Reconstructing dancer identities

Implications of a global pandemic for freelance contemporary dancers in Aotearoa/New Zealand


  • Emma Cosgrave



Covid-19, Freelance contemporary dance, Identity, Alienation, Adaptability


The Coronavirus (Covid-19) continues to reshape many lives socially, politically, and economically. Choreographic practice, performance, and those involved in dance are also affected in different ways. This article investigates the research question: How might the event of Covid-19 prompt the transformation of freelance dancers’ identities? Through a qualitative narrative inquiry, three freelance contemporary dancers from Aotearoa/New Zealand were interviewed. From a thematic analysis of the data, the theme of alienation and adaptability were drawn out. This research reveals that the event of Covid-19 has caused freelance dancers to question their identity and precarity within their communities and shifted their position to advance a sense of security. The stories shared by the dancers revealed that industry practices and conditions for freelance contemporary dancers in Aotearoa/New Zealand need redevelopment for greater sustainability, relevance and inclusion, which could pave the way for industry changes to occur post-covid-19.



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2021-12-22 — Updated on 2021-12-23