Pizzicato Porno, Dirty Filthy Diamonds, NICE, and The Show about Men: Devised Dance Theatre Productions

Date

2018-05

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Abstract

In 1983, Mark Dendy made his New York debut. Three years later, Lloyd Newson’s company, DV8, staged their first productions in London. Over the next 23 years, dance as a performance art would evolve and give rise to Sidra Bell, who in 2009 began finding her footing in the national and international dance scene. Their work represents three novel variations of Tanztheater, a style of dance that emerged in 1927 at the height of German Expressionism. That term would come back into favor in the 1980s to describe the dramatic work of German choreographer Pina Bausch, whose methods collected the various threads of performance art— including, avant-garde dance, traditional dance forms, theatre sets, dramatic narratives, classical music, and everyday dialogue—and wove them together into an intricate tapestry that would become its own art form, giving rise to an entirely new performance tradition. Pieces like Café Müller and The Rite of Spring put classically trained dancers in physical conversations with normative movement techniques giving birth to an entirely new convention. The trend would catch on globally and push artists to take greater risks in expression and form by reinterpreting subjects, themes, appearances, assumptions, and even performers. That was the beginning of dance theatre. This creative dissertation examines four original works, Pizzicato Porno, Dirty Filthy Diamonds, NICE, and The Show About Men, and how they relate to some of dance theatre’s seminal productions as a way to explore genre development and the lasting effects of German Expressionism, postmodernism, and contemporary dance. Each examines relationships between and within the sexes—a central theme among the dance theatre canon where partnering, appearance, and tradition often represent paradoxical rifts between practice and principle. Focused research targets the form’s historical milieu, criticism focused on selected foundational works, and primary sources on essential expressions of the avant-garde, devised, verbatim, and feminist theatrical praxis. Video and photographic documentation of original works also explore their second life, a novel contribution to the tradition arising like an echo of the original performance in the digital domain—germination of a whole new dimension, one without decay. The ultimate goal of this study is to garner credibility for contemporary dance theatre as its own form, not merely a hybrid of other arts, and thus stands as a foundational work for practitioners interested in the historical development of their craft.

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Dance, Theater, Tanztheater, Modern dance, Bausch, Pina, Newson, Lloyd, DV8 Physical Theatre, Dendy, Mark

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©2018 Danielle Marie Georgiou. All Rights Reserved.

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