Processual place: Intersections in dance performance, human geographical discourse, and everyday life

Munjee, Tara
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Places as locales can be understood as physical locations that are meaningful, multiply interpreted, and subjectively understood. My research explores comparative understandings of place derived from dance performance appreciation, geographical discourse, and experiences of everyday life. The intersections of these three distinct arenas I find most evocative in the experience of the phenomenon I label as "performance place." A spatial-temporal event, performance place represents a melding together of personal, historic, relational, political, social, aesthetic, artistic, and asynchronic factors that contribute to an individual's apprehension of physical spatiality as featured in contemporary dance performance. A hybrid methodology including heuristic narrative analysis, interview data coding, phenomenological methods, and a survey of geographical literature is used to assist me in unpacking the experience of performance place. The salient experiences evoked and embedded for me in the performances discussed connect to selected postmodern and feminist human geographical constructs of "place." Further, as dance performance appreciation is subjectively-perceived but also fluidly interpreted over time, personal understandings of a dance may change, as may interpretations of a place. In contemporary discourse, place is fluid, multiply-perceived, and dynamic, and the processes that occur in place are arguably most important in imbuing a locale with a specific affect or read for any individual. Just as dance performance emphasizes movement and motility so, too, contemporary understandings of place embrace ongoing shifts and changes in definition, and place's "processual" nature is viewed as a most significant feature. For the purposes of analyzing and discussing performance places, in the last chapter I offer the reader a method of analyzing the phenomenon of performance place as it connects to understandings and experiences of everyday life, as well as to theories from contemporary human geographical discourse. Using postmodern and critical geographer Edward W. Soja's theoretical construct of ThirdSpace as a departure point, I create a model for identifying, problematizing, and exploring the myriad aspects of lived spatiality that may emerge in the valuing of dance performance. This model is reflexive in nature, for as geographical theories and experiences of everyday life may inform the dance appreciation process, dance appreciation may well inculcate newly-discovered and critical understandings of geographical discourse and lived life. As a result of these reflexive understandings, a viewer may then seek to change places or create new places to inhabit in the social-spatial world.

Social sciences, Communication and the arts, Dance appreciation, Dance performance, Feminist geography, Geographical discourse, Human geography, Place making