Trance-Forming Dance: the practice of trance from traditional communities to contemporary dance
AuthorYap, Ding Chai
AffiliationFine Arts and Music Collected Works
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2021 Ding Chai Yap
This PhD thesis presents the work and research of a practice-led investigation into trance and its application to the performative arts – in particular, dance aesthetics. While the project is the culmination of my performative practice over the past three decades, the intention has been to look at traditional trance practices, particularly in the South East Asia region, to answer the overarching question: How can trance be translated from its original traditional cultural context for practical application to a contemporary dance context? In this way, the research intersects three main investigations: i) Asian traditional trance practices; ii) Western and non-Western contemporary ideas and sensibilities; and iii) a new platform for theatre and performance. As such, the study can be framed by three main trajectories: trance, dance and transformation. These three themes will emerge repeatedly throughout each aspect of this study. In locating the research thus it is important to acknowledge how my own practice as dancer, choreographer and trainer has been strongly informed by a hybrid South East Asian heritage borne of Dao shamanism and local Malay animism. This cultural upbringing has long infused my work, enabling me to develop an idiosyncratic dance language and to provide a descriptive richness in the particular realms of trance and possession that extends beyond a largely Western framework of understanding trance within a contemporary dance/theatre practice.
KeywordsTrance; Trance states; Performance; Dance; Theatre; Non-western; Shamanism; Choreography; Psychophysicality; Performativity; Transformation; Artaud; Grotowski; Bantengan; Bedoyo; Bull-trance; Possession
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