Oral History and Dance

The idea of oral history in dance was really intriguing and after my presentation I decided to write my first essay about it. Essentially there are not many examples of oral history being used in dance but with a wider perspective of research I think that it will be an interesting topic to look into. Undoubtedly the most challenging aspect of the essay is to find a way to combine oral history and public history within this specialized field that is dance. This is the part which, while it definitely troubles me the most, it makes me think that it is not that peculiar because dance is a performance towards a specific audience; therefore the public is always there and the challenge is to succeed in engaging with it further than the performance of the dance itself.

As I previously stated there are not many examples of oral history in dance -however this is not the case in theatre. The main example I will look into is Jeff Friedman’s ‘muscle memory’ project, in which he choreographed the testimonies of two dancers and the result was brilliant. Another example is the ‘Dance Oral History Project’ of New York’s Public Library which collects testimonies from people that dedicated their life and work to dance. I will look into more examples and I hope that in the future dance will be a more researched oral history topic; there are definitely interesting aspects to it so that oral history could engage more actively with it!

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One Comment on “Oral History and Dance”

  1. Graham Smith says:

    You might also think about physical embodiment in other oral history projects


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