Cultural frontiers of expressive strands in dance performances

Álvarez, Inma (2007). Cultural frontiers of expressive strands in dance performances. In: XVIIth International Congress of Aesthetics, Aesthetics Bridging Cultures, 9-13 Jul 2007, Ankara, Turkey.



A choreological perspective of dance is preoccupied with the processes of creating, performing and appreciating works of dance art. Through the combination of phenomenology and semiotics of performative art, choreology has tried to offer an account of “the complexity of embodied theatre works of dance” (Preston-Dunlop and Sánchez-Colberg 110). Choreology considers dance as an embodied performative art realised in a multistranded medium where four main strands —performer, movement, sound and space— relate to each other through a web of nexial connections. This paper starts by offering a revision of choreological theory, reformulating and expanding its original core concepts and central methodological position to allow for a more flexible approach to different dance practices. My proposal seeks to move away from assumed performative models and create a choreological framework that acknowledges evolving cultural practices and shifting interpretations in the contemporary world. It then focuses on the level(s) to which audiences perceive, engage with and appreciate the expressive strands of dance performances. Moving beyond the limitations of current cross-cultural hermeneutic positions, I discuss the challenges of the interpretative process of dance works from other cultures. I conclude by arguing that our experiences of unfamiliar dance performances might be limited with respect to the possibility of a complete or truthful appreciation, but understanding how cultural frontiers affect viewers’ aesthetic engagement is an invaluable step in itself as this kind of awareness has the power to trigger reflections on hidden cultural aspects of familiar dance performances.

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