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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Eva Karczag improvises resistance towards the institutional appropriation of a ‘somatic’ approach she helped develop. Since leaving London Festival Ballet in the 1970s to join Strider, Britain’s first experimental dance company, and later the Australian experimental collective Dance Exchange, Karczag has mined motile and creative latitude against institutional control. In somatics training, and related choreographic modalities, she cultivates principles of physical ease and individual authenticity. She brought this facility to the development of some of Trisha Brown’s signature works when she joined the company in 1979, yet Karczag left in 1985 concerned that New York’s careerist arts culture was erasing her creative difference. She has since pursued improvisation on the margins of Western contemporary dance. In her choreography and pedagogy, Karczag critiques professionalization with a body that eludes commercial and institutional agendas. She chooses audience proximity over the proscenium arch, dancing radical contingency. She thus resists the collapsing of 1970s experimentation into commercial ideas of innovation.

Keywords: somatics, corporatization of dance, critical use of hegemonic ideas, nature

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