Lighting States- Lighting Scapes: when light performs as a choreographic scorer

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    Written from a dancer’s perspective, this paper explores the choreographic ‘scorings’ available in the embodied experiences of coalescing energies of light and the dancing body. Recent scholarly publications on lighting for theatre and dance offer analyses of lighting designers’ practice (Abulafia, 2015; Moran, 2107) and have revealed approaches of thinking and working with light as a textured palpable substance. From a choreographing dancer’s perspective being with the light is essentially different to being in the light. The qualitative encounter, as opposed to the definitive relationship, with which I engage allows for different ways of ‘listening’ to and being with behaviours or anatomies of light. In my practice research I approach light through sensing its materiality, drawing on notions of “vital materialisms” that recognise the active participation of nonhuman elements in transformative events (Bennett, 2010; Barrett and Bolt, 2013). Understanding dancing with light’s materiality as sensorial experiencing, generates a photological fascination that can be described according to feminist philosopher Cathryn Vasseleu as “an engagement in the texture of light rather than in relation to light’s value as…an ideal” (1998:11). Through experimenting, and developing working methods generated from different conceptualizations of luminosity, light gives to the choreographic the opportunity for reinvention. The affective dynamics that emerge from the palpable relationship with light may then operate as a choreographic score. Using as a springboard Henri Bergson’s observation that “[t]here is no perception which is not prolonged into movement” (2010:50), it is possible to consider that a dancer’s phenomenological response to being with light affects how the body composes, and thus have influence over a score. Throughout the paper I will make a case for distinctions between different lighting sources, and the choreographic possibilities available in the intermingling and clashing of those, in order to understand how light performs. Bibliography Abufalia, Y. ( 2016) The Art of Light on Stage: Lighting in Contemporary Theatre. Oxon: Routledge Barrett, E. & Bolt, B. (2013) Carnal Knowledge: Towards a New Materialism’ through the Arts. London: I.B. Tauris Bennett, J. (2010) Vibrant Matter. Durham: Duke University Press Bergson, H. (2010[1908]) Matter and Memory. publishing Moran, N. (2017) Right Light. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Vasseleu, C. (1998) Textures of Light: Vision and Touch in Irigaray, Levians and Merleau-Ponty. Oxon: Routledge
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Aug 2017
    EventTheatre and Performance Research Association Annual Conference (TaPRA) - University of Salford, United Kingdom
    Duration: 30 Aug 20171 Sept 2017


    ConferenceTheatre and Performance Research Association Annual Conference (TaPRA)
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


    • light
    • choreography


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    • Elektri(c)k

      Translated title of the contribution: Elektri(c)kMAN, MICHELLE., Lyon, JJ. & Zanotti, M., 12 Sept 2019

      Research output: Non-textual formPerformance

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