Gabriele Brandstetter
Stadt Wien ifk_Fellow

Duration of fellowship
01. March 2020 bis 30. June 2020

Movement and Metaphor – Tropes and Disfigurations in Contemporary Dance


The diversity of representation methods in contemporary dance stems in large part from the incredible variety of body techniques and styles of movement training. What these phenotypically distinct forms of dance nonetheless have in common is that they are no longer guided by a single aesthetic practice of physical “education.” Instead, dancers often acquire a multiplicity of different techniques and training methods over the course of their training, techniques subsequently deployed to create differing qualities of movement. Figures of language, metaphors, and semantic fields are used to sensitize the body and transform movement patterns, for example, by directing the imagination to engage in specific ways with one’s kinesthetic self-perception or spatiotemporal (dis-)placement. This presentation will illuminate different examples of how metaphors are used to influence qualities of movement. In what ways do they function as “translators” in the process of repatterning habitualized movements within the context of a somatic micropoetics of translation? What tropes (trans-)form, refigure, and disfigure movement in specific bodily-aesthetic practices? As a whole, the project is interested in considering, in view of their aesthetic effectiveness, which theories of metaphor and/or “non-conceptuality” (Hans Blumenberg) are able to offer new perspectives on performative processes at the nexus of image – body – movement.


Professor of Theater and Dance Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. Since 2008 co-director of the International Centre “Interweaving performance studies.” Her research focus is on: History and aesthetics of dance, theatre and literature from the 18th century until today, on transfer between language - body - movement and on virtuosity in art and culture as well as concepts of movement and image. In her younger publications she focusses on political and aesthetic aspects of transgression, migration and decolonizing dance.


gem. mit Holger Hartung (Hg.), Moving (Across) Borders. Performing Translation, Intervention, Participation, Bielefeld 2017; gem. mit Katja Schneider (Hg.), Sacre 1913/2013. Tanz, Opfer, Kultur, Freiburg 2017; Poetics of Dance. Body, Image and Space in the Historical Avant-Gardes, New York 2015; Bild-Sprung. TanzTheaterBewegung im Wechsel der Medien, Berlin 2005.

15 June 2020
  • Lecture

„Movement and Metaphor“ – Tropen und Defigurationen im zeitgenössischen Tanz

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Die Vielfalt der Darstellungsweisen im zeitgenössischen Tanz beruht auf einer großen Varianz von Körpertechniken und Bewegungstrainings. Gemeinsam ist diesen phänotypisch sehr unterschiedlichen Tanzformen, dass ihnen nicht mehr eine einzige stilbildende Praxis der Körper-„Bildung“ zugrunde liegt. Stattdessen wird von TänzerInnen im Laufe der Ausbildung oft simultan eine Mixtur unterschiedlicher Techniken und Trainingsweisen erworben, um differenzierte Bewegungsqualitäten einzusetzen.