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The Poetics of Physics in Dance

The Poetics of Physics in Dance The Poetics of Physics in Dance Emily Coates A s a dance artist who for the past five years has collaborated with a particle physicist, I see several problems in examples of dance-science exchanges that circulate in professional concert dance. The first problem is the excessively literal translation of scientific ideas, which can leave the artistic composition flat and unimagined. In an exchange we shared at Yale last fall (2015), William Kentridge noted the creative wall that literalism can quickly hit, explaining, “You’re stuck running around and around your studio in circles to simulate a collider.” The second danger exists when an artist is unable to bend her choreographic style to absorb the encounter with science. In this case, the spectacle of the performance overwhelms the scientific point of departure, as Kryptonite overwhelmed Superman. The only remnant of scientific reference lives in the publicity material; the dance looks like any other work by that artist. A third danger lies in representing the scientific object as a cliché: to signify the quantum world, for instance, a production turns to darkness, flashing lights, vaguely extraterrestrial-looking unitards, and trembling. This list is not comprehensive—there are other pitfalls I could mention. It http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art MIT Press

The Poetics of Physics in Dance

PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art , Volume 39 (2) – May 1, 2017

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Publisher
MIT Press
Copyright
© 2017 Emily Coates
Subject
Articles
ISSN
1520-281X
eISSN
1537-9477
DOI
10.1162/PAJJ_a_00360
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Poetics of Physics in Dance Emily Coates A s a dance artist who for the past five years has collaborated with a particle physicist, I see several problems in examples of dance-science exchanges that circulate in professional concert dance. The first problem is the excessively literal translation of scientific ideas, which can leave the artistic composition flat and unimagined. In an exchange we shared at Yale last fall (2015), William Kentridge noted the creative wall that literalism can quickly hit, explaining, “You’re stuck running around and around your studio in circles to simulate a collider.” The second danger exists when an artist is unable to bend her choreographic style to absorb the encounter with science. In this case, the spectacle of the performance overwhelms the scientific point of departure, as Kryptonite overwhelmed Superman. The only remnant of scientific reference lives in the publicity material; the dance looks like any other work by that artist. A third danger lies in representing the scientific object as a cliché: to signify the quantum world, for instance, a production turns to darkness, flashing lights, vaguely extraterrestrial-looking unitards, and trembling. This list is not comprehensive—there are other pitfalls I could mention. It

Journal

PAJ: A Journal of Performance and ArtMIT Press

Published: May 1, 2017

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