Past CDR Events

Past CDR Events 2017/2018

As the academic year proceeds, past events are listed here in alphabetical order by the speakers’ surname.

Perceptual Patterns and Routinized Expectations of Dance Audiences

Professor Gabriele Klein, Professor for Sociology of Body, Movement and Dance, Hamburg University, Germany
16 November 2017, 17.00–18.30, Grove House, room GH009, Froebel Campus, University of Roehampton

The global reputation of Tanztheater Wuppertal is based on multiple and complex practices of medial, cultural and aesthetic translations. In the tension between past, present and future, between memory, experience and imagination and between cultures and societies, these translations are following different, interrelated temporalities. ‘Being’, ‘becoming’ and ‘the having become’ are reciprocally related to one another, insofar as the future is not only perceived as an open but also as an already completed process.

This lecture pursues the thesis that the aesthetically unexpected of a dance performance is confronted with routinized perceptual patterns of the audience and that the ‘being affected’ of the spectators is always already permeated by an habitualized knowledge.

By analysing audience interviews, dance reviews and video analyses of the piece VIKTOR (1986) I will follow the methodology of a “praxeological dance analysis”, developed in the project. This methodology understands production as the development, performance and reception of a dance piece and sees these production processes characterised by multiple, complex translation practices. I will present a praxeological approach that (1) doesn’t locate the artistic ‘product’ just in the choreography itself but within the artistic practices and (2) will focus even more on the interrelationship between production and reception.

Based on the practice-theoretical concept of translation I ask about the how of translation: Which scenes, narrations and affects will prevail in the perception of the audience? Through which routines and knowledge is this perception shaped? What is the relationship between the ‘piece’ itself and the (journalistic and academic) discourse that (co-)produces the production of knowledge of the Tanztheater Wuppertal for years?

The lecture presents partial results of the research project “Gestures of Dance – Dance as Gesture. Cultural and Aesthetic Translations in International Co-Productions by the Tanztheater Wuppertal”, supported by the German Research Foundation.

At Hamburg University, Gabriele Klein (Prof. Dr. rer. soc.) is the Director of the master’s programme Performance Studies, Speaker of the research group “Translation and Framing: Practices of Medial Transformations”, Co-Speaker of the research training group “Loose Connections: Collectivity at the intersection of digital and urban space”, and Principal Investigator of the academic and artistic graduate program “Aesthetics of the Virtual”. She has been Visiting Professor at UCLA’s Department for Performance Studies (USA), University in Bern (Switzerland), University for Music and Performing Arts “Mozarteum” Salzburg (Austria), and Smith College (USA), as well as research fellow at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa and Osaka City University, Japan. Her research focuses are urban movement and dance cultures, Pop cultures, and theory of movement, dance and performance as well as body sociology.

Wigman the Witch

Alexandra Kolb, Professor of Dance, University of Roehampton
8 November 2017, 12.30-13.45, Cedar, room ED106, Froebel Campus, University of Roehampton

My paper investigates the three versions of Mary Wigman’s Hexentanz (Witch Dance) in the context of the different political regimes which they spanned. The changing cultural milieus shaped – through Wigman’s imagination if not necessarily consciously – the works’ forms and iconographies. The witch figure relates to pre-industrial, pre-Christian Germanic identity and sparked considerable interest among völkisch and indeed Nazi groups. Wigman’s dances present a kaleidoscope of different treatments of the witch motif, encompassing (variously) the life reform movement, an intercultural fusion with oriental performance traditions, and a strand of paganism which also influenced National Socialism. They converge, however, around a unifying critique of modernity.

Recovering Kenneth MacMillan’s Lost Ballets

Lynne Wake, independent dance documentary filmmaker, UK
15 November 2017, 12.30-13.45, Cedar, Room ED106, Froebel Campus, University of Roehampton

The early works of one of Britain’s greatest choreographers are largely overlooked, many of them lost completely. In this seminar, filmmaker Lynne Wake talks about the making of her documentary ‘New Wave Ballet’, which focuses on MacMillan’s choreography from 1952 to 1962. By interviewing dancers who helped create MacMillan’s first ballets, and restoring unique films made at the time, it became possible to get a sense of how revolutionary MacMillan’s ballets were in his formative years. This is part of a larger project, ‘The Golden Age of British Ballet’, which aims to restore films of key works created for the Royal Ballet from the 1950s-70s and to record interviews with dancers of the time.

Lynne Wake was a dancer with Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet for eight years. She then joined Oscar-winner Kevin Brownlow’s Photoplay Productions working on film history documentaries, and on the restoration of classic silent films including Abel Gance’s ‘Napoleon’. She now makes dance documentaries.