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The choreutic parameter: A key determinant of choreographic structural style

Donaldson, A. (1993). The choreutic parameter: A key determinant of choreographic structural style. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance)


Space is an intrinsic element of performance dance. Not only does the dance as a totality exist within space, but at one and the same time, it creates its own unique spatiality - the choreutic space, which is created in and through the dancing body.

In many dance works, the choreutic parameter - that concerned with this instrinsic spatiality - assumes a dominant role in both the choreographic structure and its aesthetic or meaning significance. In doing so, it plays a key role in the shaping of structure and meaning : it is thus a key determinant of choreographic structural style. In other works however, the parameter plays no such dominant role; while it remains an inherent aspect of the movemement itself, other parameters take precedence - both structurally and symbolically.

Using certain principles put forward by eminent music theorist Leonard Meyer on the structural dominance of parameters in music, this study establishes the conditions for key determinacy in the first instance, and proposes a theoretical model for key determinacy. The study then examines the core principles of the model - those of primary pattern-forming, syntactic viability, and of mobility and closure - and establishes their general validity vis-à-vis the choreutic parameter. It thus establishes the conditions under which the choreutic parameter is a key determinant of choreographic structural style. Significantly then, the model accounts for choreutic structure as an interactive and dynamic structuring force which has aesthetic significance.

To further empirically substantiate the findings, and to demonstrate the practical utility of the model, the core principles are demonstrated by way of the analysis of the work Adieu (1990), created by the Australian choreographer Leigh Warren. The examination establishes that in this particular work, the choreutic parameter plays a dominant role in the generation of both structure and meaning : it is a key determinant of its choreographic structural style.

The use of Adieu to exemplify the principles is significant in that it is the first Australian work to be considered from a choreological (and specifically choreutic) perspective. Hence, while contributing knowledge to the field of choreuticsper se, this dissertation contributes to the study of works created in Australia by Australian choreographers. Importantly, it also makes a significant contribution to the relatively small quantity of scholarly dance research in Australia.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts
School of Communication & Creativity > School of Communication & Creativity Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Donaldson thesis 1993 PDF-A.pdf]
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