• Battling under Britannia’s shadow: UK jazz dancing in the 1970s and ‘80s

      Carr, Jane (Springer Palgrave Macmillan, 2018-03-31)
      UK Jazz dancing, that is the subject of this chapter, emerged in British clubs in the late 1970s. Drawing upon insights from intersectional and postcolonial theories, this subcultural development of jazz is examined to explore how attitudes to ‘race’, class and gender might be understood as embodied in the styles of dancing. By situating the dancing in relation to its historical context of often turbulent political, social and economic change, it is suggested that while the dancers were focussed on recognition on the dance floor, the dance challenges they participated in can be understood as sites within which young people not only battled against each other but with others to negotiate new British identities.
    • Book review: Joanna Dee Das, Katherine Dunham: Dance and the African Diaspora

      Carr, Jane (Edinburgh University Press, 2019-05-31)
      Review of Katherine Dunham Dance and the African Diaspora Joanna Dee Das, Oxford University Press, 2017 9780190264871
    • Dance, diaspora and the role of the archives: a dialogic reflection upon the Black Dance Arcives Project (UK)

      Carr, Jane; Baddoo, Deborah; University of Bedfordshire; State of Emergency Productions (Edinburgh University Press Ltd, 2020-05-01)
      The Black Dance Archives project collected materials that record the activities of black British artists who created and performed dance predominantly in the later years of the twentieth century. Through the form of a dialogue we bring the perspective of the dance producer who led the project together with a more academic interest in the potential of the materials collected to contribute to dance research. Our shared reflections reveal how a focus on archiving the work of dance artists of diasporic heritage emphasizes that dance, as a form of intangible cultural heritage, is particularly vulnerable to becoming lost to future generations. This leads to reflections upon the role of dance archives within the context of post-colonial Britain that brings to the fore some of the complexities of the archival process and the significance of how this project resulted in materials being dispersed across different institutions.
    • Diasporic experience and the archival process: reflections upon the initial phase of the Black Dance Archives project (UK)

      Baddoo, Deborah; Carr, Jane (2016-11-06)
      State of Trust has been funded to archive ‘collections from eminent individuals and organisations from the British Black dance sector’ (http://blackdancearchives.co.uk/). The Black Dance Archive may be considered as a ‘contingent, dynamic and transformative site’ (Heathfield 2012, 238) whose presence facilitates an historical ‘re-remembering’ (Bindas 2010). It stands as the site of negotiation between ‘Black British’ dance artists and the ‘archontic principle’ (Derrida, 1995) through which the archive retains the traces of a power that consigns documents to their place within a (dominant) signifying system.   Through a diaologic, reflective and trans-disciplinary process, we consider the role of the performance archive within the context of decolonisation. For those artists whose work is included, the transition of artefacts from private to public space marks a legitimization that nevertheless is fraught with the risk of appropriation. The archival process repeats previous tensions between hegemonic dance discourses and the artists’ aims to respond authentically to their lived diasporic experiences. The archive also marks a coming to terms with, even a mourning of, a past that for many of the artists was already shaped by a sense of loss. If, ‘the theory of psychoanalysis… becomes a theory of the archive and not only a theory of memory’ (Derrida 1995, p.18 ), can this archive be conceptualised and experienced in ways that allow for recognition of the lived trauma of diasporic experience while also celebrating how such experiences engendered new danced identities?  
    • The Dorothy Sharp project : shifting embodied identities

      Carr, Jane; Sharp, Bruce (2016-07-30)
      Interactive performance installation. Working with the artist Bruce Sharp, we have devised a workshop/performance installation that aims to facilitate short explorations of embodied identities.We consider that posture, gesture and action can be thought of as providing tools to explore issues of identity, gender and sexualities as (re)presented to others through the performative actions of the subject. The work  interrogatse (un)conscious kinaesthetic choices made by the conventional binary identified that can be opened up to flux by a fluid non-binary identified subject. The work thus aims to provide tools for reflecting upon coded movement behaviour and to surface the human capacity to switch fluidly between them by using written prompts/guide/instructions -  a kind of ‘dish’ – as guide for such ‘improvisations’.
    • The Dorothy Sharp Project : the possibilities of different geographies

      Carr, Jane; Sharp, Bruce (2017-04-10)
      A performative installation /workshop that is a development of a series of incarnations of work under the same title that have explored choreographies of basic postures and gestures. Posture, gesture and action can be thought of as providing tools to explore issues of identity, gender and sexualities This performative installation / workshop aims to provide tools for reflecting upon coded movement behaviours and to surface the human capacity to switch fluidly between them by using written prompts/guide/instructions -  a kind of ‘recipe’ – as guide for such ‘improvisations’.  Within a supportive space, aimed at promoting an environment of collective experience, drinks (non-alcoholic)  and nibbles will be on offer to help viewers to acclimatize to the café- like setting in which ‘a la carte’ movement ‘menus’ provide opportunities for participation. Viewers can become participants by selecting a ‘recipe’. After some easily accessible preparation, they enter the performing area to interpret the simple set of instructions (dish) to perform a short (2 minute) movement sequence. Alternatively they can elect to have a helper perform the chosen movement ‘recipe’.  Actions are lit and accompanied by sound as a means of providing for the ‘performance’ to be distanced from everyday experience in order to facilitate a freedom to play with movement without the fear of value judgments that may otherwise  inhibit behaviour. Simple theatre lighting sets the ‘performance’ space - e.g. a conventional profile light shuttered into a shape like rectangle or a circle. The sound score is tailored to each movement recipe: it aims not only to signal when to start and finish but to provide an environment in which everyday movement can be re-experienced.After each short ‘performance‘, there will be an opportunity for guided self -reflection and, if appropriate, a supported feedback process that facilitates the ‘performer’ to ask questions of their audience about how they witnessed their movement. Respondents will be guided to use non evaluative language in order to be supportive of fellow participants.      
    • Improvisational practices in jazz dance battles

