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Dance and Architecture in “Ballet Pas de Deux” Exhibition Report

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Updated: Aug 12th, 2020

It might be stated that dance and architecture are deeply related types of art. Both use forms and shapes as means of expression, and, in fact, it may be claimed that combinations of these forms and shapes form the basis of any piece or moment of either of these arts. A recent exhibition in The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design, “Ballet Pas de Deux,” provides some examples of this connection (Exhibitions n.pag.). This paper concentrates on the links between architecture and dance, and explains a possible way of interaction between the two.

One of the notable common features of dance and architecture is that both of them use space as a ground for the embodiment of creativity (Ersoy 124-125). In doing so, they employ a variety of forms and shapes, which are utilized to transform the reality and embody the perceptions, emotions, and experiences of their creators (Ersoy 124), as well as to communicate these to other individuals. However, what is different between dance and architecture is that while both of them concentrate on objects which are positioned in space, the former of the two makes an emphasis on the dancer, whereas the latter is made so as to match the desires of those who would perceive or use its results (Ersoy 125). It is easy to see that the intention of a dancer is aimed at themselves while an act of dance in being performed, whereas the intention of an architect needs to be directed towards those who would in the future use the product of their design.

However, this connection between these two areas of the art permits for using the achievements of dancing to practice creativity in the sphere of architecture. It is highlighted that dance can serve as a source of questioning about the connection of movement to visual perceptions of it; being employed as a tool for creation and change in forms, it allows for inducing experiences related to different shapes and analyzing these experiences not only subjectively but also between subjects (Gavrilou 1). It might be possible to state that the imaginative forms coming to life through dance are structured in space in various manners, and these forms have diverse implications which have an impact on the definition of the dance; in fact, the sequences of transitions in a dance form a part of its language (Gavrilou 3).

Clearly, if the experiences of those who perceive dance are shared and studied, conclusion pertaining to the nature of the experiences resulting from different sets of forms can be reached; environmental awareness is also raised as a result of this (Merriman 435). In addition, because dance is dynamic, it allows for studying the impact of transitions between shapes and poses. This knowledge can then be utilized in architecture, which allows for capturing these shapes and the transitions between them. Furthermore, dance can unfold in different environments, as well as to be performed not only by one person, but also by two (the classical pas de deux) or more people, which permits for exploring even a broader variety of space-shape combinations. Paradoxically, capturing form transitions in architecture allows for gasping the dynamics of dance in a static condition. It is no wonder, therefore, that Goethe called architecture “frozen music” (as cited in Winters 61).

Thus, the perception of shapes created in dance can be explored and used in architectural design. Noteworthy, this is why Ersoy offers to use dance as part of architectural teaching (123). In addition, some examples of the (possible) use of dance for architectural experimentation are supplied in Appendix 1 and Appendix 2.

Therefore, dance and architecture are related due to the fact that both of them utilize space as a ground in which creativity is embodied. Collaboration between the two spheres can be possible because, for instance, exploring combinations and dynamics of shapes in dance allows for assessing how these are perceived, which can then be utilized in architecture.

Works Cited

Ersoy, Zehra. “‘Building Dancing’: Dance within the Context of Architectural Design Pedagogy.” International Journal of Art & Design Education 30.1 (2011): 123-132. Print.

. n.d. Web.

n.d. Web.

Gavrilou, Evelyn. . 2003. Web.

Merriman, Peter. “Architecture/Dance: Choreographing and Inhabiting Spaces with Anna and Lawrence Halprin.” Cultural Geographies 17.4 (2010): 427-449. Print.

2010. Web.

Winters, Edward. “A Dance to the Music of Architecture.” Journal of Aesthetics & Art Criticism 69.1 (2011): 61-67. Print.

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IvyPanda. "Dance and Architecture in "Ballet Pas de Deux" Exhibition." August 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dance-and-architecture-in-ballet-pas-de-deux-exhibition/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Dance and Architecture in "Ballet Pas de Deux" Exhibition." August 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dance-and-architecture-in-ballet-pas-de-deux-exhibition/.

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