Mathews, J. A. (2021). Alone Differently: Contemporary Solo Performance in Dance. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.2.335
Solo performances created and performed by American artists are the primary focus of this thesis. Twentieth century solo expressions in dance are typically seen through the lens of bodily autonomy and its fixation on present time— as well as the implications of individual authorship. To continue to analyze the solo form through the push and pull of the autonomous body and the lure of one author in a period of intense individuation under neoliberalism, however, obscures its fundamentally relational character. With this in mind, I offer a comparative analysis of the following contemporary, solo performances in dance: Narcissister's MAN/WOMAN (2009), Xandra Ibarra's Turnaround Sidepiece (2018), Faye Driscoll’s Thank You For Coming: Space (2019), Julie Tolentino’s Slipping Into Darkness (2019), and mayfield brooks’s Viewing Hours (2019). I consider the fraught concept of being alone, wherein the neoliberal subject often wavers between an extreme and unfair binary logic of loneliness and solitude. I turn to artists whose works trouble presumptions about the solo form and further experimentation within categorizations of dance and performance. I take a look at how these works explore ways to be alone differently by attending to the messy realities and possibilities of being in relation—a state whose critique and reimagination is increasingly needed.