‘I’m doing it, but I’m so in the moment…’: An Articulation and Understanding of ‘absorption’ for the Performer Towards an ‘optimal’ ‘mode of being/doing’ in ‘dance theatre’.
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Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
To enable the future publication of the research elsewhere
This thesis explores how we understand and articulate the idea of ‘absorption’ as a necessary aspect of an ‘optimal’ ‘mode of being/doing’ for the performer. By drawing upon pertinent aspects of the fields of phenomenology, consciousness studies, cognitive neuroscience and play theory coupled with Csikszentmihalyi’s notion of ‘flow’, the study develops a lexicon of terminology with which to articulate and understand the nature of ‘absorption’ for the performer in the context of ‘dance theatre’. By developing a focused articulation of the actual nature of ‘absorption’ for the performer in performance, seen as necessary to an ‘optimal’ ‘mode of being/doing’, the study intends to contribute to the language of discourse in this area of performance studies, and, importantly become a useful resource for the enquiring performer and practitioner. Consequently, in developing an understanding of ‘absorption’ for the performer, in order to edge closer to articulating an ‘optimal’ ‘mode of being/doing’ for the performer, the work and actions of the performer remain the focus of the study. The study is anchored in practice through examination of the work of three companies working within the genealogy of ‘dance theatre’. This multi-company approach gives a chronological and genealogical overview of ‘dance theatre’ practices useful in understanding ‘absorption’ for the performer, whilst also facilitating examination of individual points of practice within that overview. The companies profiled are: Pina Bausch, DV8 and Vincent Dance Theatre (VDT). The examination of work by Bausch and DV8 draws upon and reframes extant documentation of performance currently in the public domain. Examination of VDT’s work draws on original footage and interviews undertaken by the researcher during fieldwork.
PhD in Drama