DANCE AS ANTHROPOLOGY

Approaches found in dance are cultural, sociological or anthropological. Accordingly, one speaks of a shared knowledge within a society that enables people to move with a specific motion or to a particular rhythm whether alone or in the collective. The cultural heritage that allows the body, central in dance, to use particular motions and figures as representation based on cultural, spatial and temporal body awareness. The orientation in the space, as well as the capacity to structure sequences correctly, requires situative knowledge, which is individual to each society.

Alongside this basic knowledge of dance movements, dance has a great deal to do with organisation. Movement organises itself in the individual dancer, while the coordination with other bodies forms a strong collective awareness. The interaction in the movement, for instance the reaction with or to the environment (e.g. dance partners, the audience) has key potential in the construction of social spaces. A space of interaction is generated, a space of communication, a social space.

People who dance with one another form a social space through interaction with their dance partners, although an emotional and social community is also formed through the shared 'pacing' of a space. A space is paced in dance, and absorbed as it is 'captured'. The appropriation of physical space in a social act leads to a social collective. The materiality of the body forms a physical mass in the orchestration on-stage that, in turn, is perceived from outside as one collective body.

The repetition of a motion might even amplify this phenomenon of self-representation. The repetition of a dance step might, for instance, articulate the moments of the present and the past. The learning and execution of performative patterns is a form of temporal (but also spatial) incorporation that finds its zenith in the feeling of belonging in the collective performance. (Annja Krautgasser, Translation: Jonathan Quinn)



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