During yesterday’s seminar session led by Ted Warburton, we were encouraged to think about the assumptions that we bring to this gathering and how these affect the ‘frames’ through which we view the work we’re watching. In looking ‘Across Disciplines’ Ted used the example of sociology and how its paradigms have intersected with, and underpinned, ways of understanding and interpreting dance in the West.
The fascinating discussion that arose from the presentation dealt with the way that the ArtsCross project can lead us to ‘confront’ each others’ ways of knowing, and our own, as well as find ‘common ground’ in and between these ways of knowing. There was much to take away from the seminar that I’m mulling over but when I went to Dam’s rehearsal straight afterwards I was thinking about ‘partial’ viewpoints.
With only a few more days of rehearsal to go before the showings on Saturday, the choreographers are in the last stages of ‘finishing’ the work. The dancers are ‘taking on’ the material in these different processes ready to perform. The academics, of course, have had only partial views on these processes. A few of us have observed from the beginning stages of rehearsal but none have stayed with only one process throughout.
This ability to move between and across moments in different processes is, of course, one of the privileges and opportunities of this project. But, as we discussed in the seminar, we need always to be aware of the assumptions that we bring to the work — how do these affect what we see and interpret? And to remember that this is very much a partial view. When I move between rehearsals I think it’s useful for me to think about this — am I employing a ‘pick and mix’ approach? Why is my interest drawn to a particular process? What do I need to ‘know’ about this process in order to ‘understand’ it enough? And what am I doing when I try to communicate it?