Investigating Choreographic Principles, Methodologies & Form

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSCC2DP2024

Semester and Year Offered: Winter 2019

Course Coordinator and Team: Mandeep Raikhy

Email of course coordinator: mandeep[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: This course is suitable for the students who have a general interest in dance/ performance-making.

Course Objectives/Description:

Investigating Choreographic Principles, Methodologies & Form examines the creative processes of current and historical practitioners specifically in terms of the choices they make about form, content and methodology. The course aims to survey a range of voices from the field of dance in India.

The course will begin with a focus on practitioners who have experimented with classical dance forms over the last few decades. With a focus on these histories and embedded movement principles, the course throws open multiple entry points for students to engage with form as a starting point for choreographic inquiry. The students will subsequently enter the processes of a range of current practitioners who look at form, interdisciplinarity and identity through their work, exploring the critical dimensions of these methodologies.

At the end of this course, students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of values, methodologies and politics of key practitioners. Through their practical work, class discussions and written and/or portfolio submissions, students will demonstrate the understanding of the critical potential of practice, whether it be of form, content or context.

Course Outcomes:

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Assimilate the experience of engaging with a range of current practices in dance in India with a focus on principles and methodologies.
  • Develop an understanding of form as a pivotal device for choreographic practice
  • Attain an approach to performance-making with is pegged on questions, inquiry and criticality.
  • Critically engage with the role of a performer within a range of choreographic approaches.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Weeks 1-3

Workshop with Navtej Johar

workshop begins with sampling extracts of existing solo repertoire, breaking it down as a way to understand the idea of positioning within and populating of imagined performative space with unseen objects which make the dancer move. The aim of the training is to offer a degree of clarity vis-a-vis the location of dance within a larger historical and sociological context; help shift the onus of movement-making to and within the material of the body; and finally propose the idea of a space that is itself alive with imagination, so that dance becomes a play between body and space within a more resolved historical context.

Week 4

Assimilation Week

Weeks 5-7

Creation Workshop with Padmini Chettur

Through the re-creation of a section of existing choreography, dancers will gain access to the actual processes of making as well as performing a collective work. This module will not be about learning or imitating movement phrases, but to imagine the building of form and structure out of a conceptual proposition. The group will 'rehearse' the material together with a view to understanding the need for particular qualities, specific ways to be in the space or even just how to focus, how to connect with the other bodies etc. The module will also deal with understanding performative choices like entering space, the relationship with sound, transitions. This could possibly lead into individual projects from some dancers to build short pieces for the group.

Week 8

Assimilation Week

Weeks 9-10

Identity and Gender as a Source for Performance-making with Mandeep Raikhy

The workshop will look at works like ‘Inhabited Geometry’, ‘a male ant has straight antennae’ and ‘Queen-size’ and deconstruct ways in which notions of identity and gender have been explored through these works. The workshop will lead students to formulate their own questions around identity and gender and construct short sketches around these questions.

Week 11

Assimilation Week

Week 12-13

The Transparent Performer with Zuleikha Chaudhari

The Transparent Performer considers the role of the performer in the performative experience – is the performer a site of emotive expression, an object in space, or a site on which reality and fiction is staged? It looks at the medium/material of the performer in relationship to text, structures of narrative, modes of address, spatial and temporal organisation, as well as the visual and the acoustic.

Week 14

Consolidation Week: Development & Presentation of Short Works

Students will identify one key practitioner whose practice they resonate with and discuss with their tutor how their method will provide a starting point for developing their own methodology.

Assessment Details with weights:

The objective of the assessment is to evaluate the students’ understanding and ability to apply the choreographic methodologies introduced to them through the semester.

  • Participation in creative process and performance until mid-sem (20%)
  • Participation in creative process and performance after mid-sem (20%)
  • Mid-semester assimilation: creative responses, lecture demonstrations, presentations (20%)
  • End-semester assimilation: creative responses, lecture demonstrations, presentations (20%)
  • Reflective journal (1500-2000 words) to be submitted at the end of the semester (20%)

Reading List:

1. Carlson, M. (2013). Performance: A critical introduction. Routledge.

2. Fortenberry, D. & Morrill, R. (eds) (2015). The body in art. London: Phaidon Press.

3. Foster, S. L. (2010). Choreographing empathy: Kinesthesia in performance. Routledge.

4. Hunter, V. (Ed.). (2015). Moving sites: Investigating site-specific dance performance. Routledge.

Kermani, S. (2016). Centre Stage: Gender, Politics and Performance in South Asia. New Delhi: Women Unlimited.

6. Lerman, L. (2014). Hiking the horizontal: Field notes from a choreographer. Wesleyan University Press.

7. Østern, T. P. (2009). Meaning-making in the dance laboratory: Exploring dance improvisation with differently bodied dancers. Helsinki: Yliopistopaino.

8. Phelan, P., & Lane, J. (Eds.). (1998). The ends of performance. NYU Press.

9. Preston Dunlop, V. (1998) Looking at Dances: A Choreological Perspective on Choreography. London: Verve

Profeta, K. (2015). Dramaturgy in Motion: At Work on Dance and Movement Performance. University of Wisconsin Pres.

11. Shusterman, R. (2018). Performing live: Aesthetic alternatives for the ends of art. Cornell University Press.

12. Thomas, H. (2003). The body, dance and cultural theory. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

13. Turner, B. S. (1996). The body and society. London: Sage.