The use of dramaturgy in American theatre and dance is a relatively recent development; while in Europe and other parts of the world, dramaturgs are deeply embedded in the fields of dance, theatre, and music. In Western European theatre and dance practices, dramaturgs play multiple roles, often as scholars, critics, researchers, archivists, and producers. However, in the rehearsal room, they can perform as soundboards to the choreographer/director, using skills often attributed to playwrights and directors.
As part of Jacob's Pillow Director Pamela Tatge's long-range plan entitled Vision 22, the Pillow is expanding into a year-long artist development lab, a program through which dramaturgs will have the opportunity to work closely with choreographers, dancers, and designers in the creation of works. In this case, a dramaturg will serve as an in-house critic, sharing historical, artistic, political, and cultural information that can better shape the choreographer's new piece into a cohesive artistic vision, in which all elements and aspects of a production complement each other.
How does a dramaturg work with choreographers, dancers, and designers inside and outside of the rehearsal room? What may the dramaturg bring into the process of dance creation? What potential creative revelations may choreographers and dancers benefit from a dramaturg?
"Dramaturgy and Dance" written by Gaven D. Trinidad, dramaturg and former 2017 Jacob's Pillow Archives/Engagement intern. Thank you to Norton Owen and Patsy Gay for their support.