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OTHER WORDS FROM dance

Carr ; Cohen ; Conroy who provides an account of dance as gestural fiction ; McFee and a; Rubidge ; Sparshott and ; Thomas ; and Van Camp One of the features of dance as a performing art that has been often noted is that it moves and it changes, both during the course of any given performance and over time. This does not mean that dance is insubstantial or unserious. Instead, what it means is that there is something vital about dance performances and events that disappears as it is being performed. As noted in Section 3 , above, this may or may not distinguish dance from theater or music, although dance does seem to rely less on recordings and written notations in the making and performing of dances overall.

Davies b and upheld by Goodman and by McFee b and is wrong. McFee b; also see believes that the instability of dance works of art is a problem that is due to poor preservation and reconstruction of dances rather than a feature that tells us something meaningful about the nature of dance. He also thinks that dance notation might be developed in the future to provide a workable way to preserve and reconstruct dances, something that Van Camp and Franko suggest may not be possible the specifics of their claims here can be found in Section 2 of this entry, above.

We can take this to be the negative view of the ephemerality of dance. The positive account celebrates the live nature of the dance performance and helps to explain why kinesthetic responses to dance performances are both relevant and powerful. See Bresnahan a for an account of improvisational artistry in live dance performance as a sort of agency that is consistent with this positive view.

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As mentioned in the introduction to this entry, dance philosophers vary in terms of where within dance practice and performance they would like to focus their attention. Many philosophers who focus on dance as agency and intentional action are looking at the expert action involved in dance as art, although some consider agency and intentionality in social or other forms of dance.

It is also the case that when considering dance as a form of expert action akin to sports, say that often technical and athletic prowess as well as artistic skills like expressivity or grace are the focus on analysis see, e. Among these are philosophers of art who are interested in questions of dance work identity, for purposes of historical identification and reconstruction among others.

These, like McFee , treat dance-relevant actions as part of what is needed to create and instantiate a dance work of art dancework with the focus being on the structure created by these actions. Dance historian Selma Jean Cohen has held that expressiveness is present in all dance, for example, causing Monroe C. Beardsley to posit that expressiveness might be a necessary if not sufficient condition for dance as art.

Borrowing from action theory, Beardsley says that one bodily action can, under the right circumstances, be sortally generated into another kind of action. Thus, the act of running, can, under the right circumstances, be expressive and part of the art of dance accordingly. We can also infer here that other conditions of dance as art might also apply being on a stage in a theater, being offered for appreciation as a dance, conducted in ways that are part of a dance vocabulary, etc.

Susanne K.


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She agrees that action is a necessary feature of dance. Both Aaron Meskin and Pakes suggest that it is the embodiment of dance in a physical, intentional event that makes dances better construed as action-structures than as eternal types. It is for this reason among others that they find dance to be ill-suited for analysis under a Platonic ontology of art in which the structure of the work of art is discovered rather than created.

There are other contemporary dance philosophers, some working within the analytic tradition and some not, who treat the minded agency and action involved in either choreography, performing dance, or both, as primary areas of dance interest as well. Often these are connected to normative, epistemic and ontological commitments about what dance is and why it matters David Davies , for example, treats all art, including dance art, as performance. Many of these philosophers such as Bresnahan a, a, and b; Merritt ; and Montero use both traditional philosophy, in the forms of analytic philosophy and phenomenological philosophy, and insights from research in the cognitive sciences as aids in their analysis.

Dance as a Way of Being Religious - Oxford Handbooks

For more on dance philosophy and its connections to cognitive science see Section 4. See also Section 3. There is also a great deal of literature on agency and intentional action in dance philosophy, which focuses on the thinking and embodied activities that take place in the studio or on the stage or other performance contexts as well as literature on the agency and activities of audience members or appreciators who are not also dancers and dance-makers.

For more dance philosophy literature on dance agency and intentional action see D. Carr ; J. The dancer, for example, often supplies structural and stylistic elements of a dance during the course of rehearsing and performing the piece that were not specified or provided by the choreographer. It follows from this that dancers contribute the raw material for dance performances but are more like skilled technicians or artisans than author-artists.

For an article on video choreography see Salzer and Baer This comes close to and yet stops short of equating dance-making credit for dances with intellectual property rights, where it is by no means the case particularly in the U. For more on issues of authorship in dance and copyright see Kraut , and and Van Camp For a book on dance, disability and the law see Whatley et al.

