Edited By Alexandra Kolb
Topics covered range across the political spectrum: from dance tendencies under fascism to the use of choreography for revolutionary socialist ends; from the capacity of dance to reflect the modern market economy to its function in campaigns for peace and justice. The book also contains a comprehensive introduction to the relations between dance and politics.
11 Performative Intervention and Political Affect: de Keersmaeker and Sehgal
This chapter investigates the potential for dancing bodies to intervene in the political.1 It does this by analysing two recent but very different dance works: Tino Sehgal’s performative installation Instead of allowing something to rise up to your face dancing bruce and dan and other things (2000), and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s solo Once (2002). As I will show, each work cites the memory of the 1960s in order to draw attention to current political concerns. Once, which was made during the build up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, reflects on opposition to war, while the conceptual strategies articulated in Instead of allowing something to rise… address the effects of capitalist overproduction. These two dance works, however, not only cite particular political issues but intervene performatively within them by acknowledging affective aspects of the political. These works do not attempt to propose solutions to the problems to which they draw attention. Instead, as I shall show, each generates a sense of shame at the violating effects of political processes. By doing so they put their beholders in positions where they might begin to reflect on where they themselves stand in relation to the violence of war (Once) or the degradation of the physical and social environment (Instead of allowing something to rise…). These kinds of violence are the effects of power on individuals. As Michel Foucault observed, power is ‘a relationship between two individuals, a relationship which is such that one can direct the behaviour of another...
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