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Dancing the Self: A Dance of Resistance from the MENA

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Contemporary Dance and Dramaturgy

Helene Scheff et al. in Exploring Dance Forms and Styles defines contemporary dance as a modern dance genre that was developed during the second half of the twentieth century in Europe and the U.S. (86). It “includes a fusion of ballet, modern, and jazz moves” as it tends to “cross and blend” the different dance genres. Thus, Contemporary dance “does not have fixed or established movement patterns” -such as the classical ballet, for example, “but it is rather in a continuous search for new forms and dynamics. Therefore, it integrates other “aesthetic” elements such as “audiovisual technologies, visual or fine arts, lighting, architecture, music, circus and others” (87).

In addition to the dancing body, other basic components in contemporary dance are choreography, space, and most recently, dramaturgy. In “Making Space, Speaking Spaces,” Carol Brown defines choreography as the process that “situates the moving body in time and space” (58). According to Brown, contemporary and modern dance appeared as a reaction to the traditional notion of space in dancing as static and “negative” as in ballet, and brought about a “rediscovery” of the space as a “performative” and “dynamic field of forces acting on and through the body”(59). Dramaturgy, according to Bojana Bauer in her paper “Propensity: Pragmatics and Functions of Dramaturgy in Contemporary Dance,” is the bridge that connects “theory and practice” in contemporary dancing (31).

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