• The negotiation of significance in dance performance: a model for human interaction in the context of difference

      Carr, Jane (Boomsbury, 2020-11-29)
      This chapter explores how dance may be appreciated in a contemporary context in which it can no longer be assumed that performers and audience make sense of dancing with reference to a shared culture. Writing from my position as a former dancer and now dance academic, I draw upon my experiences of dancing, researching and teaching dance with the aim of proposing some avenues ripe for philosophical investigation. Emphasizing that dancing is a communicative phenomenon, I argue that the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty provides welcome recognition of the human capacity for intersubjective, embodied experience which is of key importance to engagement with dancing as meaningful. I propose how the significance of dance performance might be understood through a process of negotiation grounded in intercorporeal experience. However, I recognize the challenge of difference – in relation to gender, sexualities, and/or cultures and abilities - to the self-other relationships which sustain such negotiations. Finally, I situate these reflections within the broader field of philosophical aesthetics to consider the potential of such encounters to contribute to aesthetic values attributed to dance.