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Dance and Politics

Alexandra Kolb

This is the first anthology to explore the fertile intersection of dance and political studies. It offers new perspectives on the connections of dance to governmental, state and party politics, war, nationalism, activism, terrorism, human rights, political ideologies and cultural policy. This cutting-edge book features previously unpublished work by leading scholars of dance, theatre, politics, and management, alongside renowned contemporary choreographers, who propose innovative ways of looking at twentieth- and twenty-first-century dance.
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.

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Part IV. Dancing to Market Forces

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PART IV Dancing to Market Forces Ramsay Burt 11 Performative Intervention and Political Af fect: 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 dif ferent dance works: Tino Sehgal’s performative installation Instead of allowing some- thing 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 cur- rent political concerns. Once, which was made during the build up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, ref lects on opposition to war, while the conceptual strategies articulated in Instead of allowing something to rise… address the ef fects of capitalist overproduction. These two dance works, however, not only cite particular political issues but intervene performatively within them by acknowledging af fective 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 ef fects of political processes. By doing so they put their beholders in positions where they might begin to ref lect 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 ef fects of power...

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