Drawing from her experiences working with Ralph Lemon, Katherine Profeta’s Dramaturgy in Motion unpacks the roles of dance dramaturgy in dance-making. She discusses the collaborative nature of dramaturgy and introduces new ways of thinking about this process. Overall, the position of a dramaturg is a complex one as she collects most of the research from outside and then shares those materials to engage with the choreographer and the dancers inside a studio while keeping in mind connectivity with future audience. A dramaturg aspires to be the critical force that questions every artistic choice that the choreographer may not be otherwise aware of.
The position of a dramaturg makes room for a more horizontal power dynamics that as Profeta puts it “delegitimize power assumptions” (22). That is why the role of a dramaturg has also broadened the representation of dancers’ individuality during the process of making as the dramaturg seeks to have conversations with the dancers and not only the choreographer.
Profeta’s expansion of definitions and practices of research in dance-making, is liberating. Research can spark and inspire new ideas and therefore is regarded as an essential “longer-term creative process to be shared” (70). So often we regard research for a choreographic project as only materials from outside that can be used to inform our making. But, the in-studio movement is a physical research and dance can serve as a different medium in field of knowledge and discovery (65).
A dance dramaturg must always see “the ghost of audience” and question the practiced materials for the readability of the dance. In our globalized society it has become almost impossible to really know the audience, unless the audience is picked exclusively. Ralph Lemon’s Geography and Tree, pushes the borders of inclusion by inviting performers from other cultures and countries and even more so infusing their languages and movement vocabularies with a modern oriented dance performance. I am very curious to know more about the interculturalism processes and the problematic lines that exist in such creative works.
In general, the book expanded my knowledge of research in dance choreography and in what ways and how it can be done. I am more inclined to seek collaborative opportunities with dramaturg’s as I believe it increases the quality of performance because almost every artistic choice has been questioned and answered by the dramaturg, choreographer, and dancers, during the process.
Quotations during Profeta’s class visit:
> “I see Dance as something that unfolds in time.”
> About creative processes and collaborations: “Generating Interesting Failures.”
> About the relationship between Dance and Theatre: “It is like trying to keep water apart…it just keeps coming back in!”
> “Research is a generative act.”