The word dramaturg-weaver is not an official term concerning dramaturgy, therefore there is no definition that could be easily “googled”. It is used by Katherine Profeta in her book Dramaturgy in Motion: At Work on Dance and Movement Performance and it seems to be specifically coined for the context it was used in. The first part of this compound word is dramaturg, which in itself is a word that needs some time defining and Profeta explains how the role of a dramaturg evolved through decades. Dramaturg’s work “extends beyond the text as a structure” (3) meaning that the dramaturg both examines and works closely with the text as well as with the performance part of the production. The second part of dramaturg-weaver has a more metaphorical purpose, as the word itself means a person who weaves fabric.
The author explores the role of a dramaturg and dramaturgical relationships through many lenses, one of them being the role of gender. Dramaturg-weaver refers to dramaturgy as “the threading together of a performance” (20). Cindy Brizzell and Andre Lepecki elaborated upon the “gendered helpmate/genius archetype model” and hence they connected the dramaturg’s role of threading to the historically feminine labor of weaving, which is why the term dramaturg-weaver was used. It refers to a dramaturg, who according to expectations needs to work carefully “with delicate moves, light touches”(20) so that she does not come off as trying to achieve any assertiveness and authorship. Because the role of a dramaturg is to solve problems and is expected to provide the right answers, as well as keep the production manageable, the dramaturg’s role has been feminized. The author describes the role as sometimes being tantamount to a good hostess who acts “with the caretaking born of etiquette” (21). According to Bojana Cvejic, the dramaturg is stereotypically viewed as a “long-suffering nurse or waitress” (21), because he or she offers a service and not a product. Of course, this view is only a stereotype and the gendered archetypes should be discarded.
I chose the word dramaturg-weaver because it evoked an image of a woman dramaturg trying to carefully communicate her ideas and I am assuming that this is what Katherine Profeta also wanted to achieve by constructing such a word. I thought the use of the word was smart, as it summarized the content of the following passage about gender associations very well. Although the word was mentioned only once, it gave the text a good metaphor of weaving, which is what the stereotype essentially is – the dramaturg is supposedly offering a service of threading. The idea of a “male creator and a female helpmate”(20) is oftentimes true, however, I personally never viewed the role of a dramaturg as such and maybe that is the reason why the word dramaturg-weaver surprised me.
Profeta, Katherine. “Introduction.” Dramaturgy in Motion: At Work on Dance and Movement Performance, The University of Wisconsin Press, 2015, pp. 20–21.