public forum
home forum magazine gallery links about faq courtesy
It is currently Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:21 pm

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 134 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ... 9  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Politics and Dance
PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2003 9:03 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Sorry about the lack of clarity, djb. "That" as I posted above refers to the mention of politics in writings about ballet (even though it's okay to write about politics in almost any other art form...).

<small>[ 23 December 2003, 10:15 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Politics and Dance
PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2003 11:18 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 3000
Location: San Francisco
I knew plenty of ballet dancers who hadn't the slightest idea of what was going on in the political world, and said they just weren't interested in politics. And I found the proportion of people who weren't interested in politics to be much greater among ballet dancers than among any other group of people I've spent time with.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Politics and Dance
PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2003 11:56 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
You know what, djb? I know lots of engineers who don't think politics effect them... Which reminds me, there was a story on National Public Radio about a new book on contemporary opinions on racism. Most of the interviewees seemed tired of talking about racism but more than a few apparently didn't care because "we're not around racism much." So many ignorant people out there...


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Politics and Dance
PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2003 12:39 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 3000
Location: San Francisco
Well, I haven't spent much time around engineers, so I have no idea how they compare to ballet dancers.

Citibob, I'm perfectly willing to believe -- and I certainly hope -- that the ballet dancers of today are more politically aware than those of yore. But back when I was a dancer, I heard many ballet dancers opine that as artists, it wasn't their place to be concerned with politics. That's essentially what Margot Fonteyn said in her autobiography, when she told about her performances in South Africa.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Politics and Dance
PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2003 2:06 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Quote:
Well, I haven't spent much time around engineers, so I have no idea how they compare to ballet dancers.
The pocket protectors get in the way of lifts.

<small>[ 24 December 2003, 03:06 AM: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

_________________
Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Politics and Dance
PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2003 9:09 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
OK guys, I'm an engineer and a ballet dancer. I don't wear my pocket protector while lifting, nor do I wear my wearable computer ;-)

Seriously... I've become a lot more political in recent years probably because of my engineering association. In the past, I felt that engineering was essentially apolitical. But with the explosion of the Internet into a global daily phenomenon, technology has ceased to be neutral. There are raging battles over control of technology today whose resolutions will have fundamental affects on issues like freedom of speech, freedom from Big Brother, intellectual freedom, and in general the foundations of democratic society. The major players are fighting over money and power.

As I have watched the power structures gain increasing control over the typical end-user and society in general, I have been moved toward increasing political awareness and activism. Freedom was not guaranteed to us by the Founding Fathers, it is something we must struggle to preserve in every succeeding generation. This is what I've learned as an engineer.

As an engineer today, if you put your head in the sand and decide that politics don't affect you, you will more likely than not end up being used (employed) by people in power to build machines that aspire to their idea of how the world should be. Simply put, some technologies just shouldn't be built.

Other relevant technology issues that have to do with politics are all tied up in environmentalism, questions of sustainability, etc. I become angry when I see the science and engineering involved in these issues being subjegated to short-term political expediency. We really are sacrificing our futures for a shopping-mall present, it makes me sad.

As for most other dancers: the dancers I know all hold generally non-conservative views. They are generally opposed to the war in Iraq.

<small>[ 24 December 2003, 10:12 AM: Message edited by: citibob ]</small>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Politics and Dance
PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2003 9:21 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Quote:
As an engineer today, if you put your head in the sand and decide that politics don't affect you, you will more likely than not end up being used (employed) by people in power to build machines that aspire to their idea of how the world should be. Simply put, some technologies just shouldn't be built.
...And some technologies seem to have attractive results in the short run (defeating Japan in 1945 -- although obviously that might not be a result that's attractive to our Japanese members), but have decidedly unattractive results in the long run (Mutually Assured Destruction).

