Sabine Sörgel

Sabine Sörgel

Interweaving Performance Cultures

Fellow 2011/12

Dr. Sabine Sörgel is a Lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at Aberystwyth University, Wales. She received her PhD in Performance and Media Studies from Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz/Germany, where she taught the theory and history of theatre and dance until 2008. Educated in Germany and North America, her research focuses on African aesthetics in the theatre and dance traditions of the Anglophone Caribbean. In 2003 she was a Visiting Scholar at the University of the West Indies, Kingston/Jamaica, and conducted field research with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica in Kingston. Her book, Dancing Postcolonialism – The National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, was published by Transcript Verlag in 2007. Her current research interests include postcolonial theory, globalization and cross-cultural corporeality and identity construction in contemporary theatre and dance performance.

Research Project

Transnationalism and Performative Knowledge: A Study of Cross-Cultural Corporeality in Contemporary Performance

This project investigates performance in the context of international festivals, globalization and cosmopolitanism. Reading contemporary performance through the lens of Deleuze’s and Guattari’s notion of nomadology as a mode of counter-thinking, my research project explores contemporary collaborative performance works from geographical and political regions as diverse as the USA, Congo, Iran and Germany. Such artistic collaborations between North and South, East and West undercut separations of nation and state, gender and class as well as economic privilege and racial stereotype. It is the aim of this research project to make an intervention in the discourse of international politics from a performance perspective by exploring how cross-cultural performance undermines confined notions of state power in its relation to an international civil society and the emerging need for global democracy. While non-Western local performance styles often appear hermetic to the Western gaze, a phenomenological perspective is introduced so as to point towards the politics of experience embodied in the work. During the fellowship period, the focus will be on the dance theatre of Faustin Linyekula and Bill T. Jones’s recent exploration of Yoruba myth and African dance traditions in the musical Fela!, which deals with the life and politics of the Nigerian Afro-beat musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and has been touring internationally.

Selected Publications

  • Sörgel, S., Dancing Postcolonialism. The National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, Bielefeld: Transcript, 2007.
  • Sörgel, S., “Transnationalism and Contemporary African Dance: Faustin Linyekula,” in G. Klein and S. Noeth (eds.) Emerging Bodies: The Performance of Worldmaking in Dance and Choreography, Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2011.
  • Sörgel, S., “‘Like an endless stream of lava and love.’ Mnemonic Re-Enactment, Autobiography, and the Postcolonial Politics of Performance in Trevor D. Rhone’s Bellas Gate Boy,” in A. Hornung (ed.) Auto/Biography and Mediation, Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2010. pp. 483-93.
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung