Dance and politics: Moving beyond boundaries
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Dance and politics: Moving beyond boundaries

By Dana Mills
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Book Description

"Since ancient times and across cultures, dance has provided a powerful form of human expression. In this inspiring book, Dana Mills examines the political power of dance from a global perspective. Mills explores different dimensions of dance as a form of intervention into a politics more commonly articulated in words. She is interested in dance as a system of communication that allows its subjects to speak with their bodies and to create embodied spaces, drawing attention to the radically egalitarian nature of dance with its ability to transcend all boundaries of gender, race and sexual politics. The book is structured around a range of cross-cultural and comparative examples, from the work of Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham to gumboot dancers in South Africa and the One Billion Rising movement, which uses dance to protest against gendered violence. Each case study references powerful dance ‘moments’, providing links to YouTube clips to allow readers to experience dance directly as they read. The case studies are discussed within a conceptual framework drawing on Rancière’s concept of dissensus and in the light of recent work on embodied politics by political theorists including Jodi Dean and Jane Bennett. Dance and politics is aimed at a dual audience of political theorists and students and scholars of dance and performance. It will also be of great interest to readers seeking to expand their thinking about politics, embodiment and activism."

Table of Contents
  • Cover
  • Half Title
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Epigraph
  • Dedication
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
    • A note on method
    • Note
  • 1 Moving beyond boundaries: writing on the body
    • Contraction and release
    • The strong and weak readings of political dance
    • Sic-sensuous
    • Conceptual framework
    • Note
  • 2 ‘I dreamed of a different dance’: Isadora Duncan’s danced revolution
    • ‘I am a revolutionary: all great artists are revolutionaries’: Isadora Duncan’s strong reading of political dance
    • The woman who danced the chorus: intervention and inscription
    • Musical Moment (circa 1907)
      • Music: Franz Schubert, Moment Musicale, D. 780, Op. 94, No. 3 (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq2GgIMM060)
    • Revolutionary (choreographed 1921; premiered 1923)
      • Music: Aleksandr Scriabin, Douze Etudes, Op. 8, No. 12 (www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0ic5gNsNSM)
    • Isadora / Duncan: haunting her own boundaries
    • Conclusion: ‘you were wild once here, don’t let them tame you’
    • Notes
  • 3 ‘The body says what words cannot’: Martha Graham, dance and politics
    • ‘Movement never lies’: Martha Graham’s complex politics
    • Martha Graham and State Department-funded tours, 1955–87
    • Graham’s strong reading of political dance
    • Lamentation (1930)
      • Music: Zoltán Kodály (www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgf3xgbKYko)
    • Night Journey (1947)
      • Music: William Schumann (www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFNsKeMbW20)
    • ‘In my beginning is my end’: from the universal body to universal dissent
    • Notes
  • 4 ‘I want to tell them how I feel and how black people feel’: gumboot dance in South Africa
    • ‘But they have not heard us say it’: the origin, history and aesthetics of gumboot dance
    • ‘We need to speak for ourselves’: choreographic analysis of gumboot dance
      • Gumboot dancers in Cape Town (2007) (www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSgFAG0mtac)
    • Waterford Kamhlaba (2013)
      • (www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYYYymWvhAI)
    • ‘Wake up, Mother Africa, Wake up, before the white man rapes you’: gumboot dance and The Hungry Earth
    • Conclusions: a dance of their own
    • Note
  • 5 Dancing the ruptured body: One Billion Rising, dance and gendered violence
    • One Billion Rising: dance against violence in ethos and practice
    • The flash mob as the non-universal
    • Conclusions: the failure of universality and the transformation of the body: rising together beyond unison
    • Notes
  • 6 Dancing human rights
    • Human rights in a performed sic-sensuous
    • Dabke: political space for a sovereign state in the making
    • The expanding line of the dabke dance into a state-in-becoming
      • (www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdrGrRmdvfA)
    • Arkadi Zaides’s Archive: protest against human rights violations through dance
      • (www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hZW25c9Ulg)
    • Conclusions: a danced conception of human rights
    • Note
  • Conclusions: the dancer of the future dancing radical hope
  • References
  • Index
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