All Being Displaced: Movement Translations of Flannery O'Connor Open Access

Freeman, Sarah Seaborn (2015)

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The use of literary texts as source material has taken many forms in Western concert dance, but following the shifts of the postmodern era, many choreographers discarded the idea of representing a linear plot structure. As a Dance and English double major I am interested in how narratives are constructed and sustained in performance, so my project takes linear plot as a variable in the choreographic process. With my dancers, I created two dance pieces inspired by Flannery O'Connor's short story "The Displaced Person." We created one piece while I communicated only unspecific literary concepts to the dancers, and the organization of movement didn't follow a particular plot. We created another piece after the dancers had read the story, in which I structured movement to follow the story's linear narrative. To further develop my personal connection with the work, I researched O'Connor's personal life through her letters and manuscripts in the Emory Manuscript, Archive, and Rare Book Library and visited her family home Andalusia in Milledgeville, where I created a solo based on my research. I presented the two narrative pieces and the solo in an evening length concert entitled All Being Displaced. Throughout the process I found that constructions of narrative are overwhelmingly personal, even in the presentation of universal themes such as exclusion or family. Working within the restriction of a linear structure pushed me beyond my own choreographic tendencies. My connection with O'Connor as a Southern woman and artist allowed me to explore imagery and dynamics with a deep sense of rootedness.

Table of Contents

I. The Movement Grotesque: A Technique for Embodying Narrative 1

II. FLAN: Personal Reflections on O'Connor 7

III. Being Displaced: Process 25

a. Movement and Narrative Techniques in Western Concert Dance History 25

b. Introduction to Movement and Narrative Techniques: Celeste Miller 33

c. Mystery in Incomprehension: The Untranslatable in "The Displaced Person" 34

d.Choosing My Source 41

e. Piece I: Creation 43

f. Piece III: Creation 51

g. Elements of Design 58

h. Cast Narratives 63

i. Entering Performance 65

j .Feedback 69

k. Conclusion 74

Appendix A: Promotional Flyer 77

Appendix B: Concert Program 78

Appendix C: Project Budget 80

Appendix D: Project Grant Proposal (Stipe, CCA, and SIRE) 82

Appendix E: Post-Concert Audience Feedback Form 84

Appendix F: Emory Report Article 85

Appendix G: Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry Blog Post 89

Appendix H: Performance Photographs 91

References 96

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