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By A. McGrath

Dance theatre has turn into a domain of transformation within the Irish functionality panorama. This publication conducts a socio-political and cultural examining of dance theatre perform in eire from Yeats' dance performs at the beginning of the twentieth century to Celtic-Tiger-era works of brilliant Beast Dance Theatre and CoisCéim Dance Theatre at first of the twenty first.

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Extra resources for Dance Theatre in Ireland: Revolutionary Moves

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In addition to these ideas, I have found Martin’s notion of ‘overreading’ to be an important influence in my project of interrogating the aesthetic and political links of certain works to their social context. According to Martin, overreading a dance performance breaks down the ‘stable demarcation’ of a formalist reading that separates the interiority from the exteriority of a piece and views any discussion of the context of a work as an interference to its ‘veracity’. 108 Although Martin’s aim in Critical Moves is to apply ‘methodological insights’ gained from his practice and study of dance to a new understanding of political theory, the insights that he reflects back onto dance through his theoretical readings create a platform for thinking through the relationship between dance and politics.

105 Dance then becomes a creative physical practice that can both register and realise cultural change. Calling for an understanding of how the body has the ability to generate meaning, she proposes that [t]he possibility of a body that is written upon but that also writes [. ] asks scholars to approach the body’s involvement in any activity with an assumption of potential agency to participate in or resist whatever forms of cultural production are underway. It also endows body-centred endeavors with an integrity as practices that establish their own lexicons of meaning, their own syntagmatic and paradigmatic axes of signification, their own capacity to reflect critically on themselves and on related practices.

Chapter Two considers the work of three major figures in the development of Irish dance theatre pre-1990: William Butler Yeats in his collaborations with Michio Ito and Ninette de Valois, Erina Brady and her Irish School of Dance Art, and Joan Davis and the Dublin Contemporary Dance Theatre. In Chapter Three I consider the affinities of Irish dance theatre practice with German Tanztheater and international choreographers of political dance theatre who consider their works ‘acts of citizenship’. This chapter also conducts an Introduction 35 investigation into the genre questions and critical anxiety raised by works that deviate from established notions of what dance ‘is’ in an Irish context, and includes a reading of the important re-imaginings of the traditional Irish dancing body in the recent choreographies of ex-Riverdance soloists Jean Butler and Colin Dunne.

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