To romanticise is to portray something in an unrealistic or exaggerated manner, making it more appealing or mysterious than it really is. To romanticise is not to be confused with the romanticism movement that occurred from the 1800s to 1850s, though the word has stemmed from the movement. In art and literature, romanticisation can be problematic, especially if something or someone is falsely presented.
In Dramaturgy in Motion, Ralph expressed his intention for the movement performance, which is to explore the perceptions of racial and cultural identities. In his intention he stated that the foreign artists he is working with bring to him a “mysterious insight” into the heritage of Pan-African dance and theatre (p. 135). However, his intention is to break down and comprehend this mystery through motion, without romanticising or exotifying the expression, but expressing it in a genuine form.
Romanticisation is a concept that intrigues me as I personally struggle with it in my art. I have a tendency to romanticise and exaggerate my pieces. It is not the concept that’s romantisized, but rather the form it is delivered in that is exaggerated and romantisized. I have noticed this quality amongst other artists, which makes me wonder if the aesthetic nature of art will always result in a quality of romanticisation, even if our intentions are what one considers to be genuine or true to the artist. This makes me wonder whether Ralph was successful in delivering his intention of breaking down myths without romanticising or exotifying the material. Also, the reading raised an interesting question as to whether romanticisation is really up to the creators or the audience. As mentioned by Bharucha, foreign audiences may have minimal understanding as to what they are perceiving “beyond exoticizing enjoyment or difference” (p. 135). Even though it may not be the author’s intent to romanticise the material, depending on the audience, the material may still be romanticised. It’s fascinating how much power the motionless audience has over the implications of the piece.
Works CitedProfeta, Katherine. 2015. Dramaturgy in Motion: At Work on Dance and Movement Performance. Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, University of Houston "What is Romanticism?." Accessed 8 Jan 2018. http://www.uh.edu/engines/romanticism/introduction.html.