The Real Artworld? Mending the Gap between Dance Education and the Professional Field

01 November 2023 → 31 October 2026
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Performance studies
    • Theatre science
    • Art studies and sciences not elsewhere classified
  • Social sciences
    • Sociology of arts
    • Sociology of work
precarity contemporary dance artistic labor
Project description

This project conducts pioneering research on the interplay between the labor conditions of contemporary dance artists and contemporary dance aesthetics. In the 21st century, contemporary dance in the European context is a heterogeneous artistic field that experiments with a broad range of alternative approaches to choreography. Contemporary dance artists are mostly precarious workers, whose labor is largely organized in a social, flexible, semi-formal, international, and project-based system. This project combines dance studies and sociology to trace the interrelations between the labor conditions and aesthetics within contemporary dance and particularly focuses on how these interrelations begin to grow already before entering the real artworld, within higher education in contemporary dance. “The Real Artworld” starts from the hypothesis that the nature of contemporary dance along with the complex social structure of the dance world easily lead to transgressive behavior, such as racial discrimination and sexual harassment. The project brings together multidisciplinary research methods, combining interviews, focus groups and observations with performance analysis and critical dance theory to examine how the different experiences in relation to cultural identity and gender issues in higher education and the professional field permeate contemporary dance aesthetics, and vice versa, how the predominant aesthetics reproduce, criticize or challenge these precarious conditions.