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2012 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III - Session IV

Seducing the Present: Performance, Affect Theory and Release Technique

This paper examines the possibility that a magnification of the present instant at the expense of an ever-encroaching past and future is experienced in a poetic encounter with art. An underexplored period in the development of contemporary dance theatre in mid-twentieth century America saw a marked shift in how and for what means movement was initiated. Release technique, as an umbrella term encapsulating somatic and anatomical approaches to the body, abandons form, tension and synchronization for a focus on breath, ease of tension, bone-based use of momentum and an internal impetus for movement. This paper unpacks the idea that release technique, as contemporary dance training, is a means toward affect in performance. The intended affect being an experience of the present. Changes release technique brought to conceptions of the dancing body; how it manifested and reflected in the choreographic work of the time in relation to its socio-political environment and the particular contribution it plays in the embodied temporal experience of live performance is addressed. Affect theory, philosophical inquiry into temporality, historical dance knowledge and experience as a dancer help to ground the research.

Presenter: Danielle Baskerville (York University) --
Topic: Dance - Panel
Location: Strasser Studio Dance - Hartwell
Time: 4 pm (Session IV)