From Odd Encounters to a Prospective Confluence: Dance-Philosophy
This text inquires into the relationship between Western philosophy and Western theatre dance from their odd encounters in modernity to the current affiliations between contemporary choreographic poetics, critical theory and contemporary philosophical thought. The point of departure for the inquiry is a discussion of the three problems that have structured the historically vexed relationship between dance and philosophy: dance’s belated acquisition of the status of an art discipline, the special ontological status of the work of dance, and the limits of dance’s meaning-production set by the theme of bodily movement’s “ephemerality” and “disappearance.” After critically examining the approaches of Alain Badiou and Jacques Rancière in whose philosophies dance is relegated to a metaphor or, even worse, to an ahistorical conduit for a general ontology, the author makes a case for another movement of thought that arises in dance practice and is at the same time philosophical, rooted in Spinoza’s (and Deleuze’s) principle of expression. Demonstrating how choreographers, like Xavier Le Roy and Jonathan Burrows, create by “posing problems,” Cveji? presents a theory of “expressive concepts,” whereby choreography contributes to a philosophical rethinking of the relationship between the body, movement and time. This points to the new prospects of a kind of “dance-philosophy,” in which the epistemic hierarchy is reversed: the stake is no longer in what philosophy could do for dance, but how an experimental, radically pragmatic orientation in dance offers a practical framework for theorizing perception, concept-formation and other philosophical issues.
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