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Isadora Duncan’s danced revolution
Dana Mills

aesthetic revolution, which changed the world of modern dance as it is known to us today. The woman who danced the chorus: intervention and inscription I turn to two paragraphs from Isadora Duncan’s autobiography in order to examine her aesthetic break in her own language:  When the teacher told me to stand on my toes, I  asked him why, and he replied, ‘because it is beautiful’, and I said it was ugly and against nature and after the third class left never to return. The stiff and commonplace gymnastics which he called dancing only disturbed my dream. I dreamed of a

in Dance and politics
Open Access (free)
Dana Mills

book is always sensitive to the conditions of production and performances of various dances, and, indeed, dwells upon some moments of cultural appropriation and silencing of voices by hegemonic discourses. Thus I  invite the reader to view the performances I  discuss in multiple theatres, to which they are invited through the argument. Fourth, I use the concepts of performer and dancer throughout the book when analysing dance. This does not imply reducing dance to theatrical dance. I use these concepts to draw attention to the dialogical nature of dance, which is

in Dance and politics
Gumboot dance in South Africa
Dana Mills

referring to the action of mining, just like the first clip discussed. The discussion of this clip will focus on its unique musicality. There are two moments where I shall pause –​they occur at 1:18 and 1:51 in the clip –​where a ‘single’, a solo, shifts the groups’ movement and rhythm into a new sequence. These interruptions then become part of the groups’ language. This feature exemplifies not only the interruptive nature of gumboot dance, which allows for a shared language, a space for communication between those who have been structurally and consistently oppressed

in Dance and politics
Open Access (free)
Dana Mills

their feet while walking on the roof in order to adjust the mud. (Aken 2006: 221 n. 5) The sources of the rhythmic nature of the dance, then, are both referential and practical; they relate to a commonly shared experience from the past, but sustain physically that element of participatory openness, of a line that is meant to grow longer. Its use of body music is similar to that employed in gumboot dance, discussed in Chapter 4. In both these dances clapping and stomping allow more dancers to join the dance, and hence allow its shared space (and consequently its

in Dance and politics
Martha Graham, dance and politics
Dana Mills

whence it comes and where it goes. It comes from the depths of man’s inner nature, the unconscious, where memory dwells. As such it inhabits the dancer. It goes into the experience of man, the spectator, awakening similar memories. (Graham 1937: 50) The emphasis in Graham’s interpretation of dance is on appealing to the interlocutor, on creating and sustaining a shared embodied space. Intervention always aims towards another body receiving this intervention. The relationship between aesthetic change and political change is a complex one in Graham’s interpretation. She

in Dance and politics