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Projects & Activities

Corporeal Dramaturgy: Redistributing Agency in Dance

A two-year, international research-creation project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and led by research-practitioner Angélique Willkie. With collaboration from choreographers Pia Meuthen and Melanie Demers, the project aims to rethink the body of the dancer as a political site of corporeal singularity and an active point of departure for creation, rather than merely an instrument for channeling the creativity of others. 

The dancer’s body is often thought of as a vessel for the choreographer’s creative input, yet many choreographic processes rely on the embodied improvisational responses of dancers to generate movement and theatrical material for development and performance. Furthermore, audiences never read bodies on stage neutrally: race, gender, age and movement style affect the way a dancer’s body is interpreted. In our current political climate where visible minorities do not have the luxury of being blank canvases, performance is a crucial space in which to interrogate notions of identity, perception, and agency, rather than bury those individualities under fantasies of neutrality.

This project spearheads much-needed discourse between Montreal, a hub for performing arts in Canada, and Europe, where dance dramaturgy has established roots. The project’s overall goal is to strengthen the position of dramaturgy in the field of dance, currently a fledgling practice in Canada, and shift the dramaturgical reflection about creative processes, emphasizing the corporeal dramaturgy of the dancer as a source rather than a repository or medium.

Against the Blank Canvas

The first research-creation project, carried out in The Netherlands in December 2019, features Pia Meuthen as choreographer, Tarek Rammo as performer and A. Willkie as dramaturg. “Against the Blank Canvas” extends Willkie’s current research, on dramaturgical approaches to interdisciplinary creation and the diversity of performing bodies, toward the creation of an implementable set of tools that can be used to investigate the corporeal dramaturgy of the performer. The project does not seek a "truth" as to the dramaturgy of the performer; there is no theory or hypothesis to establish. Rather, it intends to highlight the potential of the approach—a theorization of dramaturgical practice with respect to the performer.

Confession Publique

The second research-creation process begginning in February 2020—with Melanie Demers as choreographer and A. Willkie in the role of dramaturg and dancer—will be structured from the knowledge gleaned in the pilot project, round table, and interviews, and will allow the articulation of Willkie’s own corporeal dramaturgy, as performer. The final dramaturgy process will result in an evening-length performance at Théâtre La Chapelle in Montreal in Fall 2021.

Talks with Invited Speakers

Tuesday, March 16, 2021 4-5.30 pm EST – via Zoom

Black Bodies in Space-Time with Deanna Bowen and Kara Keeling (org. LePARC and Milieux Institute)


The Performing Arts Research Cluster (LePARC) and Milieux Institute invite artist scholars Deanna Bowen and Kara Keeling to a conversation using different languages to articulate blackness, the (de)construction of narratives around black bodies, identity and its shifts in space and time. Join us for a dialogue at the intersections of media and queer theory, photography and gallery systems strategies, double consciousness, anti-racist operational systems, black feminist intervention, technology and culture politics.

This event was organized with Lucy Fandel and moderated by Carlos Edumello.

Below you can find the talk's recording:

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