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Ghost-Bodies: History, Performance and Practice in Contemporary Dance in France 1980–2000′.

D'Amelio, Toni. (2004) Ghost-Bodies: History, Performance and Practice in Contemporary Dance in France 1980–2000′. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Ghost-Bodies: History, Performance, and Practice in Contemporary Dance in France 1980-2000 explores a phenomenon in dance known as “muscle memory”, that ability which the dancing body develops acutely, which allows a dancer to remember choreography, and even to perform steps automatically. This ability is crucial to dance’s history and future, both of which are characterised by an oral tradition of transmission. The common belief that muscle memory, and the body image upon which it depends, are enduring constructions, is opposed by contemporary neuroscience. Recent research into phantom limbs suggests that the body image is, rather, a malleable construct, and challenges the perception of the body image’s stability that is widespread in dance today. Science provides explanatory models which enter popular culture. These metaphors, which conceptualise the workings of the human organism, affect the way in which the dancing body perceives and acts. Yet these metaphors are also reshaped by the art-making of the human. The thesis offers a metaphorology of dance techniques now dominating practice in France. It proposes a new model for conceptualising how subjectivities are constructed and perpetuated: the ghost-body. The ghost-body is a synthesis of information arising from techniques of conceptualising, perceiving, and acting. Two ghost bodies currently dominate contemporary dance in France. The first, the Ghost-Body-as-Clockwork, is traced in Enlightenment philosophy and science; in the arts, through works by Edgar Degas and the ballet Coppelia", and in the dance studio, through the mechanical metaphors used by classical ballet. The Ghost-Body-as-Marionette is traced in the Romantic movement, through the scientific movement of vitalism and the pseudo-scientific movement of mesmerism; in the arts, through gothic literature and the romantic ballet, as well as through their revival in the work of Pina Bausch and Pedro Almodovar; and in the dance studio, through metaphors of strings and passive movement.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : D'Amelio, Toni.
Date : 2004
Additional Information : Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 2004.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 24 Apr 2020 15:27
Last Modified : 24 Apr 2020 15:27

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