Resisting Explanation: The Politics of Audience Development and Possibilities of Form

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

33 Downloads (Pure)


This chapter considers how audience development activities that share processes of artistic creation have impacted upon the relationship between works of performance and their viewers. Focusing on audience development initiatives in the UK and contemporary choreography in Europe, particularly Low Pieces (2009-11) by French choreographer Xavier le Roy, it argues that the dominant mode of strategies for audience engagement is one of explanation. In turn, this can have a homogenising effect on spectators, channelling their attentions towards stabilising explanation and away from the potential ungrounded knowing of aesthetic experience. As such, preoccupations with creating comfort for viewers does not always enhance what is at work in a performance so much as extend ideologies of public consensus external to the potentials it holds. The discussion of Low Pieces (2009-11) suggests that this work troubles consensus as a force of discipline by inviting ambiguity and uncertainty in how bodies relate, whilst employing collective forms typically used to signify inclusion and conviviality, including the pre- or post-show discussion. It is from inside the proposals that such practices of contemporary choreography offer that we might discover new terms of invitation for audiences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerforming Process
Subtitle of host publicationSharing Dance and Choreographic Practice
EditorsHetty Blades, Emma Meehan
Place of PublicationBristol and Chicago
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9781783208968, 9781783208975
ISBN (Print)9781783208951
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2018


  • Choreography
  • Spectators
  • Consensus
  • Explanation
  • Xavier le Roy
  • Aesthetic
  • Process
  • audiences

Cite this