We Interrupt This Program: States of Continuous Audience Interference as Dance Performance

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Mandi Taylor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Teresa Heiland

Abstract: We Interrupt This Program was a choreographic exploration and a series of performance engagements investigating relationships between the roles of performer, choreographer, audience, and director by integrating multimodal interruptions as a tool for play and choreographic methods. The participants worked to remain in a liminal space between clarity and confusion, between control and relinquishing as they navigated through the interruptions. The challenge was to see if inviting the audience to co-direct and co-author the engagement impact this vulnerability and gameplay. To examine what interruptions could offer the cognitive, kinesthetic, and social-emotional processes of a dance ensemble and its director and audience, I developed a process of operations to follow using gameplay, word cues, tasks, and restrictions that pushed the limits of memorization and interruption to challenge vulnerability and skill with staying in the game. In 40 two-hour rehearsals, I worked with three female dancers using these choreographic and improvisational tasks, followed by journaling and discussions about experiences. This work culminated in seven different performance engagements with varying audience participants at each event. To push the dancers’ and audience’s sensitization, I created 32 interruptive commands made up of verbal, visual, and audial stimuli just for the audience to use. By inviting audiences to interfere with dancers’ execution of movement and choreography, I assessed how those interactions could influence the performance experience and relationships. The exchange between them created a valuing of the movement beyond the typical value placed on a production, which is part of the usual improvisation dance experience. The quick decision making and requirement to execute movement without time to process through it showcased the phenomenological process of being in the moment. Guiding the dancers to consciously focus on what they were sensing, thinking, and feeling as they responded to interruptions highlighted the thinking through the body that dance can require. Collaboration between the audience, choreographer, and performers and quick thinking showcases the high intellectual level possible in dance performance as those involved had to quickly problem solve and react to one another to progress the performance. Having the audience participate in the making of the dance evokes a playfulness that most audiences were previously unaware was possible.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2021
dance, choreography, interruption, participative performance, process as performance, collaborative performance, kinesthetic sensitization, gameplay in performance

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