This dissertation approaches dance-media in the broadest sense. It is not an exhaustive survey of the field, but is instead an examination of dancing bodies as they appear across media platforms. I thus include print and other analog media alongside digital media, pursuing cross-historical comparisons of dance. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the significant conceptualizations of corporeality that emerge at the interface of dance and media. I analyze the ways that media choreograph bodies in general, and dancing bodies in particular. In the process of adapting and conforming to media formats, dancing bodies offer new movement strategies, make their choreographies visible, and reveal cultural assumptions regarding motion, labor, and corporeality.
Over the course of this dissertation, I delineate six figurations of bodies that are affiliated with contemporary dance and digital arts practices. I identify "data," "networked," "trans-spatial," "transposable," "reiterative," and "archived" bodies as recurring tropes. Drawing examples from Western dance history, I sketch a genealogy of these bodies in dance and contribute to the historicization and theorization of these imagined corporealities. I further pair each figure with a choreography that describes how each body moves through mediated spaces and reworks the concept and function of choreography.
The analyses I undertake in this dissertation are by necessity interdisciplinary and pull from scholarship across the humanities. In particular, this project occurs at the nexus of dance studies, performance studies, and media studies. It also spans over 300 years of dance-media, including eighteenth-century dance notation; twentieth-century performance, film, analog video, digital video, and motion capture work; and twentieth- and twenty-first-century digital video, installations, CD-ROMs, and Internet-based dances. I approach these mediums and these dances choreographically, which is to say, through a close reading of movement. I contend that dance and media contribute to historically specific understandings and configurations of corporeality. I approach dance-media, therefore, as a theorization of bodies and their capacities for motion and, moreover, as a theorization of space and time. How spatiality and temporality are staged in dance-media have theoretical and political consequences for the bodies imagined therein.