This dissertation assumes the voice – as a phenomenon situated between body and language, sonority and semiotics – is a constitutive yet neglected aspect in research on dance. The project is following the question what the voice in its variable relations to moving bodies can do in a poetical, aesthetical, and ethical sense. The project rebuts the myth of dance as a mute art and thus wants to counteract an essentialist perception of dance. Exemplary modern and contemporary choreographic works (by Antonia Baehr, Valeska Gert, Liquid Loft, Les Ballets Suédois, Trajal Harrell, Ida Rubinstein, Marta Górnicka, Vera Skoronel, João Fiadeiro and Doris Humphrey) are analysed in correspondence with each other from a genealogic perspective. Thematic priorities include the diverse manifestations of the vocal e.g. as lyrical and posthuman voices, affective shocks like laughing or crying, as well as breathing. The structural-phenomenological analysis of the choreographic works draws from methods of Dance and Sound Studies. Psychoanalytical and performative theories as well as Gender Studies provide additional descriptive (or explanatory) powers throughout the dissertation as the voice of the dancing body not only involves its sounding materiality but is highly interwoven with questions of (cultural and gendered) identity, alterity, affectivity, and power. Thus, the research demonstrates and places in the center how contemporary and historical choreographic procedures de- and reconstruct gendered, cultural, and anthropological norms.
Since 2016 Julia Ostwald is working as a project assistant at the department for Music and Dance Studies as well as the interdisciplinary Doctorate School gender_transcultural at Salzburg University. She has studied Dance and Music Pedagogy (Orff-Institut, Mozarteum Salzburg), Dance Teaching (B.A., Fontys Dansacademie Tilburg, NL / Escola Superior de Dança, Lisbon, PT) and holds a M.A. in Dance Studies (FU Berlin). She has been working as a freelance dance practitioner in Austria and Germany for several years and as a guest scholar at Het Firmament (Centre of expertise for the cultural heritage of performing arts in Flander).