      Carr, Jane; Lewis, Irven (OUP, 2019-04-09)
      With specific reference to bebop, one of the new styles of improvised jazz dancing that developed in Britain in the late 1970s and early 1980s, this essay explores the improvisatory practices associated with the dance challenges, or battles, which were an integral feature of the club scenes within which this dancing emerged. Drawing on the authors’ different perspectives—Irven Lewis’s firsthand experiences of dancing and teaching this style together with Jane Carr’s analysis of the embodied experiences of dance—allows for reflection on the improvisatory practices and their significance. The pan-African cultural influence on the development of jazz dancing is recognized alongside consideration of how this particular style of dancing embodied resistance to a binary division of Western/Africanist culture. Further, the improvised dancing is shown to be reciprocally related to the specific contexts within which it is practised, by virtue of the complex interrelationships between those participating.
    • The negotiation of significance in dance performance: a model for human interaction in the context of difference

      Carr, Jane (Boomsbury, 2020-11-29)
      This chapter explores how dance may be appreciated in a contemporary context in which it can no longer be assumed that performers and audience make sense of dancing with reference to a shared culture. Writing from my position as a former dancer and now dance academic, I draw upon my experiences of dancing, researching and teaching dance with the aim of proposing some avenues ripe for philosophical investigation. Emphasizing that dancing is a communicative phenomenon, I argue that the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty provides welcome recognition of the human capacity for intersubjective, embodied experience which is of key importance to engagement with dancing as meaningful. I propose how the significance of dance performance might be understood through a process of negotiation grounded in intercorporeal experience. However, I recognize the challenge of difference – in relation to gender, sexualities, and/or cultures and abilities - to the self-other relationships which sustain such negotiations. Finally, I situate these reflections within the broader field of philosophical aesthetics to consider the potential of such encounters to contribute to aesthetic values attributed to dance.
    • The possibilities of different geographies

      Carr, Jane; Sharp, Bruce (2019-09-20)
      Revision of work presented as part of Dorothy 139
    • The possibilities of different geographies

      Carr, Jane; Sharp, Bruce (Intellect, 2018-12-31)
      'The Possibilities of Different Geographies’ is the title of a dance work Jane Carr and Bruce Sharp  first created in 1997 that investigated the significance of human embodiment. Twenty years later they revisited the themes informing their earlier work in order to create a participatory performance-installation focused on the significance of the embodied dimensions of intersubjective experience.   The authors present the philosophical and political ideas underpinning their aims to challenge the boundaries that act as limits upon how humans experience their embodied identities and reflect on how, in developing the project, artistic and activist principles became interwoven. They describe the creation of movement scores for participants to perform and consider how elements of movement, sound, lighting and opportunities for reflection contribute to an environment that affords creative participation focused on the intercorporeal dimension of human geographies.  
    • Researching British (underground) jazz dancing c1979-1990

      Carr, Jane (Routledge, 2016-09-20)
      The concept of 're-remembering' (Bindas, 2010) informs my account of researching the  jazz dancing performed in clubs in Britain in the late 1970s and 1980s in which I reflect upon the findings of  my own interviews with jazz dancers and those published by the DJ’s  Mark (Snowboy) Cotgrove (2009) and Seymour Nurse (n.d. b). Further, drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus and field (1984), I consider how jazz styles may be understood to have proposed new British dance identities within the changing cultural field of dance in postcolonial Britain. With specific reference to video recordings of Brothers in Jazz, IDJ and the Jazz Defektors, I explore this jazz dancing in the context of the social changes of the period 1979-1990, the era in which, under the government of Margaret Thatcher, economic and political changes took place that were (and still are) a source of much controversy. Here, Bourdieu’s analysis of cultural fields provides a useful framework from which to consider how differences in practices within an arena such as jazz dancing can be understood both in relation to each other and to a wider context. Finally, recognising how the synchronic and diachronic dimensions of experience and understanding intersect (Bourdieu 1993), and drawing on the words of dance artist Sean Graham, I consider how inclusion of British (Underground) jazz dancing (also known as UK jazz)  in the wider historical understanding of dancing in Britain is important to  the current ‘field’ of dance that is still coming to terms with the social, economic and cultural changes of the recent past.