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From The Field (2020). Dancer: Jens Jeffry Trinidad. Photo: Ola Rindal
From The Field (2020). Dancer: Jens Jeffry Trinidad. Photo: Ola Rindal

Choreography as a meaning-generating aggregate

PhD Candidate Rosalind Goldberg's doctoral project

Academic summary

The focus of my research project is to examine choreography as an aggregate that can stimulate and challenge the understanding of the body alongside being an incentive to language. By placing the body in the center, I want to highlight its capacity as an active meaning-generating apparatus, which sometimes acts prior to cognition - in a different mode of expression, where movements and sensations appear faster than words. My research finds support and resonance within the interdisciplinary field of New Materialism in which the concepts of material, the bodily fleshiness, and the discursive-linguistic, are thought immanently together. Drawing on the principles of new-materialist theory for my choreographic work I explore how dance-specific meaning is something to be sensed as that which cannot be confined to linguistic meaning. A feeling of coherency provides an experience of meaning, before the attempt to adequate this meaning to words. Living in the times in which value is bound up with function and efficiency, meaning is often reduced to information conveyed in performative language. By contrast, I want to stress that meaning-genesis in dance requires taking into account relations of entanglement between the corporeal, the material, and the discursive, which places meaning-production in dance apart from the pre-eminence of the efficient word-labeling to the sensorial dimension of dancing movement.

This research project entails the creation of choreographic methods and choreographic work in which expression by way of movements and sensations is expanded in order to challenge the habits of sensing and perceiving dance. Thus, my choreographic method takes the sensorial input as directional and specifically focuses on the intensity of sensations that overflow and confuse the intelligibility of movement. This approach is broadly based on the premise that choreography is capable of expanding our perception in ways that inspire us to seek out words to describe our sensorial experience. By enduring with the materiality of the body and how inseparably entangled its fleshiness and the discursive-linguistic dimensions are, I seek to propose a slight shift in approaching meaning production in contemporary dance, a difference that re-balances the relation between the sensorial and the conceptual.


Project facts

Project title Choreography as a meaning-generating aggregate
Project manager Rosalind Goldberg
Oslo National Academy of the Arts
Start date
End date
Project status Active
Department Academy of Dance

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