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Performing Geometries: Embodying Regular Euclidean Shapes by Means of the Dancing Body

Sophia Kondylia


Performing Geometries" research explores the performative and dramaturgical potentiality of dancing repetitively on, in and in relation to each of the three ideal Euclidean geometrical shapes (square, triangle, circle), while infinitely reducing their scale in space.

The regular shapes that have been selected for exploration, the equilateral triangle, the square, and the n-angled regular polygon (perceived as a never-met circle), form three different case studies of my research. So far, my case study on the square (2018-20) has generated "The Square" live performance (2019, 2020), "The Square" 30 min dance film (2020), the "Squared" 10 min short screendance film (2020), the Master Thesis "Performing Geometries: Embodying Regular Euclidean Shapes by Means of the Dancing Body. Case study: The Square" (2020), and the "Pictographic Glyphs” notation of the “The Square” physical document (2020). The other two case studies on the triangle and the n- angled regular polygon are yet to be explored.

Geometry is often related with mind operations, while dance with body operations. My research on the square has revealed a performative way of coupling geometry to dance, manifesting a constructive understanding of geometry as an embodied and sensorial experience, and of dance as a mindful and thinking process. My research practice combining formalism, minimalistic repetition, and the physical impossibility for the dance to keep being infinitely performed in physical space, has made explicit how fundamentally different the human body and mind work during the dancing praxis. Though their creative processing of information is simultaneous and inseparably bound during dancing, a dancer's body-mind togetherness cannot be taken for granted during it. It is revealed that both the body and the mind of a dancer are always operating within their limitations, conditioning both the dance and the perception of it.

The Practise-as-Research methodologies followed, led me to identify a mode of performance for embodying the square, by translating, qua kinaesthetic empathy, its structural properties, somatic and mental effects into dance. Moreover, my practice has shown that a formalistic, minimalistic, and repetitive dancing task, which is predetermined to fail in the physical space, has the potential to transform the original form of space (the square), and the original way of perceiving it, undoing the initial sense of failure.

Supervisor : Dr João Cerqueira da Silva Junior

External Mentor: Vassiliki Bacca

Keywords: dance, architecture, geometry, choreography, performance, kinesthetic, empathy, regular, shapes, square, repetition, minimalism, formalism, failure

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