Beyond the surface: articulating the power of the performer

Salgado LLopis, Maria (2010) Beyond the surface: articulating the power of the performer. In: Embodying Power: Work over time; 18 - 21 Nov 2010, Seattle, U.S.. (Unpublished)


Intrigued as ex-professional dancer by the uncomfortable idea of the performer being perceived as object, this performative paper provides a phenomenological account of the dancer’s authority. The paper seeks to move beyond the dichotomy object/subject. Merleau-Ponty’s (1962, 1968) theories of “Phenomenology of Perception” and “The visible and the invisible” provide the theoretical framework that forms the basis for the creation of a unique piece in which the dancer progressively explores the concept of authority. During performance, the dancer oscillates between the position of perceiving object and the position of subject of perception. As subject of perception, the dancer has been portrayed only as mere object or as body (Jowitt, 1988, Daly, 1988, Risner 2000), subjected to the choreographer’s wishes, the choreographic text and performance conventions. This performative paper, instead, elucidates the dancer’s position as perceiving object and the role of her gaze.

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