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date: 24 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter the author contests how ‘wellbeing’ has been read in Rosemary Lee’s choral dances. Choreographing for large intergeneration and mixed ability casts, Lee cultivates experiences of social cohesion for her dancers, and transcends prevailing distinctions between professional contemporary and community dance. Without a critical language for the work, commentators tend to theorize the sense of community as revealing an intrinsic truth of humanity. The author proposes that such beliefs arise because the dancing seems to manifest natural forces in collective human movement. Lee achieves this effect by constructing an individual performer identity to which belonging to a tolerant group is essential. Using metaphors of nature in somatic training, Lee emphasizes each dancer’s experience to cultivate communal wellbeing that manifests in performance of choral flow. The author thus reveals that the communal sense of wellbeing becomes choreographed as decisive cultural labour with a history that can be traced in Lee’s historical influences.

Keywords: Rosemary Lee, choral dances, identity, wellbeing, inclusive community, intergenerational contemporary dance, somatic training

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