Curating Live Arts: Critical Perspectives, Essays and Conversations on Theory and Practice

Edited by Dena Davida, Marc Pronovost, Véronique Hudon and Jane Gabriels
Berghahn Books, 2018

Situated at the crossroads of performance practice, museology, and cultural studies, live arts curation has grown in recent years to become a vibrant interdisciplinary project and a genuine global phenomenon. Curating Live Arts brings together bold and innovative essays from an international group of theorist-practitioners to pose vital questions, propose future visions, and survey the landscape of this rapidly evolving discipline. Reflecting the field’s characteristic eclecticism, the writings assembled here offer practical and insightful investigations into the curation of theatre, dance, sound art, music, and other performance forms—not only in museums, but in community, site-specific, and time-based contexts, placing it at the forefront of contemporary dialogue and discourse.

Reviews

“The outstanding group of researchers in this innovative book engage in a lucid flow of passion and creative power. Its narratives are drawn from experimental approaches grounded in their authors’ rich lives. This anthology is comprised of unexpected revelations about curation that break the barriers of its canonic definitions, while remaining concerned with Beauty as a fundamental value and the live arts as a celebration of living.” • Alma Salem, independent curator, Syria Sixth Space

“This is a rich, global compilation of pieces that explore issues of power, community, inclusiveness, belonging, aesthetics, history, embodiment, epistemology, and pedagogy, all within the context of performance and the live arts.” • Nicole Stanton, Wesleyan University

“In seeking to reinvigorate one of the art world’s most ubiquitous terms, Curating Live Arts both interrogates and celebrates the historical in tandem with new possibilities for intervention into the complex space between artists, arts workers, art projects, participants and audiences. It asks critical questions about the values, the sensibilities, and the preoccupations of curating the live arts, and includes writing from artists, curators, and activists working in politically urgent contexts far removed from the centres of ‘high’ art. This wide-ranging anthology makes an invaluable contribution to the complex aspirations of this ever-expanding field.” • Sarah Miller, University of Wollongong

Buy Curating Live Arts at Berghahn Books

Table of contents

PROLOGUE Bethinking One’s Own Strengths: The Performative Potential of Curating by Florian Malzacher

A COLLECTIVE INTRODUCTIONby Dena Davida, Jane Gabriels, Véronique Hudon, and Marc Pronovost

A NOTE ON CURATORIAL STATEMENTS. A THIRD SPACE: CHASING
THE INTANGIBLE
by Michèle Steinwald and Michael Trent

PART I. Historical Framings

CHAPTER 1From Context to Concept: The Emergence of the Performance Curator — byBertie Ferdman

CURIOSITY AND INTUITION | Marie Claire Forté

CHAPTER 2Exhibiting Performances: Process and Valorization
in When Attitudes Become Forms—Bern 1969 / Venice 2013 —
by Beatrice von Bismarck

CHAPTER 3Can We Curate Dance without Making a Festival? On Dance Curatorship and Its Shifting Borders — byElisa Ricci

CHAPTER 4Curating Performance from Africa for International Stages: Thoughts on Artistic Categories and Critical Discourse — by ‘Funmi Adewole with Jareh Das

UNTITLED | Isabel Sachs

CHAPTER 5The Curating Nation: Emergence of Performance Curation in Singapore and Its Impact on Cultural Politics – by Ken Takiguchi

CHAPTER 6The Curatorial Chronotope – by Peter Dickinson

LAYERS | Harun Morrison

CHAPTER 7More Weirdness, More Joy: Performance Curation
and Pedagogy at Danspace Project and the Institute for Curatorial
Practice in Performance
– by Judy Hussie-Taylor

PART II. Ethical Proposals

CHAPTER 8Dancing the Museum – by Thomas F. DeFrantz

CHAPTER 9Curatorial Discourse and Equity: Tensions in Contemporary Dance Presenting in the United States – by Naomi M. Jackson

HOLY MOTOR—A MECHANICAL METAPHOR SURROUNDING THE LIVE ARTS CURATOR | Cécile Tonizzo

CHAPTER 10Noticing the Feedback: A Proposal to the Contemporary Dance Field, and/or This Revolution Will Be Crowdsourced – by Michèle Steinwald

