Dancing human rights
We have seen that ever since Isadora Duncan entered the stage of political dance, various instances of sic-sensuous have been performed on
the stage of the argument by bodies contracting into themselves and
releasing to other bodies, moving and being moved. Those bodies
affirm their equality to other bodies –whether the dancing bodies they
intervene against, or bodies inhabiting other worlds that deem them
unequal. From Martha Graham’s audiences who are uninvited spectators to the gumboot dancers in South Africa and the flash mob
Dance has always been a method of self- expression for human beings. This book examines the political power of dance and especially its transgressive potential. Focusing on readings of dance pioneers Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham, Gumboots dancers in the gold mines of South Africa, the One Billion Rising movement using dance to protest against gendered violence, dabkeh in Palestine and dance as protest against human rights abuse in Israel, the Sun Dance within the Native American Crow tribe, the book focuses on the political power of dance and moments in which dance transgresses politics articulated in words. Thus the book seeks ways in which reading political dance as interruption unsettles conceptions of politics and dance.
through the flash mob. I discuss the tension between the aim to create a universal shared space for subjects to reclaim their bodies and the
response of individual bodies, grounded in specific political embodied
languages, to that goal.
The sixth and final chapter discusses the relationship between dance
and humanrights. Throughout the book I show that dance has transcended the geopolitical boundaries agreed upon in verbal language. In
this chapter I argue that by affirming universal equality of all speaking
subjects, dance can allow us to assert the idea
arriving in Jerusalem, unravels a world in which there is equal respect for
humanrights, dignity and equality of all; a world in which human beings
can express joy and pain through their bodies with no fear of oppression
or of the silencing of their voices. The dancer of the future brings with her
a new interpretation of humanity through dance.
The performance of the argument nearly draws to a close and it is time to
summon the interlocutors of this book for their curtain call. From Isadora
Duncan, who wanted to dance the chorus, and proved that she was always
cultural imperialism, even from the best intentions.
The One Billion Rising movement has managed to create a global platform against gendered violence, albeit sometimes contrary to its founding message in words. In the next chapter I push the reader–spectator
to explore further the tension between the universal and the particular,
Dance and politics
the moving body and structures of violence, when I read the concept of
humanrights through dance. Thus the argument releases further from a
shared sphere of activism and dissent into legal-political frameworks
Moving beyond boundaries: writing on the body
substantially in his Exhausting Dance. All these texts will be discussed
in the next axis of the argument. The edited collection Dance, HumanRights, and Social Justice diverges from the above sources in its wider
international focus, and yet it limits its conceptual focus to issues around
rights and right-claims rather than politics more broadly. Nevertheless, it
has substantially inspired the last chapter of this book.
Set against the understanding of dance and politics that I term the
weak reading of
that serves, as an intertitle declares at the end of the introductory film, as ‘a story of our times’.
The origins of the ≠Khomani San land restitution project lay in a chance meeting in 1992, at a private game reserve not far from Cape Town, between Roger Chennells, a white South African humanrights lawyer and Dawid Kruiper, a San elder, who at that time was scratching out a living selling handicrafts and posing for tourist photographs on the periphery of the game reserve. Kruiper told Chennells the story of his group's eviction from their
that recurrent feeling of fighting Vietnam over and over.
When President Barack Obama decided to open his second term
in office with the nomination of two Vietnam veterans –Senators
On the campaign trail, Barack Obama lambasted the policies of
George W. Bush that had made the US an international pariah –
war and contempt for humanrights. For us, part of the senator’s
attraction as a candidate was that he promised transparency,
opposed the Iraq war and repudiated militarism. So it is hard not
to feel disappointed.80
P o l itics
John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, as