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Site dance as activist methodology: Creating performance/protest in sites of assembly

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To date, there has been minimal discussion of site dance’s ability to foster discourse addressing large-scale geo-and sociopolitical issues in public and civic spaces. In this article, I examine a certain site-adaptive project, Rooms (2015–16), to consider how site dance practice may further public discourse around pressing issues, via the careful honing of methodological process. Here, I argue that to realize the aims of advancing political discourse, site dance methodologies must work to: empower participants through constructive mechanisms/processes; foster inclusion of diverse publics in both creation and presentation stages of a work; and locate such projects in accessible public civic spaces historically associated with assembly. By endeavouring to methodologically craft site dance practice for spaces that are intended for public assembly and discourse, we may realize the goal of creating a diverse, empowered and engaged public that will address the critical systemic concerns of our time, including neo-liberalism, globalization and climate change.
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Keywords: climate change; geopolitical discourse; methodology; protest; site-adaptive performance; site-specific dance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Calgary

Publication date: May 1, 2019

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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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