies, Rivers, Rocks and Trees: Meeting agentic materiality in contemporary outdoor dance practices

Paula Kramer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This article challenges an understanding of contemporary dance practices in the natural environment as naïve and concerned only with ‘feeling good and close to nature’. Instead it argues for the capacity of some practices to engage with and change how we live in this world - as and with materiality. Drawing on new materialist and object-friendly strands of philosophy it argues for a decentralised human position in a word made of vibrant matter (Jane Bennett) and autonomous objects (Graham Harman), suggesting that these propositions out of political theory and philosophy offer a potent perspective on outdoor dancing. Vice versa it argues that these strands of thinking can well be illuminated and concretized through outdoor dance practices. The article specifically proposes to attend to the rootedness of perception, awareness and receptivity in the physicality and materiality of the body. It argues that this allows movers to work effectively in the natural world, without having to fully understand, control or ‘connect’ with it. An embodied and receptive awareness may invite a site, a thing, a tree, to rise as co-presences with a dancer, permitting for movement in collaboration with the non-human to emerge in a field of multiple agents, operating in relation as well as independently of each other. Publisher statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Performance Research on 16th August 2012, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13528165.2012.712316 .
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83-91
    JournalPerformance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts
    Volume17
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Performance Research on 16th August 2012, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13528165.2012.712316 .

    Keywords

    • contemporary dance
    • outdoor dance

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