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2012 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III - Session IV

Re-choreographing Power

Concert dance occupies a unique vantage point when considering the power dynamics surrounding gender as identity in western society. With a history of gender transgression as well as the many connotations of “performing” gender on stage, dance has the capacity to model and embody transformation of the often-essentialized concept of gender, as well as ensuing interactions between individuals. As an ephemeral experience, existing only in the moment of its transmission and reception, a concert dance work does not achieve immortality in the same way as a work of literature. Its power exists primarily in the present, in the connection between performer and audience that can be described as kinesthetic empathy. This paper will problematize the relationship between power, commonly understood in society as involving the potential for physical or psychological action upon others, and empathy, which posits the necessity of mutual exchange. The concepts of power and empathy are each bogged down by histories of association with masculinity and femininity, respectively. Concert dance works will be proffered as a location to consider and exemplify conflating power with empathy via shared experience, thereby rewriting the gendered nuances that affect life beyond the stage.

Presenters: Rebecca McArthur (The College at Brockport, State University of New York) --
Hannah Seidel (The College at Brockport, State University of New York) --
Mariko Yamada (The College at Brockport, State University of New York) --
Topic: Dance - Panel
Location: Strasser Studio Dance - Hartwell
Time: 3:15 pm (Session IV)