Scoring and Siting: Improvisatory Approaches to Site-Specific Dance

Hunter, V. (2019) Scoring and Siting: Improvisatory Approaches to Site-Specific Dance. In: The Oxford Handbook of Improvisation in Dance. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 9780199396986

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Site-specific dance performance encompasses a number of presentational forms and choreographic practices that present artists and audiences with opportunities to engage with real-world locations differently, through the medium of dance. Choreographic processes differ greatly from one artist to another, however a common thread of devising and employing movement scores as an investigative and curatorial tool can be witnessed in the work of many contemporary site-dance practitioners. In the wider field of contemporary dance practice, movement scores are employed by artists in a myriad of ways and a number of resources such as the on-line; featuring score-based work developed by artists such as Jonathan Burrows, Deborah Hay and William Forsythe and a recent edition of the journal Choreographic Practices that includes a re-print of Anna Halprin’s RSVP cycles and reflexive writing by dance artists on scores and their implications, provide tangible examples of this type of approach. Whilst these examples present a range of differing score-based methodologies, the artists engaging with this way of working share a common interest in opening up movement possibilities from a clear framework that belies an artistic / choreographic curiosity or a specific question such as; how might I know more about……………….how can I explore…………….what approach might work here?
This chapter is not concerned however with movement scores and dance notation systems such as Benesh and Labanotation that are frequently employed as tools for documenting, recording and subsequently re-constructing dances for performance. Movement scores in this context refer to sets of instructions employed within sited dance improvisation tasks and exploratory dance ‘episodes’ that either exist as movement experiences in their own right or function as a mechanism for explorations that develop and produce material to be included within a dance composition at a later stage.

I explore here approaches to designing and utilizing improvised movement scores within site-specific dance making. Drawing on my own practice-based research and the work of site-dance choreographers and movement/performance artists associated with processes of ‘scoring’, I consider the nature of improvisatory scores and their creative potential when applied in the site-dance context. In particular, the chapter explores how score-based improvisational practice imposes creative restraints and through doing so, guides movement exploration towards ‘things in particular’ in a phenomenological sense. Through doing so, the chapter questions what scores ‘do’ in the site-dance context and considers how they are designed, applied and managed by practitioners. Furthermore, I explore how scores might lead us toward and divert us away from specific site components and question how they facilitate the management of architectural, spatial and sensory ‘data’ in site-dance processes.

Publication Type: Book Sections
Additional Information: Section 7: Ecology and environments; Chapter 35
Uncontrolled Keywords: Site dance, Scores, Improvisation
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV1580 Dance > GV1782.5 Choreography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV1580 Dance
Divisions: Academic Areas > Department of Dance
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Vicky Hunter
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2019 14:31
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2021 08:22

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