The pleasure of enactment: Eclectic artist practices of dancers and dance makers following the Judson era
LORETTA LIVINGSTON THE PLEASURE OF ENACTMENT: ECLECTIC ARTIST PRACTICES OF DANCERS AND DANCE MAKERS FOLLOWING THE JUDSON ERA
MAY 2020 The territory of this dissertation and the inquiries that drive it reside in features and meaningfulness of practice for a purposeful sample of nine experimental dance artists who began their dance careers in the eighties and nineties and who have links to avant-garde mentors who came to prominence in the sixties and seventies, during what has come to be known in the professional concert dance world as the Judson era. Following the groundbreaking Judson era, concert dance making and performance practices opened to broad eclecticisms, inviting emergent dance artists to shape their practices in individualistic and innovative ways, mixing and intersecting multiple approaches to dance embodiment through somatic studies, improvisation techniques, martial and contemplative arts, other arts disciplines, and interactions with nature. In this artist-based qualitative study, the purpose is to listen to artist-participants describe what it feels like to be inside one’s practice, and how having a practice supports their lives. The focus of the inquiry is on the subjective experience and personal value of each artist’s practice. The artists included in the study through open-ended conversational interviews are Claire Filmon, Kathleen Fisher, K.J. Holmes, Luis Lara Malvacías, Kara Jhalak Miller, Melinda Ring, Melanie Ríos Glaser, Michael Sakamoto, and Roxanne Steinberg. As the researcher, I find affinities between my dance making practice and qualitative inquiry that support the dissertation study. I devise a writing style that features a choreographed mix of the nine artist-participants’ voices, my informative and creative voices, and the voices of experts and scholars in other disciplines. I invent and employ a fictitious character who brings the total of research participants to nine, plus one. Using the Nine Plus One Voice throughout the dissertation, I offer movement scenes as interludes that invite the reader to experience movement in everyday adventures. I aim for the entire text to embody a sense of rhythm and motion, acknowledging dance and dance-like words as vehicles for knowledge of self and world. While honoring the uniqueness of each artist-participant’s experience of one’s self in practice, I acknowledge a deep spirit of adventuresome experimental dance that unites them.