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De-desiring Dance Languaging for the Emergence of Dance Thinking“

Kadri Sirel


The research asks how dance thinking can emerge in a language-mediated culture. While acknowledging dance and language as mediums of thought, equally capable of world-making, the project claims that Western logocentrism subjugates dance to its frames of thinking, thus, constructing dance languaging. Bound to the market, dance languaging profits from dancers’ virtuosity and multidimensional attention by selling the fantasy of the ideal, multitasking neoliberal subject. With that the project recognizes that neoliberalism has determined desire by labour-power and proposes to de-desire – a choreographic practice that with chance operations, autobiography, and somatic practice disorients the dancing and choreographing subjectivities’ desire stuck in neoliberal predicaments and enables the emergence of dance thinking.

Dance thinking is an embodied and relational meaning-making process expected to mediate alternative (market) relations. Here, the relationship between the dancer and the dance (unfolding in the process of dancing) becomes the landscape where desire is disoriented. Furthermore, the practice of de-desiring expands the relational landscape between the dancer and the dance between the dancer’s relationship with other dancers, environment, and audience. The practice aims to distance the dancer from pre-given expectations, definitions, and meanings to one’s encounters (with dance, dancers, environment, the audience) to mediate rhizomatic and intra-active modes of desiring where meanings of dance and, with that, the neoliberal evaluation of dancers’ labour (dance languaging) can be renegotiated.
Some of the findings show that de-desiring initiates choreographic writing from within the dancing body and its relational entanglements. This occurrence evidences how dance thinking reconfigures choreographing, a form of languaging that traditionally forms and orders dances and the meaning of dance in society. In the dance performance “Holy Motors“, dance thinking invited the audience on its relational field and suggested their transformation from a witness to a with-ness - where the one looking becomes entangled with the one seen. The research sees further potential in dance-thinking to unstuck the concept of labour from its connotation to profit, product, and efficiency and re-think it from within the (a)live interactions that it occurs.

Supervisor: Dr. Mariella Greil
External mentors: Rosalind Goldberg and jörg piringer

Keywords: dance, choreography, language, de-disciplining, desire, neoliberalism, capitalism, labour

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