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December 12, 2005

The sun no longer revolves around the earth


I am thinking about Buckminister Fuller's Dymaxion map of the world, and wondering if the simple act of reimagining the historical dance map might not have an important effect on this issue. By coincidence, I recently participated in a discussion led by the scholar Roger Copeland for the Philoctetes Society in NY (it included Toni Bentley, Joan Acocella, and Gary Chryst, among others) - that conversation focused on whether or not the American cultural community had lived through a true "golden age" of dance from the 1960's into the 1980's (with a not so subtle subtext that the current age had gone to base metal).

Both the questions of "a moment in time" and "the center of the world" are pre-Dymaxion. Any historical survey of dance in all its infinite variety would find it longstanding, alive and well, if not well off, in virtually every community and culture of the world, from village celebrations to religious and mystic rituals, from Eastern to Western royally patronized institutional dance practices that have grown up over centuries if not millennia. I would propose that the essential question before us is not of a particular place at a given time (though both come true in cycles, as John Rockwell has stated) but of understanding the "engine" of both dance community and choreographic development that emerges in certain existing weather conditions - political, geographic, educational, economic, technologcal - and for a time compels a higher bar of artistic engagement, public visibility and transformative understanding.

Posted by at December 12, 2005 5:57 AM


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