© 2020

Labor and Aesthetics in European Contemporary Dance

Dancing Precarity


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Annelies Van Assche
    Pages 1-5
  3. Annelies Van Assche
    Pages 7-35
  4. Annelies Van Assche
    Pages 37-70
  5. Lifestyle and Survival Artists

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 71-72
    2. Annelies Van Assche
      Pages 73-86
    3. Annelies Van Assche
      Pages 87-114
  6. The Fast, the Mobile and the Flexible

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 115-116
    2. Annelies Van Assche
      Pages 117-165
    3. Annelies Van Assche
      Pages 167-188
    4. Annelies Van Assche
      Pages 189-213
  7. Burning Out and Slowing Down

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 215-216
    2. Annelies Van Assche
      Pages 217-254
    3. Annelies Van Assche
      Pages 255-266
    4. Annelies Van Assche
      Pages 267-282
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 283-293

About this book


This transdisciplinary study scientifically reports the way the established contemporary dance sector in Europe operates from a micro-perspective. It provides a dance scholarly and sociological interpretation of its mechanisms by coupling qualitative data (interview material, observations, logbooks, and dance performances) to theoretical insights. The book uncovers the sometimes contradicting mechanisms related to the precarious project-oriented labor and art market that determine the working and living conditions of contemporary dance artists in Europe’s dance capitals Brussels and Berlin. In addition, it examines how these working and living conditions affect the work process and outcome. 

From a sociological perspective, the book engages with the relevant contemporary social issue of precarity and this within the much-at-risk professional group of contemporary dance artists. In this regard, the research brings novelty within the subject area, particularly by employing a unique methodological approach. Although the research is initially set up in a specific geographical context and within a specific research population, the book offers insights into issues that affect our neoliberal society at large. The research findings show potential to make a relevant contribution with regards to precarity within dance studies and performance studies, but also labor studies and cultural sociology.


Precarity Contemporary Dance Post-Fordism Artistic Labor European Dance Scene Aesthetics

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.GentBelgium

About the authors

Annelies Van Assche is a Postdoctoral Assistant at the Department of Art History, Musicology, and Theater Studies at Ghent University, Belgium. She obtained a joint doctoral degree in Art Studies and Social Sciences in 2018 at Ghent University and KU Leuven, Belgium, for studying contemporary dance artists in Brussels and Berlin.

Bibliographic information