Three types of improvisation in theater dance have been identified by Carter : 1 embellishments where set choreography persists, 2 improvisation as spontaneous free movement for use in set choreography and 3 improvisation for its own sake brought to a high level of performance. An example of 1 would be the situation in which a dance performer is allowed to amplify existing movements doing a triple pirouette in place of a double, for example , or a stylistic flourish such as an extra flick of the wrist or tilt of the head.

An example of 2 would be the case in which no choreography has been provided for eight bars of music and the dancer s is given the freedom to insert whatever he or she wishes in the open space. Finally, 3 would cover the situation that D.

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It would also include the situation where either the whole performance or a substantial part of it is improvised from start to finish. Goldman thus suggests an alternative form of improvisation, one that is. Somatic improvisation, or the results of these improvisational exercises, may be included in a theater performance for an audience but need not be.

Aili Bresnahan a has made the claim that all live dance performance involves improvisational artistry to at least some extent and that this can be seen as a kind of embodied and extended agency under embodied and extended mind theories, in particular that of Andy Clark in his book, Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension For more on improvisation in the arts, see the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism special issue on Improvisation in the Arts, Spring, [Hagberg ]; Alperson , , and ; Bresnahan ; Brown ; Hagberg ; G.

There are fields of philosophy, particularly in the Continental, pragmatic, and non-Western traditions, that treat art as both activity and as experiential phenomena. These phenomenological kinds of philosophy treat lived experience, including bodily and somatic experience, as something that can provide legitimate descriptive or causal evidence for philosophic claims. See, e. For more on phenomenological approaches to dance see Albright ; Fraleigh [which also contains quite a lot of material on the history of dance in aesthetics], , and ; Franko b; and Sheets-Johnstone and Ness for an account of a shift in dance away from phenomenology with Foucault.

For more on dance and somatic engagement see Eddy ; Fraleigh ; Weber ; and Williamson et al. See also LaMothe ; Pakes , a, and ; and Parvainen for work on the related field of dance, the body and epistemology. Those philosophers, some of whom are mentioned above, who treat lived experience as legitimate descriptive and explanatory evidence are firmly committed to the validity of practice in philosophy of dance. Analytic aesthetics philosophers, however such as D. Davies and Montero , often find it necessarily to legitimize their recourse to practice in an explicit way. Julie Van Camp and Renee Conroy have argued that analytic dance aesthetics needs to be more reflective of and responsive to actual danceworld and artworld practice.

Van Camp has proposed. For an account of practice as dance research see Pakes and a. In dance philosophy there is controversy about how to construe the felt, bodily responses that the audience can and often does have while watching a dance performance.

The Philosophy of Dance

Two of the questions that arise here are the following: 1 What is the causal process by which kinesthetic responses are felt? To take the first question first: Causal processes that can explain kinesthetic responses in dance are by no means well understood. For more on empathy and the kinaesthetic aspect of performance see Foster and Some contemporary philosophers of dance such as Barbara Montero a, b, , and use research in cognitive science and in neuroscience in order to ascertain the answers to why audience members report feeling kinesthetic responses such as a quickening heart rate and certain tensions along with more mysterious feelings in their muscles and nervous systems.

For more on how dance philosophy incorporates approaches from cognitive science in these and other areas see Section 4 , below. See also Bresnahan b; Reason and Reynolds ; Sklar ,;and Smyth for more on kinaesthetic response to dance. McFee, as mentioned in Section 3.

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Van Camp lends support for this view. Bresnahan has sided with Montero on this point b. Further, Bresnahan believes that there are some aspects of the experience of dance that are not available to the non-dance-trained appreciator or not available to the same extent.

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Bresnahan agrees that this is an empirical question but she sides with Montero, Carroll and Seeley in holding that answers to empirical questions can aid philosophic understanding. For more discussion on the appropriateness of empirical support for philosophic inquiry in dance see Sections 3. Some dance as individuals, separately, as they please. Street dance is like that. All these types of dance have music. At the same time, round the world there are many traditional dances.

Some of them have been going for hundreds of years. We call them folkloric dances. The coming of popular music videos and DVDs led to a kind of dancer previously seen in some stage shows. A backup dancer or background dancer is a performer who dances with or behind the lead performers in a live musical act or in a music video. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Oxford Dictionary of Dance. Oxford University Press, Oxford. The world history of the dance.


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Norton, N. Historical dances: 12th to 19th centuries. Dance Books, London. The Telegraph.