CHAPTER 11Email to a Curator: An Introduction to The Curators’ Piece– by Tea Tupajić and Petra Zanki

CURATING LIVENESS | Victoria Mohr-Blakeney

CHAPTER 12Curation as a Form of Artistic Practice:
Context as a New Work through UK-based Forest Fringe
– by Deborah Pearson

 

PART III. The Artist-Curators

CHAPTER 13The Artist-Curator, or the Philosophy of “Do-It-Yourself” – by Julie Bawin

“SOFT CURATION,” POLLINATION, AND RHIZOMES | Yves Sheriff

CHAPTER 14Being in the Vanguard of Sensibility: Artists as Curators in Performing Arts—a Study of Collective Affect – by Kasia Tórz

CHAPTER 15Familias: Artist-Activist Curation in the South Bronx, New York – by Jane Gabriels

CHAPTER 16What We Talk About When We Talk About Curating the “Unexpected” – by Syreeta McFadden

GREATER THAN | Shoshona Currier  

CHAPTER 17Because I Love Art, I Want Art to Be Different: The Project Perverse Curating and a Few Things I’ve Learned from It – by Jacob Wren

CHAPTER 18Making Stage: Contemporary Dance and Performance Curation in the Caribbean – by Makeda Thomas

AS WE | Nadège Grebmeier Forget

CHAPTER 19The Work of the Musician-Curator in Relation to the “Concert Scenario” by Marie-Hélène Breault

CHAPTER 20Pseudo-, Anti-, and Total Dance: A Self-Interview: Collective Creation and Improvised Curation – by SALTA

CHAPTER 21A Discussion with Body Slam – by the Body Slam Improv Collective: Gregory Selinger, Helen Simard, Roger White, Xavier Laporte, Victoria Mackenzie, and Claudia Chan Tak

PART IV. Exhibitions as Events

CHAPTER 22A New Kind of Critical Elsewhere – by Travis Chamberlain

CHAPTER 23Re-enact History? Performing the Archive! – by Julia Kurz

CHAPTER 24Choreographing Archives, Curating Choreographers: Yvonne Rainer, Xavier Le Roy, and the Dance Retrospective – by Fabien Maltais-Bayda and Joseph Henry

THE TITLE AS THE CURATOR’S ART PIECE | Steve Giasson

CHAPTER 25Exhibiting Dance, Performing Objects: Cultural Mediation in the Museum – by Erin Joelle McCurdy

CHAPTER 26The Curator’s Work: Stories and Experiences from Tino Sehgal’s Events—byVéronique Hudon

 

PART V. Artivism

CHAPTER 27Framing a Network, Charting Dis/Courses: Performance Curation, Community Work, and the Logic/Anxieties of an Emerging Field – by Roselle Pineda

CURATE | Natalie Doonan

CHAPTER 28Food=Need: Constraints, Reflexivity, and Community Performance – by Pam Patterson

CHAPTER 29ARC.HIVE of Contemporary Arab Performing Arts: Memory, Catastrophe, Resistance, and Oblivion – by Adham Hafez

CHAPTER 30Collective Walks / Spaces of Contestation:
Site-Specificity, Community Involvement, and Mobility Employed as Curatorial Strategies in the Creation of Participatory Performances
– by Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte

CHAPTER 31Sound Citizen: Curating Sound Art in the Distributed Public Sphere – by Morten Søndergaard

CURATION AS A PRACTICE OF RADICAL CARE: A DEFINITION | Nicole L. Martin

 

PART VI. Institutional Reinventions

CHAPTER 32Rethinking the Role of Institutions and Curators in a New Interdisciplinary Age – by Philip Bither

CHAPTER 33The Curator as a Culture Producer – by Marta Keil

DEFINITION OF CURATION | SALTA

CHAPTER 34How to Build a Manifesto for the Future of a Festival: “Festivals as Thinking Entities,” a Conversation with Judith Blackenberg, Daniel Blanga-Gubbay, Silvia Bottiroli, and Livia Andrea Piazza, initiated by Silvia Bottiroli and Berno Odo Polzer – by Silvia Bottiroli

