Choreographing Spectatorship - The vibrant, metaphorical and micro mobility of the spectator in performances of contemporary choreographers
MetadataShow full item record
This Master thesis functions as an exposition of how performances of contemporary choreographers stage movement and the mobility of the spectator. The mobility of the spectator by means of the spatial displacement of the spectator is staged explicitly within ambulatory and participatory theatre. However, it is my intention to facilitate a more nuanced vocabulary on mobility and with it the participation of the spectator. I investigate the potential of performances from the discourse of dance and choreography to stimulate an understanding of participation beyond the bias of ‘passive’ and ‘active’ spectatorship. Performances by Arno Schuitemaker, Katja Heitmann, and the duo Andrea Božić and Julia Willms exemplify such understanding by presenting a paradox: These performances address the spectator within the frame of a seated audience and explore ways in which the spectator can participate through (internal) movement. Thereby, rather than asking whether the spectator is seated or moving through space, I am curious about the ways in which these performances address and position the spectator to participate in movement. Building on Susan Leigh Foster’s method of unravelling how a performance ‘choreographs’ behaviour such as ‘empathy’, I combine choreographing as a relational concept with methods of performance analysis by Liesbeth Groot Nibbelink and Maaike Bleeker that allow for exploring spectatorship as an embodied and embedded practice. By these means I argue that the performances WHILE WE STRIVE, Pandora’s DopBox and The Cube choreograph spectatorship in ways that invite the vibrant, metaphorical and micro mobility of the spectator. I investigate how the overall composition of staged actions, sequences and qualities composes patterns of sensorial address and/or (metaphorical) positions of the spectator. A particular quality of these patterns and positions staged for the spectator is that they disturb a continuous identification with a (human) performer and bring the attention of the spectator towards her/his own process relating to, perceiving and engaging with the performance. Thereby movement in various appearances, intensities and dynamics accumulates in specific means. Such means of movement I relate to the notion of moving ‘freely’ by dance theorist André Lepecki.