Talking Back: What Dance might make of Badiou’s philosophical project

Erin Brannigan


This paper approaches Badiou’s essay, ‘Dance as a Metaphor for Thought,’ on its own terms, considering its stated approach and central claims. This is in order to avoid the indignant tone of some responses from the field that desire other approaches to philosophy’s engagement with dance. Badiou’s project in ‘Dance as a Metaphor for Thought’ is antithetical to my own current, advocatory research, thus offering an adversary of sorts. If it is the case that dance is ‘instrumental’ for the art-philosophy schema that Badiou is formulating, that is, being ‘incorporated’ into the strategies of a philosophy of art, what’s in it for dance? Can Badiou’s project be repurposed for our own disciplinary concerns? For instance, if his conception of dance (drawn from past philosophical accounts and for his own purposes) is seen as lacking from a disciplinary perspective, then what is the idea of dance that positions his as ‘wrong’?


Badiou; philosophy; dance; Lyotard; Deleuze

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