Year 2…

I made it through my upgrade unscathed! It was a really useful and interesting process, albeit a bit terrifying!

I have been quiet for a while as I have been really focussed upon my data gathering, I have been doing so mainly through studio observation, interviews and archival processing. Over the summer the Phoenix dance cast were learning and reviving several dance works in preparation for the 2012 Spring tour (Crossing points). This was a really rich experience for me in terms of being able to observe such private creative and experimental processes. It has helped me shift my thinking with regards to the dancing body as an archival site, I will be writing more about this on my ‘Studio Observation’ page so please do have a look if you would like to read more about this. .

Phoenix Dance theatre reaches a significant milestone next week in that the company will mark thirty years on 11.11.11. This has been an opportunity for the company to reflect upon its artistic heritage-also a large aspect of my research. The company has planned a private performance for company members, staff and associates which offers a snapshot of the company’s work from past to present. This has been a hugely interesting process as past dancers have taken it upon themselves to revive historic works which they will perform on the 11th November. This activity and my ability to observe and engage with these artistic processes has been a real advantage to my research and is one of the many benefits of working collaboratively for my PhD. I will be reflecting on the processes and the performance on my blog (again in the studio observation section) over the next few weeks.

In late December and January I will begin to consolidate the research I have generated to date, at the moment this feels like an enormous task and I am sure it will be! I am hoping that reflecting upon all of this activity over the next few weeks will give me a head start.

Thanks in advance for any comments you might have!I hope you enjoy reading about these processes.

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My upgrade assessment to the full PhD programme is imminent and I have spent some time trying to articulate exactly what my contribution to knowledge is and the originality of my research.

I think what makes my research unique is that it gathers a number of theoretical perspectives, applies them to a specific case study and in doing so offers a new perspective upon existing dance archival practice.

The research project presents a new in-depth study of Phoenix Dance Theatre, particularly in terms of its artistic heritage. It seeks to trace the essence of the company’s aesthetic style and its development throughout its thirty year history through the archive. For this purpose it looks to the body as an archival or heritage site. Although this is a common conception-that the body itself is an archive of past events, this research seeks to articulate the type of knowledge we might gain from the different elements of the body’s memory (i.e. muscle; movement; choreographic; memorial) and how this might complement the already existing archival materials. It strives to understand where the gaps in knowledge are in terms of the dance company archive and how the body might replenish ‘lost’ information. Through tracing the artistic and aesthetic elements of Phoenix Dance theatre through time it is hoped that this will offer clarification as regards to the ambiguity of how the Phoenix identity has been historically understood.

Can we reach the essence of dance through the archive when encompassing the body?

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Welcome to my blog!

Thank you for visiting my recently conceived blog!

I am studying for a PhD at the University of Leeds and in collaboration with Phoenix Dance Theatre, the research is concerned with dance archives, the limitations of the knowledge which they represent and aims to investigate how gaps in knowledge can be overcome by re-considering the archive of an ephemeral art form.

I consider the keywords attributed to my research to be: archives, documentation, dance, knowledge and embodiment.

I hope that this blog will exist as a multi-functional tool, documenting my research process as a diary for myself and for others to engage with as they so wish. I hope you will find something of interest, and if you do please let me know! I intend to post thoughts and questions related to my research whilst also keeping a log of my readings and writings throughout the process.

To find out more about me and my research please visit the pages as listed on the menu above.

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