Moving with the Earth: Site-sensitive dance in transition

Date

2011-05-30

Authors

Ashley, Tamara

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Abstract

Over the past few years, I have cultivated a site-sensitive performance practice that seeks to move with the earth in ecologically sustainable ways. Often this work has been performed in partnership with others in collaborative inquiry. The nature of working with others, of co-developing knowledge and of developing trust and rapport in the sometimes challenging processes of working artistically in the environment informs the ways in which I approach this research. Through case study research of three ecologically concerned movement artists, I explore what it might mean to move with the earth: artistically, ecologically, sustainably and ethically.

In the dissertation, I discuss how improvisation serves as an entry to in depth emergent and participatory movement and dance practices within the lived in landscapes of each of the case study artists. The practice of improvisation is articulated as one that embodies dynamic, unfolding and emergent qualities. Deleuze and Guattari's concept of becoming is explored as a theoretical pivot point of resonance in which the idea of a subject as an ecological entity is put forward. The idea of the subject as an ecological entity engaged in a process of becoming created methodological and ethical entry points for the research, and informed a research design that incorporated heuristics, artistic practice as research, performance making and portraiture.

Through each of the chapters, I explore the ways in which the movement and dance knowledge of each of the artists informs a transition from site-sensitive to ecological performance. This transition is enabled by the conceptualization of the EARTH AS SCORE that informs a PARTICIPATORY ECOLOGY in which art practices and ecologically sustainable living are integrated. The idea of the subject as an ecological entity is then analyzed within the context of the artists' work and an ethics of ecologically sustainable movement practices proposes the idea of PERFORMANCE AS A GROUND FOR AN ETHICAL LIFE. Through the research, I illustrate how improvised durational ecological choreographic practices can inform civic dialogue and contribute to broader trans-disciplinary discourses on ecological sustainability and environmental change.

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Keywords

Philosophy, Religion and theology, Communication and the arts, Education, Choreography, Contemplative, Dance, Ecological performance, Ecology, Improvisation, Site-sensitive dance, Somatics

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