Whispered Conversations: The Act of Making via Translation between Poetry and Dance Open Access

Guyton, Clara Schulstad (2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/8w32r641x?locale=en


This project investigates the boundaries between the two mediums of dance and poetry. As a double major in English and Dance & Movement Studies, I am interested in exploring the parallels and contrasts between poetry and dance through various experiments of translation. Utilizing both poetic and choreographic techniques of translation, I have choreographed five separate solos based off of the poem, "Dear One Absent This Long While" by Lisa Olstein. Each solo was inspired by the following elements of the poem: form/structure, "call and response" (listening to a reading of the poem and impulsively creating), imagery, site-specific, and a solo created based on my own epistolary poem. My final translation of the work is a creative, written composition of audience responses at the live performance of this suite of solos. Using these responses, I will compare responses to the original poem measuring the degrees of deviation that occurred during the multi-tiered translation process.

The result of this fully created work richly engaging multiple mediums serves to prove my theory that translations of a poem can be understood through the medium of dance with little deviation. My research proves that tools for a poem can be utilized as tools for choreography, and the translation of a poem delivered through the phrases of the body is as rich and alive as a spoken poem expelled through phrases of breath. Using poetic structures and concepts as the controlled variable, this project is an act of making in its creation and result, a collection of poems created by the body and translated from words into dance.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

I. Introduction: Whispered Conversations 1

a. Choosing My Source 4

b. Dear One Absent This Long While 5

II. MESS: Poiesis and The Act of Making 6

a. treatment 9

III. Pears 11

IV. Dance v. Poetry 14

V. Process of nearer to the body than the evening: a suite of five solos 17

a. Treatment I: broken whole 18

b. Treatment II: temporal 27

c. Treatment III: penumbra 37

d. Treatment IV: ellipses 50

e. Treatment V: relic 67

f. Treatment VI: nearer to the body than the evening 73

VI. Performance 83

VII. Conclusion 85

Appendix A: Promotional Flyer 87

Appendix B: Concert Program 88

Appendix C: Performance Photographs 90

Appendix D: Rehearsal Schedule 99

Appendix E: Survey Questions 100

References 101

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