Space and movement : dance, art, and the poetry of William Carlos Williams Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/hq37vq571

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  • The Modern era, roughly the time between 1860-1930, brought about a significant restructuring of artistic mediums. From the canvas to the page, artists of the twentieth century turned towards collaboration as a means by which they could reconfigure their works. Painters, writers, and dancers, borrowed aesthetic techniques from one another and transferred them into their own mediums. One of these borrowed techniques was the use of space. Space as a theoretical principle is the device from which we can observe the connections between the literary, visual, and dance mediums which were emerging at the turn of the twentieth century. These connections, centered on a similar theoretical principle, show the significance of these collaborations to the formation of modern art. Current studies of these associations have been centered primarily on writers and painters particularly the poetry of William Carlos Williams and twentieth century visual art. This critique extends those readings of Williams' poetry to include the influence of dance on his work as well. By critiquing a literary work through dance and dance theory, this study demonstrates on the one hand the importance of dance in the twentieth century, and on the other, that dance theory is a viable source from which the field can more aptly engage in the scholarly inquiries of other academic fields. A study of Williams and dance not only reveals the interconnectedness between literature and dance, but it also serves as an example of dance criticism which moves beyond the sociological questions of dance. It is an inquiry into the philosophical and kinesiological aspects of dance which shows that while the art form is inherently connected to the sociological critiques of race, gender, and class, dance is also based in theory as well. To observe dance in these terms creates a more distinct parallel between dance and other academic discourses. This study demonstrates a way in which dance criticism can expand and establish a lasting position as a viable academic discipline.
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