This article examines some of the intricate relationships between the spoken word and the body in the multiple semiotic systems of self-reflexive postmodern dance by example of Portuguese choreographer João Fiadeiro. Two case studies are presented with reference to Fiadeiro’s ‘Composition in Real Time’ (CTR) method, which discuss his choreographic practice in the context of recent theories in contemporary choreography, dance dramaturgy and embodied cognition. In the first section of this paper I scrutinize three solo stage works by Fiadeiro to examine in what ways language in its multiple intermedial forms (live and mediated spoken word, processed audio signal, printed written word, projected written text, hand-written visual forms, and so forth) impacts on the conception of the body, the temporality of dance performance, and consequently the dramaturgical structure in Fiadeiro’s choreography. The second section of this article examines the creative process of Fiadeiro’s recent production for a group of five dancers, What to Do with What Remains (2015), and how the spoken word is employed to report onstage in real time about the experience of performing at the limit of physical exhaustion. Subsequently, I discuss the five dimensions of improvisational awareness in the work from a dramaturgical perspective, and relate my findings to recent research in the field of dance cognition.
- Choreographic cognition
- Dance dramaturgy
- Performance generating systems
- Real-time composition