Narrative, according to the Oxford dictionary, is “a spoken or written account of connected events” or simply, “stories told through language.” The core idea being, expression in words is a prerequisite for narrative.
In Dramaturgy In Motion, Katherine Profeta challenges this notion, bringing forth an alternative proposition of “textless and abstract expression” wherein stories have the scope of being told without words or images. Expanding from Gerand Genette’s understanding of narrative as the “development” of a verb (action word), this text introduces Roland Barthe’s theory that a story can be articulated both through words or gestures, through the tangible or abstract, as long as it entails the basic narrative elements of consecution and consequence. Profeta asserts that this definition does not require “overt character or psychology” or “mimetic representation” as it is subjective in nature and an audience may engage and receive the story in different ways. In this way, the text demonstrates how an art form like dance, while retaining its abstract and/or expressive nature, can also be a means of storytelling.
This refreshing take on narrative resonates with me in relation to our course, as it echoes Aaksh Odedra’s recurrent message during our first dance class, “we don’t need words to speak”. If we hold onto this idea of dance being a language of its own, we can recognize the profound power and agency it has as a means of not just storytelling, but also advocacy. And this use of artistic narrative encapsulates the mergence of ‘movement’ and ‘meaning’.
Dictionary.com Unabridged "Assimilation." Accessed 6 Jan 2018. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/assimilation.