"How Dance Thinks" Conférence, Londres, 4 juin 2014
How Dance Thinks
Dance has a history of being considered or reduced to an exhibition of graceful movements illustrating narratives and/or musical structures. Nowadays, it is equally likely to be conceived as a messenger of ineffable, affective and personal experiences. On the one hand, dance is reduced to an expression that is not autonomous or meaningful in itself; on the other, dance is identified as an impenetrable art, manifesting subjective states that cannot be intellectually understood or linguistically expressed. We will suggest that both these two broad perspectives tend to misconceive the nature of dance. Dance is neither an empty, purely technical and formal accompaniment for music, nor an abstruse form of the expression of deep, mysterious or hidden entities. Rather, the idea of a kind of "thought in action" is particularly relevant to dance. We will defend the rationality of dance learning, practice, creation and interpretation as artistic activities. Dancing involves dispositions and capacities that, although practical and seemingly hard to language, reveal a complexity that is proper to rational beings. An application to dance performances of the concepts of thought and rationality, we will maintain, is a benefit for both philosophy and dance, in encouraging to abandon traditional dichotomies (intention/action, expressed/expression, mental/physical, internal/external) and to refute the widespread tendencies to underestimate or to overcomplicate dance.