Realized Bodily Potential : the communicative capacity of ‘intelligent dance’
Common, bodily gesture is non-verbal communication of the second-order. When elaborated and consciously placed before an observer, gesture exhibits a greater communicative potential. Performance dance may be regarded as elaborated gesture intended toward primary communication. By moving beyond a posture of interpretation, symbolism, or simple expression, ‘intelligent dance’ realizes a meaningful, first-order language of the body. Here, as gesture is to a passing verbal thought so intelligent dance is to a researched speech. This conception of intelligent, communicative dance is constructed from 18th century aesthetic theory, the motives of a few contemporary choreographers, and my own recent choreographic explorations.
This theory of realized bodily potential bears important anthropological and theological implications. Regarded as a primary language, dance positions the body as a transmitter of personal identity. Furthermore, the body might then be lifted beyond the dust left by the mind-focused academy and the Gnostic tendencies of culture. “Modern” dance especially upholds the integrity and natural physicality of body as it rejects of the unnatural and even transcendent postures of classical ballet. As the grounded body is brought to consciousness a holistic and biblical view of humanity is realized. Finally, within such a system, the body might be considered essential in imaging God.
Specifically, the theory of economist Adam Smith in “Of the Nature of That Imitation Which Takes Place In What Are Called Imitative Arts,” in Aesthetic Theories (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1965) 227 - 252.
Senta Driver and Sondra Fraleigh, for example.
The potential of dance to reveal identity has been reflected on by dancer/choreographer/thinker S. Fraliegh in her essay “A Vulnerable Glance: Seeing Dance Through Phenomenology,” In A. Carter (ed.) The Routledge Dance Studies Reader (New York: Routledge, 1998) 141.
The choreography and dance theory of choreography is foundational to this movement. See Sparshott, F., Off the Ground: First Steps to a Philosophical Consideration of the Dance (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988) 355.
Steven Stasson recently received a master’s degree from Regent College where he studied the interaction of Christianity with the arts. His degree culminated with the creation, production and performance of a dance and film show. Entitled "grafted: an exchange of dance, film, music, and word," this work was presented at the Scotiabank Dance Centre in Vancouver in December of 2005. Steven began dancing at the age of seven and has participated in, as well as produced, a variety of artistic endeavors since then. He studied dance and psychology at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA and was a principal member of the Bucknell University Dance Company. He has also worked on film production with Montage Creative Production Company in St. Paul, MN. Currently he is collaborating on a multidisciplinary project exploring embodiment and liminality and looking for a garden to tend in Boston, MA.