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Vertical dance: A tool for producing new social spaces

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Henri Lefebvre proposed that in order to improve our lives we need to change space. Drawing on Marxist ideas of production he developed a triadic theory of space, which he proposed could be brought together through the lived experience of the body, in particular, the dancing body (1974:205). In response, I present a vertical dance manifesto that invites us to look up and imagine dancing on the walls above us and to realize this ambition by talking to people and persuading them that occupying vertical spaces might change how we experience and perceive the urban landscape. I draw upon fifteen years of practicing vertical dance (a hybrid dance form that brings together dance and the equipment of rock climbing), extended research into site-specific practices, my Ph.D. thesis (2017) and three works I created in Belfast between 2009 and 2011. My ideas about relationships between bodies and buildings in public spaces are underpinned by Michel de Certeau’s contention that ‘space is practiced place’ (1984: 117/118), by site-specific discourse in the arts (Kaye 2000; Kwon 2004; Lacy 1995) and recent research on site-specific dance (Hunter, 2015 and Kloetzel and Pavlik, 2009).
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Keywords: dance; performance; place; site-specific; space; vertical dance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Bangor University

Publication date: May 1, 2019

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