Quando la politica danza. Riflessioni politiche sulla coreografia, la danza e la protesta

This entry is part 10 of 26 in the series Vol 6-2021

Abstract: What is the lesson politics can draw from dance? In the following I will not so much approach this question by focusing on dance as a genre of fine arts. Of course, as an art form, dance has always been articulated with politics: from the initial moments of ballet at the court of Louis XIV, where it was an intrinsic element of what Habermas called the representational public sphere of the court and a central element in constructing the grandiose public persona of the sovereign, via New York’s Workers’ Dance League with their intriguing slogan: Dance is a weapon in the revolutionary class struggle, to the innumerable dance events today driven by more or less radical political intentions. While it would be fascinating to present a political history of dance, this is not going to be my concern. For the start, I would like to approach the question from the opposite angle, from the perspective of politics and the role dance plays within political practices. In other words, this article will not be so much concerned with whatever is political in dance as a cultural or artistic genre, but with what might be dance-like in political acting. What happens, we will ask, when today’s sovereign, the people, start dancing publicly for reasons of protest? Only after this question has been clarified, I will return to two examples of “dancing politically” that originated from the art field – “East Side Story” by the Croatian artist Igor Grubić, and “How long is now?” by the Israeli performance collective Public Movement.

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