Investigating the Structural Gap in Igbo Dance Theatre through the Primary, Performative and Quoting Repertoire Theories
Humanities and Social Sciences
Volume 3, Issue 5, September 2015, Pages: 201-206
Received: Sep. 8, 2015;
Accepted: Sep. 25, 2015;
Published: Oct. 10, 2015
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Christian Ikechukwu Nwaru, Department of Theatre and Performance, School of the Arts, University of Northampton, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom
This work represents an on-going Ph.D. investigation of Igbo dance theatre in eastern Nigeria. Existing research on Igbo dance theatre reveals that different authors wrote about the forms of Igbo dance theatre and called them ‘Igbo dance theatre’. Furthermore, some scholars have also shown and commented on dance forms such as Okunmkpo, Odo and Ekpe as Igbo dance theatre. The concept of Igbo dance theatre as used in this study differs from those presentations and forms characterised by incomplete structures and plots that do not best describe Igbo dance theatre. In some forms of Igbo contemporary dance theatre, what audiences and participants witness is merely one stage of a spectrum whose other sections are neither visible nor necessarily articulated in and through dance. Thus, what is on show in many Igbo dances is only a part of the whole and it takes the combination of the visible stage action and an understanding of the imagined contents of missing sections, the latter being generally inferred or derived from legends, myths, folktales and from social commentary, for audiences to appreciate the full meaning and significance of Igbo dance theatre. This research is based on the premise that the structure of Igbo dance forms discussed earlier are sequestered, creating a ‘missing link.’ This case study provides an account of some practical aspects of an on-going Ph.D. project that focuses and draws upon primary research, Brad Haseman’s performative research theory and Yvonne Hardt’s repertoire theory. Performative research theory is concerned with those researchers who carry out practice-led research and such research is intrinsically experiential and comes to the fore when the researcher creates new artistic forms. Repertoire theory demonstrates how artists discover and use materials from the past to formulate new constructs based on the needs of present dance performances. Given that the primary goal of this investigation is to re-create and re-interpret Igbo dance form as a full dance theatre, where the narrative is not assumed to be clearly understood by the audience, both paradigms are useful for explaining the cultural histories, abstract symbols and information, the missing links and working structure of Igbo dance theatre.
Christian Ikechukwu Nwaru,
Investigating the Structural Gap in Igbo Dance Theatre through the Primary, Performative and Quoting Repertoire Theories, Humanities and Social Sciences.
Vol. 3, No. 5,
2015, pp. 201-206.
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