“Credo In Artem Imaginandi” – Bojana Cvejic

  • post-dance – indication of a paradigm shift
  • separation of dance from choreography
  • modernist definition of dance – rooted in subjectification of the body through movement or objectification of movement by the instrument of the body
  • a lot has been gained by recognizing choreography’s capacity to structure processes other than dance.
  • Once choreography’s takeover of performing arts has been done with more or less success, what remains of dance?

The Corporeal

  • A dancer will turn their attention inward, into somatics, trusting that everything is already there; a body to scan for sensations and a map to move from, a proprioceptive conscious­ness of belonging to no place other than theirself, the body.
  • two sides: first, a broad­er corporeality whose ethos is close to an aestheticized lifestyle: it is the somaticized body I have recounted above. A body that believes its somatic awareness is enough to dance whatever as-such or just be more in ­tensely wherever it is. This somaticized body, once dubbed hired and now hailed independent, survived the automation of work when human labor and intelligence become less needed in production. [“The hired body” – term coined by scholar Susan Foster in the 1990s to refer to dancers who no longer specialize in one style and tech­nique, carrying the label of, say, Graham, Cunningham, Cullberg ballet or Forsythe.]
  • At a not-so-remote point in the future, when art will have transformed in to culture on demand, the body’s currency will be gauged against machine-learning, its valued assets situated in movement, human touch, and contact. As there won’t be many theaters showing dance, and even less subsidy for independent dance projects than today, the body’s knowledge will be redirected to therapy, care-taking and sex-work, those things that machines aren’t so good at.
  • The second kind of corporeality is endemic to the historically appraised discipline of dancing. It entails a particular regime of work enabled by the money that can pay for repetitions. Only companies that combine high-skill craftsm anship with factory-like produc­tion.

The Incorporeal

  • dancers are leaving dance as we know it, not to change their profession, but to take dance somewhere else, into a text, onto a screen, into a tim e that lies besides and in between bodies, objects and words, the stillness and waiting that wouldn’t be recognized as dance.
  • In fact, text might be an instance of immateriality in a new guise, an avenue for incorporeal dance.
  • What kind of image does imagination produce through the engaged sensorial imagination of words? One in which the imaginer is part of it, enveloped in; an envi­roning image. To visualize what remains unseen is to come closer to conception and conceivability: in think­ing oneself as seeing something that I don’t perceive, I include my seeing in what I visualize (it’s not about a self-reflective mirroring image, seeing myself in the image, or being part of it, but embedding my own gaze or listening perspective within the image as I see and hear it). A certain thickness of environment, which threat­ens to grow into a whole, suggests a world that arises beyond the positivity of what is present.
  • Marten Spangberg’s “La Substance”: “Like and amidst the colorful objects, as if they cham eleonically share the same habitat, are seven dancers, overdressed in multiple layers of incon­gruous garments, a wild dissonant mixture of cheap, glossy, tacky, mainstream fashion items.” “They form an aesthetic environment that appears effortless, uncaused, without meaning and value, and indifferent, like nature.” “Dancing never indulges in a gleeful party that the spectators would be envious of.” “Like party toys that die out once they pop a little spectacle, the dancing also implodes. It withdraws into its own form, like a disinterested ornament before it is picked out and framed as something worthy of special attention.
  • “The dance creates an image of nameless and even bodiless Powers filling a complete, autonomous realm, a ‘world.’ It is the first presentation of the world as a realm of mystic forces… The substance of such dance creation is the same Power that enchanted ancient caves and forests, but today we invoke it with full knowledge of its illusory status, and therefore with wholly artistic intent.” Susanne Langer, Feeling and Form: A Theory of Art Developed from Philosophy in a New Key. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953

Dance, Knowledge, and Power” – Colleen Dunagan

[“According to Langer, to ‘‘understand’’ dance is to recognize the element or aspect of life that is captured in the performance of the work and perceived by the audience. In terms of dance, Langer understands this aesthetic activity to reside in the performance of choreographed movement, which she refers to as virtual gesture, through which a dance as a whole creates the effect of virtual power. Langer’s concept of virtual power is equivalent to an abstraction of aspects of human agency as they are embodied in a dance. Another way to comprehend this idea of an ‘‘abstraction of human agency’’ is to think of human agency as being in part determined by what one feels physically capable of doing. Thus, in one sense, agency consists of who I understand myself to be, how this being is defined by dynamic relationships between others and myself in the world, and how this being is embodied in my movement, or corporeality. Thus, human movement carries significance in that it is part of how I enact who I am in the world. In addition, while some movement engages in the activity of denotation through established cultural mores and values, much of dance utilizes movement that more often communicates through connotation and metaphor. This metaphoric level of movement generates meaning on a conceptual level, rather than on a literal level. By ‘‘abstract,’’ I indicate the
movement’s ability to reference larger concepts that can be both literally present in the movement and metaphorically present in the choreographed work, so that the performance becomes a link between physical sensations as they reside in the movement and dynamic concepts as they exist in the world.”]

“If making art nowadays requires the entrepreneurial stamina of an achievement-subject whose promise of value is convincing, we might as well begin to exercise imagination and invest in works of dance and performance that we don’t yet know how to produce.”

About dance: “I will call it the numinous: a reality whose source is not in the subject, yet it invades and abandons the subject as an apparition, with a phantom-like power. Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for occult dreams, it is aperfectly rational thing I invoke here prefiguratively. My credo of the future of post-dance is dance that preserves a certain opacity: stubborn inefficiency of appearance with a certain degree of will and intensity that renders it a strangely underperformed being amidst a well-or­ganized world of persuasive self-performances.”