THE SUBJECT OF DANCE: DANCE BETWEEN BODY AND SOUL
Text topic: Aesthetics Today
- dance aesthetics
Text author: Уна Поповић
Despite the fact that dance is inconceivable without a body dancing, the soul was traditionally understood as the subject of dance. Given the fact that the art of dance underwent its first aesthetical analysis during the modern era, as one of the fine arts, it was philosophically understood against the background of dualism, of soul and body being separated and mutually exclusive entities. In such context, the body was seen as a mere material object, deprived of any features required for the subject of any art. On the other hand, the soul was seen as active, productive, creative, as the origin of meaning and as using body to convey meanings to other minds. Therefore, for the first dance aesthetics the soul was interpreted as the subject of dance, and the body as its instrument. However, the modern idea of dance became the basis for its theoretical inquiry, to be questioned only in the second half of the 20th century. Relying on phenomenology, contemporary dance aestheticians inverted such idea, proclaiming body as the true subject of dance, and ascribing to the body all creative and artistic features that were traditionally ascribed to the soul. In this essay I will examine such inversion, by comparing the most important consequences of the traditional idea with new, contemporary and alternative solutions, based on the idea of body as а kinaesthetic phenomenon. The analysis will show the problems of such inversion, as well as possible further consequences of the idea that body, a kinaesthetic phenomenon, is the true subject of dance.