By Judith Hamera (auth.)
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Extra info for Dancing Communities: Performance, Difference, and Connection in the Global City
As Foster observes of the relationship between the futile, totalizing claims of technique and the materiality of bodies which instantiate these over time: ‘The prevailing experience is one of loss, of failing to regulate a mirage-like substance. Dancers constantly apprehend the discrepancy between what they want to do and what they can do. The struggle continues to develop and maintain the body in response to new choreographic projects and the devastating evidence of aging’ (1992: 482). The totalizing ambitions of technique are not only undone by the body’s frailties; they are also belied by the body’s achievements, as Randy Martin asserts: ‘the fundamental contradiction of all technique is that the very training which allows those who participate to be mastered by discipline also allows them to achieve mastery over technique itself.
Can’t the impulse to hold onto performance, however futile, be recast as a move to a deeper, sustained and socially productive intimacy in/as community? (See also Dolan, 2005: esp. pp. ). Irigaray sounds a note similar to Phelan’s as she argues for an interpersonal ethic of love in language that touches and touches upon: ‘The touching upon cannot be appropriation, capture, seduction - to me, toward me, in me - nor envelopment’ (1996: 125). But Soyini Madison offers a counter-view, one in which our embrace of performance is far less hygienic and abstemious.
Instead, techniques are recast as sets of communicative and interpretive conventions shared by performers and audiences who, both separately and in concert, produce and consume the dancing body. Dance technique, in all its forms, is constitutive in its ambitions, but its protocols offer communal preconditions for, not limits to, its social uses. Thus, these protocols generate collective criteria for producing, interpreting and evaluating dancing bodies, for ‘reading,’ ‘writing’ and speaking them, even as they highlight the contingencies involved, including economies of discipline and of pleasure.