Through this visual essay Smith interrogates the impact of costume on dance performance practice and pedagogy, focusing initially on her professional engagement with the experimental costume pedagogy of the MA Costume for Performance at London College of Fashion (Barbieri 2007, 2012; Trimingham and Barbieri 2016): informed by the founding principles of Jacques Lecoq and the Laboratoire D’Étude du Movement, and the impact this has had on her subsequent artistic and pedagogical work.
Smith uses theories in relation to the [moving] body and costume, somatics and the Haptic (Barnes et al. 1998; Dean 2015; Fraleigh 1987; Hannah and Mehzoud 2011; Monks 2010) to analyse and discuss the transformation of her performance practice through interaction with costume, leading to an expansion of Mann and Summerlin’s concept of ‘costume as choreographer’ (2016) to propose the new term ‘Costumographer’ as a definition for choreographers and performers working with costume as starting point and principal focus of the performance.
This research has expanded the academic critical discourse of costume by building new connections between the fields of dance, costume and pedagogy. The research output evidences the effect costume can have on the understanding and implementation of the moving and performing body, brings awareness to the lack of real costume experiences in dance education and advocates the importance of sharing pedagogies and artistic practices to critique and develop interconnecting art forms relating to performance. The creation of new terminology has transformed existing knowledge in costume performance and conventional devising processes. Smith is currently developing this terminology further in relation to concepts of agency and collaborative practice as research with costume designer Daphne Karstens as part of Critical Costume 2020.