By K. LaMothe

Nietzsche makes use of pictures of dance all through his paintings to symbolize the method and the culmination of his "revaluation of all values." American smooth dancers Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham have been encouraged by means of his paintings as they created their respective visions for what dance can and will be. This publication examines the relationships between those 3 figures, arguing that the suggestions of dance perform, choreography, and performances built via Duncan and Graham significantly improve Nietzsche's revaluation of Christian values.

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Additional resources for Nietzsche's Dancers: Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, and the Revaluation of Christian Values

Sample text

Dance” provides persons with a means for reawakening to the primary levels of metaphor-making—the self-creating capacity of their bodily being. Dance represents a perspective from which to expose the ignorance of our bodily creativity that desensualization perpetuates. With this insight, Nietzsche sets himself up in Human to perform the task he began in Birth: to discern what is needed to resist the forces of desensualization and generate the physiological conditions capable of finding expression in values that affirm life.

The spectator is passive. The passivity of listening can even encourage the further entrenchment of the mistaken perception that we are minds in bodies, that the meaning of tragedy is in its text, and that the moral of the story is to deny and rise above the rhythms of will. In so far as a spectator does not experience the visceral identification of her bodily self with the chorus that would allow her to affirm her participation in the process of creation it represents, she experiences reality as an “innermost abyss” and not an endless fund of creative power.

5 Thus even though his Lutheran tradition would not countenance dancing in church, Nietzsche’s Christian heritage offered authoritative cases in which dancing served as a medium of religious experience and expression. Additional influences on Nietzsche’s use of dance imagery may have come from his studies of romantic art, philosophy, and poetry. 6 Although dance, when it appeared in discussions of art, regularly ranked below the fine arts of poetry, music, and visual art, it did appear, and often in a context evoking alternative traditions to those of modern Christianity.

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