By Ann Cooper Albright
The choreographies of invoice T. Jones, Cleveland Ballet Dancing Wheels, Zab Maboungou, David Dorfman, Marie Chouinard, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, and others, have helped determine dance as a vital discourse of the 90s. those dancers, Ann Cooper Albright argues, are asking the viewers to work out the physique as a resource of cultural identification -- a actual presence that strikes with and during its gendered, racial, and social meanings.Through her articulate and nuanced research of up to date choreography, Albright indicates how the dancing physique shifts conventions of illustration and offers a severe instance of the dialectical courting among cultures and the our bodies that inhabit them. As a dancer, feminist, and thinker, Albright turns to the fabric adventure of our bodies, not only the physique as a determine or metaphor, to appreciate how cultural illustration turns into embedded within the physique. In arguing for the intelligence of our bodies, Choreographing distinction is itself a testimonial, giving voice to a couple very important political, ethical, and inventive questions of our time.
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Extra info for Choreographing Difference: The Body and Identity in Contemporary Dance
Not echoing any ballet master, and so she came to move as no one had ever seen anyone move before. 24 This description of the first time he had ever seen Isadora Duncan dance by Gordon Craig, son of the famed British actress Ellen Terry and later one of Duncan's lovers, underscores one of the most radical qualites of Duncan's performing presence. When he writes of how Duncan established "her own Ian- 18 C H O R E O G R A P H I N G D I F F E R E N C E guage" of the body, Craig is describing not only Duncan's innovative movements, but also her reordering of the visual priorities of dance.
One of the dance's most striking aspects was the fact that the performer's face was almost always averted, involved in the movement rather than with the audience. Another point of resistance was the way the dance finished with the dancer's back to the audience, refusing the traditional frontal final pose. "^ For Banes, Trio A marked a radical shift from the binary opposition of ballet and modern dance. "32 Banes's use of the word "objects" is telling here, for the work of Judson Dance Theater in the sixties and that of the Grand Union in the early seventies (both of which Rainer actively participated in) was concerned with using the body simply as a thing that senses, moves, and responds rather than as a physicalization of a dramatic persona.
How do these live bodies affect our seeing? Can we actually learn to see the dancer's bodily experience? How can we include the bodily experience of the performer (and not just the desire of the spectator) in theories of representation? As I suggested earlier, dance performances encompass what I consider to be a fascinating double moment in which performing bodies are both objects of the representation and subjects of their own experience. I envision this dual moment in dance as a sideways figure eight, with the dancing body situated at the intersection of two loops circumscribing the realms of representation and physical experience.