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Representing Soldiers to Soldiers through Dance: Authenticity, Theatricality and Witnessing the Pain of Others

Reason, Matthew (2017) Representing Soldiers to Soldiers through Dance: Authenticity, Theatricality and Witnessing the Pain of Others. Dance Research Journal, 49 (2). pp. 79-95.

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Abstract

Representations of war recur throughout art, whether celebrating the glories and heroism of conflict, or depicting its horrors and follies. This paper uses qualitative audience research to examine soldiers' own responses to the representation of soldiers in choreographer Rosie Kay's dance performance 5 Soldiers: The Body is the Frontline. It explores how for military audiences the satisfaction of an internalized sense of authenticity allowed them to accept the performance as a legitimate representation, while at the same time the presentation of war in a choreographic language meant that the performance was also abstracted, with theatrical and stylized elements that were far from authentic in a documentary manner. This paper proposes that it was the combination of authenticity with theatricality that generated empathetic investment and made 5 Soldiers an articulate witness to the military experience.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0149767717000213
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
School/Department: School of Performance & Media Production
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/2310

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