"Dance, Illocutions, and Discourse Representation," Lecture by Tista Bagchi
This presentation opens up the domains of narrative and non-narrative performative dance to semantico-pragmatic inquiry, taking a comparative perspective between dance traditions from Eastern India and classical Western ballet. While illocutions are conveyed through hand gestures and (facial and corporeal) mime in these different traditions, they come to assume special significance in discourse representation as the latter pertains to narrative dance, such as nr̥tya in classical Indian dance-forms. The communicative intent of narrative dance – in contrast with its purely aesthetic-cultural semiosis – is typically directed at the audience’s (re)cognition of discourse referents and their actions, including illocutions, in the dance space. It therefore lends itself to the scrutiny of Discourse Representation Theory or, more broadly, dynamic semantics. This communicative intent, however, differs from those of ordinary-language communications in that it allows for creative play in the splitting, conflation, and even turn-taking enactments of characters to convey discourse-referent identities.