Date of Award

2013

First Advisor

Wendy Shifrin

Second Advisor

Samuel Ruhmkorff

Abstract

This thesis explores dance theoretical texts in order to evaluate the emphasis that is placed on the spectator, which appears both in the content of the texts as well as their author’s mode of inquiry: writers tend to privilege the perspective of the spectator when analyzing and theorizing dance. A number of problems arise from this privileging, and consequently I argue that a comprehensive theory of dance must include considerations and concerns from the dancer and choreographer as well as the spectator. To this end, I examine interviews and testimonials from dancers and choreographers as well as embark on my own choreographic and performance project, in the hope of being better able to detail the particular perspectives of the artist(s). Ultimately, I hold that the distinction between artist(s) and spectator is an important one, but one which must not be taken to justify a hierarchy of any of these positions over another, for they all play an indispensable role in the constitution of a dance work.

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