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 very important discourse of the 90s. those dancers, Ann Cooper Albright argues, are asking the viewers to work out the physique as a resource of cultural id -- a actual presence that strikes with and during its gendered, racial, and social meanings.Through her articulate and nuanced research of latest choreography, Albright indicates how the dancing physique shifts conventions of illustration and gives a serious instance of the dialectical courting among cultures and the our bodies that inhabit them. As a dancer, feminist, and thinker, Albright turns to the cloth event 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 few vital political, ethical, and inventive questions of our time.

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Extra info for Choreographing Difference: The Body and Identity in Contemporary Dance

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These cultural stereotypes reflect the hierarchical dichotomies in Western culture, revealing rather simplistic notions about the separateness of mind and body. The genres of modern, postmodern, and contemporary dance have confronted these stereotypes in an effort to articulate the complex reality of bodily being. Not surprisingly, dance has run into many of the same hurdles as the women's movement of the 19705. In its desire to reclaim the female body as a valuable place of knowledge and identity, seventies feminism sought to refute the body/mind dualism so prevalent in our culture.

This observation seems so simple as barely to warrant saying, but it rubs up against an almost monolithic notion in theories about representation, of the viewer as subject and the viewed as object. ) I want to complicate this paradigm by evoking, with a slightly different goal this time, the process of "becoming" that Butler articulates in her discussions of identity. For it is important to recognize that the gerund that refuses the coming-to-be-anyone-thing nonetheless posits a physical reality—a presence—that incorporates a meaning of its own.

This, I would argue, is what helped to create her powerful presence onstage. In language that parallels much of what I have been arguing, Daly describes Duncan's dancing body as "no longer a product—of traming, of narrative, of consumption—but rather a process. "28 Duncan used her dancing to create a kinesthetic relationship with her audience, drawing on their rapt attention to bring out her own performing energy. Although the physicality and musicality of her movement brought her audience into contact with the contagious quality of kinesthetic sensation and thus challenged the usual gazes in dance at that time, Duncan still retained some of the traditional framing of women dancers as spectacle.

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