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Alkazi Theatre Archives

A Bibliographic Listing from the Archive

Exhausting Dance: Performance and the Politics of Movement

Book:Exhausting Dance: Performance and the Politics of Movement
Written by:Andre Lepecki
Published By:Routledge, 2006

In ‘Exhausting Dance: Performance and the Politics of Movement,’ author, Andre Lepecki offers a significant and radical revision of the way dance is thought of. The author examines the works of key contemporary choreographers who have transformed the dance scene since the early 1990s in Europe and the USA. Each chapter is dedicated to a close reading of a few selected pieces by European and North American choreographers, and visual and performance artists, such as Bruce Nauman, Xavier Le Roy, Jerome Bel, Trisha Brown, La Ribot, William Pope., and Vera Mantero.

In the opening chapter titled ‘The Political Ontology of Movement’, the author posits “the formation of choreography as a peculiar invention of early modernity, as a technology that creates a body disciplined to move according to the commands of writing.” (p. 6) Lepecki also draws his theoretical engagement from Gills Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Peggy Phelan, and others who have perceived bodies as texts in their works. The second chapter, ‘Masculinity, Solipsism, Choreography: Bruce Nauman, Juan Dominguez, Xavier Le Ro’ explores white male creativity in terms of haunting and the “idiot”, defined as “the isolated, self-contained one fantasizing subjectivity as an autonomously self-moving being.” (p.33) The next chapter on Jerome Bel’s critique of representation lies in the exploration of a form of dance that challenges representation by emphasizing stillness, slowness, and the rhetorical device of “paronomasia movement” as a means of repetition. The final chapter draws upon Sigmund Freud’s concept of “the uncanny” and analyses a contemporary choreographic reflection by Portuguese choreographer, Vera Mantero on current European racism and European forgetting of its quite recent colonialist history.

“…the question for a political ontology of choreography and for a temporality of dance that refuses to live bound to the vanishing point should not be articulated as a choice between taking sides with forgetting or with remembering.” (p.128)

Exhausting Dance- Performance and the Politics of Movement by André Lepecki