Theoretical Frame: Internationally Mixed – Seminar

Thinking, Doing and Exploring (with) Gender

The seminar explores through a combination of practice and theory possibilities to broaden understanding about the body and gender concepts.  Working with three texts by Judith Butler, Ann Albright and Adam Benjamin we ask how a gender is to be discovered in bodily formations, in the hierarchies of interaction, and in aesthetic decision making.

The seminar is designed to make students aware that gender is not so much an issue of roles, stereotypes and physical appearance, but can be regarded as an underlying structure and part of human actions. Concerning the arts, gender is as much a question of process as of content. The three sets of theory allow formulating critical questions toward gender stereotypes as well as to aesthetic principles.

The seminar is also designed to deepen the level of dance analysis within the perspective of gender. Gender is used here as a framework to rethink one’s own perspective and to broaden the scope of understanding the relation between the arts, power structures and bodily formations.

During the seminar literature will be discussed in relation to watching a selection of choreographic works in real time or on video. Also, the students will be invited to participate in practical work that demonstrates the difference between showing gender (playing), being gendered (as part of a habitus) and doing gender to challenge physical norms through specific exercises. .


The seminar will be given by Prof. Dr. Yvonne Hardt from the University of Music and Dance Cologne in conjunction with a local specialist in the field.


The students are asked to read the following texts:

Ann Albright, Choreographing Difference: Body and Identity in Contemporary Dance, 1997 – the chapter on Techno Bodies (pdf attached).

Adam Benjamin: Making an Entrance. Theory and Practice for Disabled and Abled-Dancers, 2002 – chapter 6: Just moving: ethics, integration and the discipline of improvisation (pdf attached).

Judith Butler, Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory, 1988, available online: