This thesis examines new ways of working with hip hop dance artists in the space of UK dance theatre from an artist-led, practice research perspective. The evolution of praxis that is explored is based on three studio projects: the BLOCK project (2015), two micro projects (2017) and the final exposition (2018). The research examines the dialogic relationship between the movement(s) of hip hop dance artists in the space of UK dance theatre and historico-temporal, sociocultural, political and economic forces conceptualised as the UK hip hop dance theatre (HHDT) ‘metaspace’. In doing so, it asks why, how, when and where dance takes place in the UK, who is granted access to it and under what conditions. Responding to the metaspatial forces that it critiques, the research develops the role of the choreodramaturg as an explicitly politicised practitioner who responds to the metaspace by invoking processual turbulence and unsteadiness in the studio. The research process is informed by an evolving theoretical framework that draws on cultural theory, dramaturgy, hip hop dance theory, contemporary dance theory and performance politics. In particular, Edward Soja’s (1996) concept of Thirdspace was influential in developing a processual Thirdspace model for HHDT. Additionally, the research draws on artist journals and interviews conducted with a range of UK hip hop dance/theatre practitioners as key means of bringing practitioner voices into the research project. In this thesis I argue that complex metaspatial conditions play a supervisory role in choreographic outputs of HHDT artists in the UK. Furthermore, the practice research demonstrates that the development of metaspatial knowledge can be an intrinsic part of choreographic practice and a processual tool that is capable of challenging such conditions.
The research undertaken for this thesis has informed two recent publications:
Sadot, P. (2019). I’m Still Looking for Unknowns All the Time: The Forward (E)motion of Northern Soul Dancing. In S. Raine, T. Wall, & N. Watchman Smith (Eds.), The Northern Soul Scene(pp. 292–310). Sheffield: Equinox Publishing Ltd.
Sadot, P. (2019). Negotiating the Metaspace: hip hop dance artists in the space of UK dance theatre. In M. Fogarty & I. Kai Johnson (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Dance Studies. New York: Oxford University Press (Forthcoming).