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The politics of participatory choreographic practice in urban public space

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MESH is an improvised participatory dance practice developed by dance artist Vanessa Grasse in 2017 and performed in urban public spaces. This article brings together discourses from site performance and contemporary participatory performance practices to examine site adaptivity, mobility and dialogue. I distinguish between site-adaptive practices in urban settings which simply meet the demands of the neo-liberal environment, and those which engage with site in a way that necessitates discursive and ethical modes of criticality. I suggest that trends born out of the social and ethical turns in contemporary performance can be seen to be informing strategies for relational choreographic practices in urban public space. I explore how Mesh illustrates this by analysing the methods and strategies used by Grasse and the dancers to disrupt social norms and to foster social interaction.
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Keywords: adaptivity; choreography; mobility; participation; site; urban space

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Leeds Beckett University

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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