Transmodern dance practices: Angelin Preljocaj, Mauro Bigonzetti and revisions of Les Noces (1923)

Farrugia, Kathrina (2012) Transmodern dance practices: Angelin Preljocaj, Mauro Bigonzetti and revisions of Les Noces (1923). Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


In this thesis, I examine the current state of choreographic postmodernism in the wake of recent theories of transmodernism in film and literature studies. Moving from an analysis of revisionist choreographic practices, my aim is to retrace the unwritten histories of particular revisions of Bronislava Nijinska's Les Noces (1923), namely those by Angelin Preljocaj and Mauro Bigonzetti. Whilst their syntactical organisation of choreographic vernacular and thematic treatment of the subject matter, mise-en-scene and choreographic form differ, Preljocaj and Bigonzetti share a common interest, namely their engagement with the choreographic legacies of the artistic migration in their indigenous context and their interest in revising artistic, cultural and narrative artefacts including the Ballets Russes repertoire (1909-1929). Through the analyses of their creative practices and their revisions of Les Noces, I situate the parameters and extensions of the postmodern genre against newer theories of transmodernism that align themselves more readily to the choreographic interest in tracing established histories and practices. The theoretical developments of transmodernism in dance impact two significant areas: firstly, understanding of notions of border-crossing and artistic alterity from existing choreographic legacies, and secondly, revisions of ballet histories associated with works of historical significance. The study suggests choreographic revisionism as transmodern dance practices, where the weight of existing performance histories is re-organised and reconfigured into multidimensional and non-linear identities. The three parts of this thesis are organised in the following way. The first part provides a theoretical context for revisions of Les Noces (1923) as well as a theoretical underpinning to the theories of revisionism and transmodernism. In the second part, at the core of the enquiry, I trace recent dance histories through the choreographic works created by Preljocaj (1985-2010) and Bigonzetti (1990-2010) and their revisions of Les Noces. In the third and final part, the research draws on analyses of Noces (1989) and Les Noces (2002) to facilitate an application of a theorisation of transmodernism in dance and its potential to further the field of dance studies.

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