Dancing the self
: Cypriot sociocultural identity and contemporary choreography

  • Eleni Drogari

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This practice-integrated research project explores mainstream and alternative embodiments of contemporary Cypriot sociocultural identity through the landscape of contemporary dance, based on the hypothesis that aesthetic movement practice and the dancing self can unearth new knowledge, creative potential, and a clearer understanding of self and other. The theoretical aspect of the research draws upon literature in the fields of Cypriot identity, identity and the body, ethnographic practices, critical pedagogy, and feminist theory. The practical segment of the thesis is comprised of an examination of identity embodiments in Cypriot contemporary dance and a trilogy of collaborative choreographic works entitled Identity Project. By employing collaborative improvisational techniques and the exchange of personal narratives with groups of movement artists the dance practice aims to arrive at experiential, intersubjective yet substantiated materialisations of Cypriot identity.
    The research begins with investigating Cypriot sociocultural identity at large. However, through the development of the practical work the topic soon narrows to women’s realities, feminine identities, female voices, and the role of the aesthetically astute moving body in identity formation. This distillation process discloses the active role of a practice-integrated methodology as a parallel discourse, as several performed subjectivities forge an experientially-based research path. The performative moment or performMent (my term), a
    transformational, lived expression of identity at the conjecture of dance performance, pedagogy, and performativity is a main outcome of the study. I argue that the performMent as both a term and genre bridges a gap in current identity discourses. The implications of merging movement with identity research are also posited as they relate to a postcolonial, modernising, geographically divided, and politically conflicted Cyprus, with particular emphasis on women’s concerns. Perspectives on the performMent as a radical artistic, pedagogical, and sociocultural medium that can invoke awareness, agency, and transformation in both performers and spectators are addressed.
    Date of Award25 Jan 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorStacey Prickett (Supervisor) & Ann R. David (Supervisor)


    • Dance
    • Cyprus
    • Identity
    • Sociocultural
    • Performative

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