Processing Choreography

Thinking with William Forsythe's Duo

Told from the perspective of the dancers, »Processing Choreography: Thinking with William Forsythe's Duo« is an ethnography that reconstructs the dancers' activity within William Forsythe's Duo project. The book is written legibly for readers in dance studies, the social sciences, and dance practice. Considering how the choreography of Duo emerged through practice and changed over two decades of history (1996-2018), Elizabeth Waterhouse offers a nuanced picture of creative cooperation and institutionalized process. She presents a compelling vision of choreography as a nexus of people, im/material practices, contexts, and relations. As a former Forsythe dancer herself, the author provides novel insights into this choreographic community.

€48.00 * $60.00 *

23 March 2022, 342 pages
ISBN: 978-3-8376-5588-9

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Elizabeth Waterhouse

Elizabeth Waterhouse, Universität Bern, Schweiz

1. Why did you chose this topic?

As a Forsythe dancer myself, I wanted to produce a book that could transmit the deep, embodied knowledge we shared in the company and make this intelligible to a broader public. The piece Duo, made in 1996 for Ballett Frankfurt, was revived for new dancers when I started this research in 2013. I found the duet fascinating and perfect for illustrating my concerns. Since I never danced it myself, I wanted to understand it from the inside. At that time, I did not know it would become a keystone in Forsythe's late works!

2. What new perspectives does your book offer?

Through ethnographic fieldwork, I was able to work with Duo dancers to reconstruct and articulate their practice. This book thus gives special insights into the dancers' labor upon choreography. It also contributes a longitudinal view of the Forsythe lineage, across Ballett Frankfurt and The Forsythe Company. Lastly, it presents a novel exploration of the concept of choreography itself, relevant to the social sciences and dance studies.

3. What makes your topic relevant for current research debates?

This book makes an impact both theoretically and methodologically. The study is constructed through interlinking ethnographic activity, study of archival videos, live performance analysis and review of the Forsythe discourse. These come together to give a portrait of dancing together that sheds new light on production structures, creative labor and sociality. It is relevant for debates about aesthetic ontologies, relations and materialisms, and the research designs through which we study these.

4. Choose one person you would like to discuss your book with!

Loïc Wacquant!

5. Your book summary in one sentence:

A fleshy reconstruction of the Duo project by William Forsythe, examining the corporeality of the dancers' labor upon choreography.

Book title
Processing Choreography Thinking with William Forsythe's Duo
transcript Verlag
kart., Dispersionsbindung, 17 SW-Abbildungen, 28 Farbabbildungen
Commodity Group
Release date
23 March 2022
Dance Studies, Practice Theory, Performance Studies, Dance Anthropology, Art Sociology as well as Dance Practitioners
William Forsythe, Choreography, Practice Theory, Practice Turn, Process, Creativity, Dance

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