Dance is often considered an ephemeral art, one that disappears nearly as soon as it materializes, leaving no physical object behind. While most cultural works are tangible, like books in print and framed artworks on display, the practice of dance remains more elusive. Dance involves people trying to embody some abstract, unwritten thing that exists before - and survives beyond - their particular acts of dancing. But what exactly is that thing? For that matter, what
is a dance? And do dances continue to exist when not performed? Anna Pakes seeks to answer these questions and more in this exciting new volume, which investigates what sort of thing dance really is.
Focusing on Western theater dance, Choreography Invisible: The Disappearing Work of Dance explores the metaphysics of dance and choreographic works. The volume traces the different ways dances have been conceptualized across time, through such lenses as the cultural theory of Derrida, the philosophy of Ranciere and Baidou, and contemporary dance theory. It examines how dances have survived through time, and what it means for a dance work to be forgotten and lost. In her
exploration of the amorphous and fleeting nature of dance as a cultural object, Pakes ultimately transforms the way we understand the very nature of art.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 376
Dimensions: 235 x 156 mm
This wonderfully rich book is essential reading for anyone interested in better understanding the objects that engage us in dance practice, dance criticism, and dance appreciation. Pakes's exploration of central issues in dance ontology is informed by a deep knowledge of dance history and dance practice, and by an astute critical grasp of the relevant philosophical issues. Dance, as Pakes notes, has been marginal to debates in analytic ontology of art: this book
shows why this must no longer be the case. * David Davies, McGill University *
With clarity, lucidity, and richly informed insight, Pakes explores the identity and ontology of dance. Her focus on dance history, practice, and aesthetics discourse provides stunningly original and erudite exploration of what dance works are. Pakes weaves a complex tapestry drawing from an astonishing range of current and classical proposals. Future work on these important issues cannot help but be shaped by the fresh contributions in this splendid book. * Julie C. Van Camp, California State University, Long Beach *