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The Hospitality of Surrender: Re-situating Agency within Dance Practice

Ella Tighe


The Hospitality of Surrender; Resituating Agency in Dance Practice is a practice as research project. This thesis is an accompaniment to two dance practices Form and Streaming and a performance entitled FORMLESS. The research advocates for an expansive understanding of surrender, opposing the colloquial perspective which is based around letting go or giving up one’s power to another. Drawing from an eclectic range of sources, specifically that of psychology and yoga surrender is outlined as state. In taking a yogic perspective the state of surrender is experienced as a state of being, presence and quality of which the dancer encounters through practice. Identifying surrender as a state, shifts surrender away from its conflation with submission, not determining surrender through binaries of doer/done to but instead as intra-active and emergent depending on the conditions of which it emerges through and with. Surrender in this research redistributes the concept of agency and is purposefully not bound to hierarchies of power and control. This situates the dancer in a position of ownership and choice, with the ability to navigate conditions arising in the practice which extend into collaboration and an encounter with an audience.

Supervisor: Dr Mariella Greil

External mentors: Lucy Suggate and Sri Louise

Keywords: form, formlessness, surrender

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