L'Ombre du Geste:
Le(s) sens de l'expérience en
Doctoral thesis written in French
Book to be published
Drawing upon an ethnography of production processes of three dance companies based in Switzerland (Nicole Seiler, Massimo Furlan, deRothfils), this thesis reveals what is present in the shadow of the dancing gesture. The scholar explored the making process of dance plays, which treat existential questions (fear, loneliness, and relationships between the dead and living) and portray shadows on stage (spirits, phantoms, monsters). By emphasizing the choreographic work being created, the aesthetic dimension has been linked to the contexts of production. This investigation was enhanced through a personal practice of dance, anchored in phenomenological and collaborative approaches to anthropology. Proximity with dancers and choreographers introduced the scholar to the core of choreographic creation, and lead her to share the pleasures and the pains of affected bodies. The thesis sheds light on the shadows behind the gesture: the bodies chosen to carry the gesture, the bodies of others present in the dance of the soloist, the choreographer’s instructions, improvisation’s constraints, sensations, and ultimately the universe of sense created for the play and the narrative invented by performers, to inhabit their gesture. The biography of a singular gesture is therefore traced in its tension with the collective. Supported by anthropology and dance studies in these ways, this thesis contributes to social theories of the body.