Dances that Describe Themselves: The Improvised Choreography of Richard Bull
During an improvised performance, both dancers and audience members reflect on how the dance is being made. They ask themselves: What will happen next? What choices will each dancer make? And how will these decisions contribute to the overall effect and significance of the performance? Trained as a jazz pianist, Richard Bull did not uphold the opposition often found in dance between improvisation and composition. Instead, he believed that dancers, like jazz musicians, could craft a piece spontaneously in performance. Analyzing performances by Bull and many of his contemporaries, Susan Foster argues that their diverse practices embody distinctive values representative of different artistic communities, yet they all share a capacity to reflect on their own making, in a sense, describing themselves.