On the Caesura in Dance: Reading Black Waters as history at a standstill





dance, caesura, interruption, standstill, gesture, educational philosophy


The art of dance, as a practice expressed in the body language of the dancer, addresses our bodily existence by resembling it. It has the narrative power to make us, as audiences who inhabit bodies ourselves, rediscover the body as a condition of being human that we all share. This illumination can lead us to look at each other’s bodies with more care. With this premise in mind, I call for a moment in the perception of dance that creates an awareness of the social references enacted in the performance. In my consideration, I focus on dance as evocative of imaginative thought, its stillness as dialectical, in which dance takes on an interrupting quality, and ask: How does the perception of a dancing body influence us as spectators in our thinking about the bodies of others? I read Phoenix Dance Theatre’s performance Black Waters (2020) as a representation of colonial history that sheds light on the visibility of Black identities and how they are read through the White gaze. This article particularises dance as a possibility of encounter that enhances decolonial thinking.

Author Biography

Santhia Velasco Kittlaus, The Centre for Jewish Cultural History, Paris Lodron University of Salzburg

Santhia Velasco Kittlaus gained her master’s degree in Critical and Cultural Theory at the University of Leeds. Addressing Walter Benjamin’s thinking of dialectics, her research emphasizes the significance of the pause as a form-giving, philosophical element which facilitates thought. Her work elaborates on the encounter with performance as a possibility of critically engaging with socio-cultural constructs.


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How to Cite

Kittlaus, Santhia Velasco. 2022. “On the Caesura in Dance: Reading Black Waters As History at a Standstill”. Performance Philosophy 7 (2):32-47. https://doi.org/10.21476/PP.2022.72361.