Date

5-12-2020

Description

While dance historically functioned as an art form designed to portray the virtuosity of the dancer, in the 1990s, many choreographers began choreographing pieces that rather conveyed the vulnerable human experiences of illness and even death. This research paper examines the historical factors that inspired the incorporation of illness narratives into concert dance, such as the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, and discusses key dance pieces performed in the 1990s to explore how, by incorporating illness narratives into their work, choreographers provided vital contributions to the conversation between the arts, medicine, and the developing field of narrative medicine. By incorporating illness narratives into their work, choreographers provided opportunities for individuals to experience the personal and social benefits of embodying illness narratives through dance, revealing the unique ability of dance to communicate the embodied experience of illness. As speech and written word present themselves as being about the body rather than of it, dance may function in a powerful way through the construction of illness narratives through its unique ability to give a voice both to and from the suffering body. Today, researchers continue to explore the benefits for interweaving dance and illness narratives to provide patients with embodied healing experiences, which could have a great impact on the medical and artistic community.

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May 12th, 12:00 AM

Giving the Body a Voice: Dance as Illness Narrative

While dance historically functioned as an art form designed to portray the virtuosity of the dancer, in the 1990s, many choreographers began choreographing pieces that rather conveyed the vulnerable human experiences of illness and even death. This research paper examines the historical factors that inspired the incorporation of illness narratives into concert dance, such as the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, and discusses key dance pieces performed in the 1990s to explore how, by incorporating illness narratives into their work, choreographers provided vital contributions to the conversation between the arts, medicine, and the developing field of narrative medicine. By incorporating illness narratives into their work, choreographers provided opportunities for individuals to experience the personal and social benefits of embodying illness narratives through dance, revealing the unique ability of dance to communicate the embodied experience of illness. As speech and written word present themselves as being about the body rather than of it, dance may function in a powerful way through the construction of illness narratives through its unique ability to give a voice both to and from the suffering body. Today, researchers continue to explore the benefits for interweaving dance and illness narratives to provide patients with embodied healing experiences, which could have a great impact on the medical and artistic community.