Outline of a theory of perception of choreographic performance

Michel Bernard 1
1 Danse, geste et corporéité (anciennement Analyse des discours et pratiques en danse)
Esthétiques, musicologie, danse et créations musicales - MUSIDANSE
Abstract : Translated by Anna Pakes from « Esquisse d'une théorie de la perception du spectacle chorégraphique », in De la création chorégraphique, Pantin : CND, 2001, p. 205-213. What is it to perceive a choreographic performance? More specifically, what particular perceptual modalities are involved in perceiving dancing bodies within a given stage space, at a given time? These bodies’ constant movement, their fleeting, multiple and unpredictable appearances and their complex, artfully coded figures prevent the uninitiated spectator from circumscribing, fixing, determining, identifying, understanding and immediately interpreting the content of what he perceives, as he does with other kinds of performance. Whatever spontaneous pleasure he experiences in the moment, the dance spectator is at something of a loss, not knowing what kind of perceptual approach to take. In other words, he is unsure how to distribute and organise his looking and listening relative to the succession of strange, fleeting impressions which strike him. Attending to a dance performance seems to require a perceptual strategy appropriate to the originality and singularity not just of the dancer’s corporeal act, but also of the choreographic writing which orders that act and provides its guiding thread, determining its structure and giving it unity and coherence.
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Michel Bernard. Outline of a theory of perception of choreographic performance. 2019. ⟨hal-02292342⟩

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