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The ‘struggle’ of the subject: Productive ambiguity in Jonathan Burrows’ choreography

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In this article notions of continuity and coherence are discussed in relation to Jonathan Burrows' choreographic work, with the aim to problematize their meanings in relation to contemporary artistic practices. Looking at intimate references and personal content of Burrows' work, I explore how representation and signification are constructed and operate in his dance, with a particular focus on three examples from his repertoire: Hymns (1988), The Stop Quartet (1996) and The Quiet Dance (2005). These works are emblematic of the productive contradictions inherent in Burrows' choreographic methods and of the ways in which subjectivity is shaped by the dialogue resulting from the interpersonal and interdisciplinary relationships around which the pieces are constructed. The analysis I propose is based on my observation of the dance material as well as on several personal conversations with Burrows, and draws on postmodern theory, post-structuralist discourse and intertextual methodologies of dance analysis.

Keywords: continuity; contradiction; dialogue; interdisciplinarity; partnership; subjectivity

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/chor.3.1.99_1

Publication date: December 6, 2012

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  • Choreographic Practices operates from the principle that dance embodies ideas and can be productively enlivened when considered as a mode of critical and creative discourse. The journal provides a platform for sharing choreographic practices, critical inquiry and debate.
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