This chapter is an attempt to look at the transformative possibilities of shame felt within and in relation to performance. Its premise is that in dance certain difficult social phenomena constellate and become shared at an affective bodily level. Investigating the kinds of identifications and experiences activated by dance performance, this chapter considers how negative affect and failure may be critically productive in dance practice and in the commentary that surrounds it. It draws upon affect theory in order to consider the audience-performer relation in contemporary dance practice. It also looks at the ways in which the gaze (of the spectator) is inflected by issues of gender . The discussion will conclude by considering the affective experience of watching ode to summer, an improvisatory solo performance by American dance artist Jennifer Monson . It will be argued that in this work shame is activated as a force of transformation, affecting both performer and witness.
- Dance Performance
- Dance Training
- Contemporary Dance
- Familiar Story
- Dance Experience
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There’s the shame of looking
and the shame of being looked at;
the shame of feeling pride
and the shame of feeling shame.
Poor dance that would call itself art.
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Dempster, E. (2016). The Economy of Shame or Why Dance Cannot Fail. In: DeFrantz, T., Rothfield, P. (eds) Choreography and Corporeality. New World Choreographies. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-54653-1_10
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