Upcoming Dance Research Seminars University of Surrey

Wednesday 12th March 2014


22AC03 (Room 22, Bldg AC, Floor 03)


Eva Aymami Rene, University of Surrey PhD Candidate, ‘Dancing Democracy, Breaking Political Silences in Spain’

Dr Chloé Déchery, University of Surrey, ‘The Everyday Body in English and French Contemporary Performance: Creating a Common Space between Performers and Spectators’


Proposal (Rene):  Since the end of Francoism in 1975, women’s roles in Spain have been advancing towards gender equality, but the conflict between old fascist gender values and modern roles is still informing women’s subjectivity. By tracing the introduction of modern dance in Spain, my research explores the internal structures operating in the arrival of contemporary gender values in Spanish society.


Proposal (Déchery):The contemporary performance scene, in both France and England, can be distinguished by a common interest in the ‘Everyday Body.’ Discarding principles of representation, narrative logic, and characterisation, many of today’s practitioners choose instead to reflect a deliberately fallible and ordinary sense of their own corporality. This results in a notion of presence in which the presented body can somehow disappear and where a certain complicity with the audience is founded on a sense of common incompetence. The use of real time, the restriction of movement, and a questioning and dismantling of the traditional ideas of theatrical presentation and reception, all form ways of resisting the accelerated and intensified production cycle imposed by the cultural economy in which the work is produced. Refusing to be seduced by notions of grand spectacle or perfect technique, these performers produce less within their performance and therefore embrace an “anti-productive” creative pattern. At the same time, they create, in the theatre, a democratic space based on an equality of status between performers and spectators. Without seeking revolution or utopia, they enable a critical investigation of the theatrical space that can, for the duration of an event, create new ways for all those present to experience being together within that space.




Thursday 20th March 2014


22AC03 (Room 22, Bldg AC, Floor 03)


Alexandra Kolb, Middlesex University, ‘Privacy in Performance: Panopticon, Freedom or Human Right?’

Adam Alston, University of Surrey, ‘Secret Cinema, Secret Escapes and the Paradox of Secrecy’


Proposal (Kolb): This paper situates dance within topical debates on post-privacy, critically interrogating current trends involving the exposure of the private sphere in performance contexts. Although the fluidity between public and private spaces is highlighted daily through modern media and has been debated at length in philosophy, law and political science, its relevance to the arts has only recently attracted scholarly attention.  This paper breaks new ground by examining the opportunities as well as concerns resulting from the exposure of the private to the critical eyes of dance audiences. Selected contemporary works by American, German, New Zealand and Italian choreographers are analysed against the backdrop of different concepts of privacy developed in philosophical and legal thought. Using a kaleidoscope of examples ranging from gay ‘comings out’ and the use of Skype in performances to the conversion of private houses into performance venues, this paper tackles issues such as artists’ ethical responsibilities, individual agency, autonomy and human rights.


Proposal (Alston): This paper will explore the uses of secrecy in the marketing campaigns of Secret Escapes, a discount luxury travel website, and Secret Cinema, who create live, participatory cinema experiences. For both companies, secrecy is flaunted as an appealing attribute of their respective products. I argue that there is a compelling paradox bound up in the notion of flaunting secrecy. No longer are secrets hidden; the secret’s out! Secrecy has an appeal – an alluring, exclusive appeal – that is harnessed by marketers intent on including as many people as possible in a given campaign, provided they can afford to participate, or are willing to spread the word. I will propose that this ‘paradox of secrecy’ draws strength from an idea of exclusivity that ends up producing a form of inclusion premised on sales and the commodification of participation. This paradox will lead me to question the polarisation of ‘inclusion’ and ‘exclusion’ that often characterises discourse on participation. Attempts to include audiences as interactive participants in performance might well provide cause for celebration as new forms of collective creation and modes of working and being together are explored. However, including audiences also has its darker side. Through a comparative analysis of the marketing strategies of Secret Escapes and Secret Cinema, I hope to shed light on this darker side, unpacking and evaluating what secrecy promises, what it flaunts and what it hides.




Wednesday 14th May 2014



Location tbc

Jennifer Jackson, University of Surrey, ‘Practice as research and the older dancer: investigating collaboration and embodied knowledge in mature dance practice’



Location tbc

Tommy DeFrantz, title tbc



PATS Dance Studio performance

50 Acts, Wendy Houstoun