Thinking Through Dance explores important philosophical questions raised in and by dance. Its themes include the embodiment and personhood of dancers; issues of dance work ontology and performance identity; how dance is perceived and understood; the relevance of philosophy to dance as an artform; and whether dance itself, or its associated practices, are themselves philosophical in any significant sense. Individual essays draw on different philosophical traditions, including analytic, phenomenological and poststructuralist, and the primary focus is on theatre dance in the Western tradition, although the issues discussed have a much broader sweep. The volume poses fundamental questions about what it means to be or witness a dancer moving, about the nature of choreography, dance works and performances, and about the interest and value of a dialogue between philosophy and dance.
The philosophy of dance is a burgeoning field of enquiry and this volume seeks to represent something of the breadth of international research currently underway. It draws together contributors who are professional philosophers, dance scholars and dance practitioners (in some cases, people combine these roles), from Britain, continental Europe, the USA and South Africa. As the first anthology of essays about philosophy and dance to be published in English for some time, the aim is to provoke debate and develop the existing reflection on dance, but in new and invigorating directions.
The editors are colleagues at University of Roehampton, London: Jenny Bunker teaches aesthetics on the philosophy programme of the Department of Humanities; Anna Pakes and Bonnie Rowell (who is now retired) are from the Department of Dance, and have a longstanding interest in the application of analytic philosophy to dance, as well as the intersections between this and other philosophical traditions and dance studies.