The domain of dance studies has witnessed an enormous international growth over the past few decades, not only through the increased institutional embedding of the field but also through the methodological solidification of the research. Dance scholars approach choreography from a wide range of perspectives, often borrowing from other disciplines in the humanities and beyond, in order to develop the analytical and interpretative frameworks that provide insight into the nature of dance as an artistic medium, the choreographic strategies in specific works or oeuvres, as well as the broader socio-political meaning of dance in its historical and contemporary context. This seminar will familiarize students with the different methodological approaches in dance studies and gradually provide the necessary tools to understand, adequately describe, and critically analyze choreography. Recent trends will be historicized through discussions of contemporary and historical cases in relation to the most defining debates in the field.
In addition to a preparatory introduction to the formation and (inter)disciplinary nature of dance studies, the seminar focuses in a first part on the most important paradigms that had a decisive influence on dance research, including poststructuralism, phenomenology, anthropology and ethnography, cognitive science, etc. The second part of the seminar deals with a series of key concepts as well as some of the most striking tendencies in the field. Through collective case analyzes and close readings of key texts, we will not only examine how dance theory is driven by practice (and vice versa), but also how allegedly contemporary developments resonate with their historical counterparts.