Monday, December 3, 2007

Call for Papers: Mapping the Body: Methodologies for Reconstructing Lost and Disappearing Dance

A enticing call for papers for the Theater Library Association Plenary at the 2008 American Society for Theater Research conference:

Call for Papers

Mapping the Body:
Methodologies for Reconstructing Lost and Disappearing Dance
Deadline: March 15, 2008

America, founder of modern dance, is beginning to lose its senior generation of choreographers and practitioners. While a number of leading companies have built impressive archives and now videotape performances in order to preserve them, dances are still passed along as they have been for thousands of years: generation to generation, body to body.

Labanotation was developed as a standardized system to “map” physical movements and the path of the body in space. Videotape, a vulnerable format, has successfully captured dance performances for over three decades - in a two-dimensional medium. Print documents are still critical: reviews, photographs, choreographer’s notes. Others insist that the most effective way is to have the original choreographer - or a trusted company member - set the dance on a new company.

Clearly, a successful reconstruction must be a composite of all these necessary elements. Has the development of sophisticated digital technologies provided new procedures - and perhaps pitfalls - for the documentation of live motion? How do research libraries and archives support this process - and how might they frustrate it? We’re interested in a fresh assessment of contemporary best practices and challenges facing this tenuous field of dance reconstruction.

Further, we welcome testimony of international efforts to document and preserve the movement heritage of vulnerable and vanishing cultures: First Peoples, Cambodian traditional dance decimated by the Khymer Rouge, societies threatened by genocide or ethnic cleansing.

Please submit proposals to:

Susan Brady, Chair
TLA Plenary Committee
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Yale University
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven
Connecticut 06520-8240
203/432-9033 (FAX)
susan.brady [at]

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