Revisiting Lunar Parables: Dublin Contemporary Dance Theatre and the Intangible Archive

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    In this chapter, I will reflect on a practice as research project revisiting the archives of Dublin Contemporary Dance Theatre (DCDT), the first state funded contemporary dance company in Ireland that ran from 1979-1989. Despite the important role that DCDT played in developing contemporary dance in an Irish context, very little has been researched or written about their work to date, or indeed about historical contemporary dance in Ireland more generally. One key aim of this project is to examine the knowledge revealed by revisiting DCDT’s archival materials through practice, focusing on the choreography Lunar Parables (1984). It considers what the ‘embodied archive’ of the performers can uncover about the company’s work, and what this reflects about Irish contemporary dance history and culture. The project also contributes to wider debates in performance and dance studies on ephemerality and documentation, as it moves between historical recordings and live re-enactments. Specifically, it explores how archival materials such as video, images and programmes are reanimated by the current practice of artists to track and share what can be described as the ‘intangible’ or ‘imperceptible’ features which are essential to the choreography (Blades 2016) such as memory, feelings, contexts, processes of making and so on. It is therefore concerned with how to open up the possibilities of the archives to engage the original artists and a new generation of dance artists to reflect on what the archives might mean today.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDance Matters in Ireland
    Subtitle of host publicationContemporary Dance Performance and Practice
    EditorsAoife McGrath, Emma Meehan
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-66738-6
    ISBN (Print)978-3-319-66739-3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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