A la recherche du geste unique : pratique et théorie chez Alwin Nikolaïs

Abstract : Nikolais, trying out Laban's ideas with his company's dancers, carried these ideas further and developed them. His approach evolved, as he continuously moved back-and-forth from principles to the physical experience of the dancing body. The elements of Nikolais' choreographic language (the qualities of motion, shape...) and his pedagogic tools : decentralisation, gestalt (i.e. a recognizable whole), the triad of technique/improvisation/composition, evolved without being based on any external theory. His teaching aimed to getting the body and the mind to know and to be instantly aware of the elements involved in the dance movement. This study tends to whow that all pedagogy implies the rpesence of a theory. For Nikolais, theory proceeds from a amoment of improvisation wherein concept, choreography and performance are simultaneous. Improvisation, one of the key elements of modern dance, thus seems to be a preferred process, where practice and theory are merged, or serve to reinforce one another. In addition, we shall also question the supposed "universality" of Nikolais' tools and syntaxic elements through an analysis of the particular context of the 1950s (historic, socio-political, artistic, and technological) ; as well as the ideology, attributable to the personality of its author and the fervor surrounding him. Thus, our intention is to "deconstruc" the model by taking a third path, neither upholding faithfully the heritage nor rejecting it, and, in view of its widespread teaching in France, to attempt a rehabilitation and an analysiso f the pertinence of these ideas for our time and what is at stake
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Marc Lawton. A la recherche du geste unique : pratique et théorie chez Alwin Nikolaïs. Musique, musicologie et arts de la scène. Université Charles de Gaulle - Lille III, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012LIL30012⟩. ⟨tel-00881517⟩

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