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Movement matters: The power of dance within an affective public sphere

Thesis type
(Extended Essay) M.A.
Date created
As a result of the COVID – 19 pandemic, physical places were removed as an option for gathering for the arts, and thus virtual encounters have increased, and new dynamic exchanges would have emerged. The public sphere can be expanded beyond the linguistic to include non-linguistic communication within a contemporary affective public sphere. Affect and emotion can be critical resources for nurturing publics. Affective modes of discourse and non-linguistic forms of communication through dance, can support communicative exchange, which can lead to social connection, action, and experiences of belonging, all features of an affective public sphere. Affective public spheres embrace an embodied experience that includes non-linguistic forms of affective communicative exchange. Dance can be seen as a medium of engagement that nourishes an affective public sphere. Through a case study of the 2021 Vancouver International Dance Festival (VIDF), I seek to examine how dance can function as a modality of nonverbal communication within a mediated affective public sphere. I use a mixed methods approach, drawing on critical visual and sonic semiotic analysis and autoethnography to examine the expressive work of dance and the way it contributes to local public life. The analysis found that VIDF brought together the elements of dance movement, mise en scene and sonic features to bring together citizen - audiences into a relationship with key matters of common concern. It is in this way that dance can be understood to operate as a medium of engagement that nourishes an affective public sphere.
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Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Poyntz, Stuart
Member of collection
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