Talk this Dance

On the conceptualisation of dance as fictive conversation

Authored by: Ana Margarida Abrantes , Esther Pascual

The Routledge Companion to Theatre, Performance, and Cognitive Science

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138048898
eBook ISBN: 9781315169927
Adobe ISBN:


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As a means of expression, the unequivocally physical experience of dance is typically construed and spoken about in communicative terms, as a ‘conversation between body and soul,’ a ‘dialogue between dancers’ or a means to ‘tell a story’ to an audience (Brandt 2015; Pascual and Brandt 2015). This chapter analyses this metaphor through a case study of Tiago Rodrigues’ choreography A Perna Esquerda de Tchaikovski (‘Tchaikovsky’s Left Leg’). In this performance a ballerina engages in different interactions: (i) with the audience, to whom she tells her life story, (ii) with the pianist on stage, who silently complies with her requests, and, most remarkably, (iii) with her own body, which she presents as the locus of autobiographical memory and of ‘thinking with the body’ (Kirsh 2011).

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