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The Creative Gesture

Dramaturgy for Dance

The application deadline for this opportunity has passed.

To make sense of a world saturated by complex flows of energy, information, randomness, chance, and change, the human brain has become extremely sensitive to patterns and their disruption. Dramaturgy works with perception and meaning, and can be thought of as a relational practice—a way of understanding and navigating the complexities of the creative process with awareness and care.

This two-week research workshop is part of The Creative Gesture dance program. Led by dramaturg and writer Ruth Little alongside acclaimed choreographer, writer, and educator Liz Lerman, the program will consider dance dramaturgy as an ecosocial practice based on intimate attention to the world and its processes. The workshop will explore the uses of practical, adaptable tools for generating mental, physical, and social movement.

What does the Program Offer?

Through immersive, embodied, and collaborative research involving faculty members, visiting artists, and the rich physical context of Banff Centre, this workshop will explore the role of dramaturgy as the fundamental craft underlying the creation, articulation, and interpretation of dance works. Participants will explore how dramaturgical thinking involves the application of embodied ecological and ethical insight and the development of skills for enabling change and working with resistance in multiple contexts.

Topics Include:

  • The structures of living systems.
  • Chaos and complexity.
  • Sensitivity to initial conditions.
  • Scale.
  • Resonant objects, vibrant matter.
  • Stalking the Image: Tools for initiating and developing movement, including thinking grids, equivalents, movement metaphor, editing.
  • Critical response.
  • Extending the Edge: subculture, permaculture, thresholding.
  • Failing Better: Error, difficulty, imbalance.
  • Context: Place-based sensing and learning.
  • The adjacent possible.
  • Ambiguity.
  • Hiking the horizontal: studio, social, and civic practice.

Who Should Apply?

A wide range of professional artists—Canadian and international—who are interested in a deeper understanding of dramaturgy as a choreographic and social practice are encouraged to apply. We welcome artistic directors, choreographers, dancers, dance practitioners (teachers, rehearsal directors, etc.), dance writers, and professional artists in other mediums.

For more information or to apply online, visit

Application Deadline: March 13, 2019
Program Dates: July 29 – August 10, 2019