Katherine Profeta in the first chapter of her book Dramaturgy in Motion discusses the possible functions of spoken words in dance. Spoken words are oral language or language uttered in speech according to Oxford English Dictionary. Traditionally they rarely exist in dance performance because dance is in nature movement-based and soundless.
In the book Profeta explores how dancers’ speeches facilitate artistic expression with Geography as an example. In this dance piece, by including poems and lyrics in West African languages, the choreographer emphasizes a message about “cultural specificity” and “intercultural collaboration” (Profeta 34). Also, separating the spoken text from the mute movements in the form of a monologue can be another way to include words in performance; the monologue sets up a field for dancers to elaborate on the meaning of the words.
This is an intriguing discussion since there is the belief that dance is supposed to be pure motions and that speech deprives dance of its valuable ambiguity and infinite possibilities. However, Katherine’s exploration on the concept of “spoken words” in dance dramaturgy suggests new relationships between text and dance. Her rumination on speech opens an innovative door for movements to create meaning.
Profeta, Katherine. Dramaturgy in Motion: At Work on Dance and Movement Performance. The University of Wisconsin Press.
ED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2017, www.oed.com/view/Entry/187285. Accessed 5 January 2018.