CHAPTER 35The Curatorial Gesture as a Decolonial Gesture — Arnaldo Rodriguez Bagué

PROPOSING INTERVALS—CURATING AS CHOREOGRAPHY | Gabriele Brandstetter

CHAPTER 36Are You Not Entertained? Curating Performance
within the Institution
– by Rie Hovmann Rasmussen

CHAPTER 37Bodies in Museums: Institutional Practices and Politics – by Véronique Hudon withBoris Charmatz  

CURATING HISTORY, CURATING RESISTANCE | Jaamil Kosoko

CHAPTER 38What Can Contemporary Art Perform? And Then Transgress? – by Emelie Chhangur

EPILOGUESituation Critical: What Comes Next for the Field of Performance Curation? – by Tom Sellar

THE PARABLE OF THE CURATOR | Michel Herreria (drawing) and Jean-Paul Rathier (text)

INDEX

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Renegade Bodies: Canadian Dance in the 1970s

Edited by Allana C. Lindgren and Kaija Pepper
Dena Davida, contributing author
Dance Collection Danse, 2012

Renegade Bodies

Comprising 15 essays by Canadian writers and scholars, Renegade Bodies is a book that embraces lively discussion about artistic and cultural shifts along with the social and political transformations of the 1970s. How were dance and its practitioners affected by the vigorous and varying beliefs, the principles and key societal trends of the times?

During the decade, dance literally exploded onto the scene as audiences, worldwide, flocked to performances. The times were defined in Canada by public debate inspired by second-wave feminism, gay rights, multiculturalism, separatism and nationalism. And dance finally found an intellectual home in universities across the country.

Renegade Bodies: Canadian Dance in the 1970s queries how the art form contributed to and was informed by this dynamic zeitgeist. From, for example, Newfoundland’s spirited cultural revolution, to the sometimes frictioned start-up of dance degree programs in Canadian post-secondary institutions, to the artists who challenged the status quo at 15 Dance Lab, to the ground-breaking and liberating performances in a gay Vancouver night club, to the infighting within the country’s first dance service organization … readers get fresh insights into the characters and conditions of the times.

The writers provide insightful, sometimes surprising and always thoughtful accounts of dance during the 1970s – presenting a lively record of a lively time and bringing a pivotal decade in the country’s cultural history into sharp focus.

Read Dena’s chapter Like cactuses in the desert: the flourishing of dance in Montréal universities in the 1970s

Buy Renegade Bodies at Dance Collection Danse Press/es.



Fields in Motion: Ethnography in the Worlds of Dance

Dena Davida, editor
Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2011

Fields in Motion: Ethnography in the Worlds of Dance

This premier anthology of ethnographic stories from around the world examines the deeper meanings and resonances of artistic dance in contemporary culture.  The twenty-eight dancer-scholars in this volume have ventured out into the fields of their own dance communities (and in some cases of their own lives in dance) to witness and investigate what people do and say inside the studios and theatres of these professional dance worlds.

These ethnographic and autoethnographic narratives bring an insider’s insight to the various accounts of the nature and function of these artistic practices, giving voice to dance teachers, dancers, creators, programmers, spectators, students and scholars. The book spans five continents, and this group of authors is also intergenerational, with texts conceived by both young and by well-established dance researchers.  Writing genres range from vividly poetic to meticulous, sober research reports.  The twenty-four chapters are grouped into four areas:  methods and methodologies, auto-ethnography, pedagogies and creative processes, and choreographies as cultural and spiritual representations.

Fields in Motion brings together twenty-eight scholars interested in approaching dance from an ethnographic perspective.… What makes the book special is that the contributors all focus largely on theatre dance, rather than on other genres more embedded within circumscribed communities, generally the domain of anthropologists specializing in dance. Although Joann Kealiinohomoku showed us the way in the late 1960s and 1970s by demonstrating that all dances are culturally rooted, art dance still remains, for many, beyond ethnographic enquiry since it is often perceived as ‘outside culture.’… The authors take us on exciting journeys and the reader enters the worlds of dancers, spectators and researchers in a variety of social and cultural contexts, sometimes with great intimacy, at other times with more detachment, but always with heightened sensitivity. Reading allows for discovery of the many ways in which dancing bodies may be socially and culturally mediated so that our understanding of theatre dance gains greater nuances. – Andrée Grau, Roehampton University

This collection of ground-breaking scholarly research points to a new direction for both dance studies and dance anthropology, arising from the postcolonial predicament:  ethnography at home in the art worlds of dance.  Traditionally the exclusive domain of aesthetic philosophers, the art of dance is here reframed as cultural practice and its significance is revealed through a chorus of voices from practitioners and insider ethnographers.

