Chapter 15 Creating and Contextualising Trauma-Related Contemporary Choreography

In: Topography of Trauma: Fissures, Disruptions and Transfigurations

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Abstract

As a mid-career professional dance artist and emerging scholar, I engage in research focusing on the creation and analysis of choreography through the post-traumatic lens. Originally concerned with the aesthetic impact of psychological dissociation on movement, my creative focus has widened to incorporate recall narratives for abuse-related trauma survivors. In 2015, I completed the creative process and presentation of Scars Are All the Rage, a 30-minute trio commissioned by a major Canadian dance presenter. In accordance with my activist and artistic values, I directed the work for realistic performances, an approach met with much unease from Danceworks, the presenter, who suggested modifications to the piece and disseminated warning advisories about its content prior to its opening presentation. Was this reaction’s foremost outcome the protection of audience members or the weakening of their viewing experiences? Detailing and analysing Scars Are All the Rage’s creative and presentational process, this chapter considers how trauma-related choreographic performances may be optimally contextualised for general audiences.

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