Non-review: Does a dance audience ever witness real emotion?

The other night I saw Faye Driscoll’s recent work, There is so much mad in me, at Dance Theater Workshop. While I do not wish to critique the work, I would definitely recommend seeing one of her shows in the future. After the show, I talked with one of my good friends who was a dancer in the piece. He was sharing his experience performing a particular part of the dance, a very dramatic and theatrical solo that included some audience interaction. And his description of the performer’s perspective reminded me of an ongoing discussion in dance theory about emotions in performance.

In the book The Performer-Audience Connection: Emotion to Metaphor in Dance and Society, Judith Lynne Hanna explores dancer perspectives and audience responses on conveying emotion in various forms of dance. To frame the discussion, she highlights particular dance theorists that continue to inform views of artists today.

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