The Dorsal Fin of Choreography – Writing Performs: Notation and Spectatorship’ is a study of Choreography through the lens of ‘Dorsality’ (Wills, 2008).
‘Dorsality’ is a philosophy, a gesture that invites to consider the out of sight, the non-straightforward, exposure and risk, in order to allow change to happen. It focuses on language as outgrowth of the body that – when acknowledged – can allow a turn to something or someone other. Choreography is understood in this thesis as a practice of writing movement; it then relates to choreographic scores and systems of notation, which gather conditions for the making of experience. The association of ‘Dorsality’ and Choreography raises issues of dance Notation and Spectatorship.
This research questions how to transform the matter of choreography through the dorsal perspective. In other words: How do choreographic writings perform and transform our consideration of notation and spectatorship? And how do choreographies on paper contribute to the dorsal thinking?
I wish with this research to better understand the dorsal perspective and how it informs our thinking of choreographic writings. Notation and scores are often qualified as tools and documentation. This research builds upon the concern that these features might limit the potential of scores and ignore their nature. If the score refers to the artistic work, if it represents the work, if it is merely its archive, it then becomes accessory. It is a tool that can be perceived as dusty and static, and that might constitute one of the multiple satellites around the planet Choreography. The main argument of this thesis is that writing is choreography rather than a satellite among others. Writing is already there, at the back. I claim in this thesis that the dorsal perspective challenges our thinking of choreography by looking into the writing as a way to generate experience; the dorsal gesture if adopted by the choreographer is an invitation (for spectators, readers, performers) to implicate oneself. Writing performs and allows social norms, within the field of performance, to be transformed.