Buy Fields in Motion at WLU Press, Amazon.com, and Indigo.

Table of contents


Contents

Foreword | Naomi Jackson (Canada/USA)

Acknowledgements

Introduction: Anthropology at Home in the Art Worlds of Dance | Dena Davida (Canada)

Section 1: Inventing Strategies, Models, and Methods

1. Shifting Positions: From the Dancers’ Posture to the Researchers’ Posture | Anne Cazemajou (France)

2. A Template for Art World Dance Ethnography: The Luna “Nouvelle Danser” Event | Dena Davida (Canada)

3. Interview Strategies for Concert Dance World Settings | Jennifer Fisher (Canada/USA)

4. The “Why Dance?” Projects: Choreographing the Text and Dancing the Data | Michèle Moss (Canada)

5. What is the Pointe?: The Pointe Shoe as Symbol in Dance Ethnography | Kristin Harris Walsh (Canada)

Section 2: Embodying Autoethnographies

6. Writing, Dancing, Embodied Knowing: Autoethnographic Research | Karen Barbour (New Zealand)

7. The Body as a Living Archive of Dance/Movement: Autobiographical Reflections | Janet Goodridge (England)

8. Self-Portrait of an Insider Researching Contemporary Dance and Culture in Vitória, Brazil | Eluza Maria Santos (Brazil/USA)

9. Reflections on Making the Dance Documentary Regular Events of Beauty: Negotiating Culture in the Work of Choreographer Richard Tremblay | Priya Thomas (Canada)

10. Angelwindow: “I dance my body double” | Inka Juslin (Finland)

Section 3: Examining Creative Processes and Pedagogies

11. The Montréal Danse Choreographic Research and Development Workshop: Dancer-Researchers Examine Choreographer-Dancer Relational Dynamics during the Creative Process | Pamela Newell and Sylvie Fortin (Canada)

12. How the Posture of Researcher-Practitioner Serves an Understanding of Choreographic Activity | Joëlle Vellet (France)

13. A Teacher “Self-Research” Project: Sensing Differences in the Teaching and Learning of Contemporary Dance Technique in New Zealand | Warwick Long (Canada/New Zealand), Ralph Buck (New Zealand), and Sylvie Fortin (Canada)

14. Dance Education and Emotions: Articulating Unspoken Values in the Everyday Life of a Dance School | Teija Löytönen (Finland)

15. Black Tights and Dance Belts: Constructing a Masculine Identity in a World of Pink Tutus in Corner Brook, Newfoundland | Candice Pike (Canada)

16. The Construction of the Body in Wilfride Piollet’s Classical Dance Classes | Nadége Tardieu and Georgiana Gore (France)

Section 4: Revealing Choreographies as Cultural and Spiritual Practices

17. Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe: Trance as a Cultural Commodity | Bridget E. Cauthery (Canada)

18. Anthropophagic Bodies in Flea Market: A Study of Sheila Ribeiro’s Choreography | Mônica Dantas (Brazil)

19. The Bridge From Past to Present in Lin Hwai-min’s Nine Songs (1993): Literary texts and dance images | Yin-ying Huang (Taiwan)

20. Revealed By Fire: Lata Pada’s Narrative of Transformation | Susan McNaughton (Canada)

21. Spectres of the Dark: The Dance-Making Manifesto of Latina/Chicana Choreographies | Juanita Suarez (USA)

22. Not of Themselves: Contemporary Practices in American Protestant dance | Emily Wright (USA)

Epilogue: Theory That Acts Like Dancing: The Autoethnographic Strut | Lisa Doolittle and Anne Flynn (Canada)

List of Contributors

Copyright Acknowledgements

Index