Event Title

Democracy as Both Noun and Verb: The Explicit Politics of Judson Dance Theatre

Location

Panel 14: Kearney 308

Start Date

27-10-2012 10:15 AM

End Date

27-10-2012 11:45 AM

Description

In this paper, I take on a perspective in 1960s postmodern dance trends, as it has been viewed in a political sense. What has often been described by dance scholars, like Sally Banes, as an egalitarian and therefore democratic artistic experience among a choreographic sum of parts, I argue is less democratic and more radical in nature. Parallel to cultural and social trends of the time period, the postmodern dancers, choreographers, and performance artists of the 1960s, and specifically those working under the auspices of the Judson Dance Theater, subscribed to a philosophy of anti-establishment trends more closely related to radical movements like counterculturalism, civil rights, and feminism.

I approach the abstraction of democracy from dual perspectives: democracy as both a noun and as a verb. As a cohesive group, the artists of the Judson Dance Theater have often been credited with conducting themselves as a democracy, in the sense of the word being used as a noun. However, their specific artistic practices were not necessarily democratic; in other words, they were not always espousing democracy as a verb in the ways in which they created work and presented art as a function of society.

As a site of inquiry, I present Yvonne Rainer’s The Mind is a Muscle Part I, otherwise known as Tri A, as the quintessence of postmodern dance that espouses radicalism versus democracy. In its various iterations, Trio A has been presented as not only an exploration of choreographic forms but as a political statement in reference to anti-Vietnam War sentiments, gender equality, and the counterculture movement.

I seek not to devalue current views of postmodern dance, but rather to offer an alternative that is explicitly political in nature as it connects modern dance practices to contemporary politically charged issues. This paper illustrates how postmodern dance trends were reflective of the political environment in which the dances were created.

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Oct 27th, 10:15 AM Oct 27th, 11:45 AM

Democracy as Both Noun and Verb: The Explicit Politics of Judson Dance Theatre

Panel 14: Kearney 308

In this paper, I take on a perspective in 1960s postmodern dance trends, as it has been viewed in a political sense. What has often been described by dance scholars, like Sally Banes, as an egalitarian and therefore democratic artistic experience among a choreographic sum of parts, I argue is less democratic and more radical in nature. Parallel to cultural and social trends of the time period, the postmodern dancers, choreographers, and performance artists of the 1960s, and specifically those working under the auspices of the Judson Dance Theater, subscribed to a philosophy of anti-establishment trends more closely related to radical movements like counterculturalism, civil rights, and feminism.

I approach the abstraction of democracy from dual perspectives: democracy as both a noun and as a verb. As a cohesive group, the artists of the Judson Dance Theater have often been credited with conducting themselves as a democracy, in the sense of the word being used as a noun. However, their specific artistic practices were not necessarily democratic; in other words, they were not always espousing democracy as a verb in the ways in which they created work and presented art as a function of society.

As a site of inquiry, I present Yvonne Rainer’s The Mind is a Muscle Part I, otherwise known as Tri A, as the quintessence of postmodern dance that espouses radicalism versus democracy. In its various iterations, Trio A has been presented as not only an exploration of choreographic forms but as a political statement in reference to anti-Vietnam War sentiments, gender equality, and the counterculture movement.

I seek not to devalue current views of postmodern dance, but rather to offer an alternative that is explicitly political in nature as it connects modern dance practices to contemporary politically charged issues. This paper illustrates how postmodern dance trends were reflective of the political environment in which the dances were created.