What does dance have to do with discourse? Haven’t we had enough after 30 years of poststructuralism, semiotics, identity politics and affect theory? Let’s dance and engage in joy instead of reflection. But maybe we need to find connections not only between mind and body, but equally between body and mind. The question is not if or not to engage with discourse, reason and knowledge but how and towards what ends?
To justify our artistic endeavours with theory is so uncool. It’s degrading to our art form to dress-up performance in philosophy, and critical theory married to dance can easily become didactic or self-help literature. With the intensification of artistic research, AI supported application writing and the need to satisfy nervous venue directors with malign anxiety to tick all boxes of the recent policy document, it is urgent to rethink and embody discourse differently. At one moment, not so long ago, theory was provocative in the contemporary dance landscape, today it’s taken for granted and has become a service.
To define something can be excluding but it can equally be the starting point for resistance and change. If it’s not us, the people that make and do dance, others will define us and then it’s too late. What do we mean when we say, or write, performative? What is the actual difference between dance and choreography? Choreography as expanded practice is not synonymous with expanded choreography? What is the difference between subjectivity and identity? What exactly is a concept and is it the same as conceptual? My god, what is affect or practice? Or post-human, post-humanism, the Anthropocene, or empathy?
All this and in between we dance, dance a lot, to soft emotional music, so that we tear up a little and maybe cry together for a moment.Mårten Spångberg