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 Post subject: Re: What is "great" dance?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 5:01 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 32
Location: SaintJohn, Canada
Cee writes that my arguments are "based on a discredited 19th century notion of culture as evolving towards western (inherently superior) forms." May I ask, who has discredited the idea that some dance forms may be more creative than others? Let's keep things in perspective, Western Civilization is, afterall, the place where the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, and the French Revolution took place. The modern world, or modernity as sociologists like to say, originated in western Europe, with all its multiple, revolutionaly art forms. Political aims, such as the proposition that all art forms must be equal, because that is the right thing to say, should not be confused with aesthetic standards.


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 Post subject: Re: What is "great" dance?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 2:05 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 81
Location: San Ramon High School
Georgie, your reply astonished me!!!Please define "modern"!!!African masks and tribal dances, although unchanged in convention, continue to evolve and adapt to new challenges in the environment. Do I sense a little "New World" chauvinism here? :confused:


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 Post subject: Re: What is "great" dance?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 10:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 2708
Location: Seattle, WA USA
I fear that our terminology seems quite murky. What is "modern", what is "great". For example, non less than Picasso was influenced by an exhibit of African art he saw in Paris, he tweaked the angles and dimenesions, and presto, cubism was born. (I've vastly oversimplified there to make a point) I think we can agree that Picasso can be called a "modern" artist. Yet he was highly influenced by an art form that was not modern. Certainly, the pyramids in Egypt and the sphinx are not "Western civilization", but yet can be considered one of the pinncles of human achievement. What about the Great Wall of China, again not Western Civilization. Again, a great achievment. The same holds true for dance. And to say that ballet has innovated, while other forms have not, is simply not accurate. When I travelled to Bali in 1996, we learned about the National Dance Academy there. When students there apply to graduate, they have to choreograph a concert. They are required to base their dances on new movement and new themes. They cannot merely rehash movment they've alredy learned. I don't honestly recall any new ballet vocabulary, in terms of the lexicon of steps, which have been added to the roster within the last 25 years. Mabye men are doing more beats or batterie these days, but other than that?? Although of course, there are always new ballets being choreographed all the time. Many of which, dare I say, appropriate from modern and ethnic forms, as we've mentioned previously in this topic. Like it or not, we are in a post-modern era, where the boundaries and criteria of what is great, modern, Western art, Eastern art, and what belongs to or can be claimed by what civilization is open to question. :(

<small>[ 15 March 2004, 11:31 PM: Message edited by: trina ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: What is "great" dance?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:15 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 12:01 am
Posts: 6
Location: UK
Georgie wrote "Political aims, such as the proposition that all art forms must be equal, because that is the right thing to say, should not be confused with aesthetic standards."

I'm not sure that this was directed at my earlier contribution... however assuming it was, then my aim was not political but epistemological. That is, how do we know what we know?

I suggested that it was worth thinking about the assumptions underpinning the aesthetic evaluations we make.

On another point, western art does have the capacity to be revolutionary, as Georgie seems to be suggesting (I think) but it also has the capacity to be a force for conservatism. I go back to my Royal Ballet/Covent Garden example.


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 Post subject: Re: What is "great" dance?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2004 6:47 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 32
Location: SaintJohn, Canada
It is difficult to make the assertions I am making and not sound biased. However, I stand by what I have said and reiterate that ethnic dances i.e. flamenco, tango, highland, barnatyam, etc. have originated in a specific country and as such are culturally specific in content and expression. Maybe I shouldn't of used the word "great" initially. There is greatness in ethnic dance, as well. However, there are degrees of greatness. For example, the greatness and genius of Picasso is, I think, greater than the "great" African craftsmanship which inspired him to realize a whole new genre of painting called cubism. I don't deny that certain performers and or performances can move an audience to tears. Still, ethnic dance forms are limiting in movement vocabulary to be able to express and innovate the way modern dance can. The movment and feel of flamenco is very passionate, dramatic and beautiful. From its inception this dance form, as was the Tango, came about to express the basic feelings of people out on the town, they have since become technically adept, no doubt. Modern dance is rooted in theater arts and has a free and artistically independent creative approach.


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