<small>[ 24 December 2003, 10:30 AM: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

_________________
Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Politics and Dance
PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2003 12:27 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Seattle, WA,USA
One of the two diffences between modern and classical political thought is that today, science, as science,has no moral grounding ie there are no valid moral judgements made by scientists as scientists. To put it another way, the designer of a WMD, or a doctor performing an abortion, has no more insight into the moral value of what they do than anyone else as a scientist. Science deals with facts, things that can be measured, and one can't measure values, right or wrong, .... This really is the essence of the fact-value distinction so prevalent in western society today, and I suspect is fundemental to our conflict with the Middle East.
The second pillar of modern political thought, (and I would point out the fundemental premise of the US constitution via Locke and Hobbes) is that man is primarily motivated by fear of violent death and comfortable self preservation.
So 300 odd years ago, these were the sentinel breaks with classical thought and religion. I mean, just think about WWI, when 20+ million people died, or WWII, where 55 million people died.
So why is this important? Well, because when you have moral relativism and radical egalitarianism( ie, every ones values are different and equal ), then anything goes. This is one interpretation of Nietzsches " God is Dead" verse ( interestingly at the end of the 20th century. The danger with this train of thought is that a Hitler can make a case for his actions not really being right or wrong, but instead, just an expression of his "values", which ae eqaul to everyone elses, he just happens to have more power o implement them.
What does this have to do with dance, or art in general? Because for 2500 years, art has been the counter balance , and in some cases the avowed enemy of philosophy and politics, and my own intuition is that this may be where solutions to some of the worlds problems can be found.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Politics and Dance
PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2003 12:42 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Bringing us back to dance, I do believe that even though ballet world is relatively not political, modern dancers on the other hand are anything but. There have been so many works in this genre that have been inspired by current events, some subtle and some quite in your face.

Even Paul Taylor, who has been criticized for creating "beautifully fluffy" works, has produced a number of "ugly" works that speak about society and its hypocricies.

And what about Mark Morris? Despite having a reputation for witty choreography, Morris has produced some of most poignant political works I have ever experienced.

The list goes on and on. How about Pina Bausch?

<small>[ 24 December 2003, 10:46 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Politics and Dance
PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2003 2:09 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2003 12:01 am
Posts: 2
Location: Philippines
Politics and Dance, or Dance and Politics (?).
In a World Dance Alliance Conference, Dusseldorf 2002, in a session on Dance and Politics, one of the speakers said that the artist has a contract with the universe and that the artist can transform politics by reflecting on it. In the open forum, I asked if the statement was true of dance in a First World country, and what of Third World countries like the Philippines, where politics pervade everything, there is practically no "breathing space", politics determine who owns the modes of production, is it not true then dance produced "outside" major cultural institutions, become political in nature even if not overtly speaking about politics? I just would like to know other dance artists' thoughts, because knowing the political context of one's work while at the same time engaging in a discourse with one's dance tradition, be it the "local" or the "western" one is a choreographic concern here. Thanks.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Politics and Dance
PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2003 2:37 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Welcome to CriticalDance Myra and many thanks for your interesting perspective on the theme and your question.

<small>[ 26 December 2003, 05:27 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Politics and Dance
PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2003 4:28 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Myra B's question to dance artists provides a good introduction to these contributions from Deborah Barnard, Director of Ludos Dance and Jonzi D, dancer, which were part of this year's Dance UK/Dance Umbrella seminar. The full account of the seminar can be read here.

I'm looking forward to reading a range of views on the comments from Deborah and Jonzi:


<img src="http://www.ballet-dance.com/200401/articles/images/arts-dance-255x312-jonzi_d.jpg" alt="" />
<small>Jonzi D</small>

<big>Living in a political world?</big>

A symposium hosted by Dance UK in collaboration with Dance Umbrella

October 2003 -- South Bank Centre, London

Sue Hoyle opened the symposium by introducing the speakers. These were Paul Davies, Artistic Director, Volcano Theatre, Deborah Barnard, Company Director, Ludus, Jonzi D, Artistic Director, Still Brock Productions, and Frank Doran, MP, Aberdeen Central.

Deborah Barnard began with a personal position statement in response to the questions posed for the symposium:

1. Can dance comment on political issues or influence world events? Yes

2. Is there an opposition in dance between aesthetic concerns and social and political debate? No

3. Do artists have a responsibility to engage with political and social issues, making works of contemporary political resonance and relevance? No

4. By not engaging with real issues of real concern to real people is dance failing to connect with audiences and missing the opportunity to change how people think? No/Yes

Deborah then set about explaining each of her answers working backwards through the questions.

4. My answer is not ambivalent as it is hard to see the polarity in terms of there being a conflict. I believe it is down to the individual. To be concerned for one is to also strive for the other. I think sometimes we concern ourselves with what makes good art when in actual fact there is no set formula. Art can be made and viewed in so many different ways and the thinking should be as supple as the art form itself.

3. This question assumes that dance fails to connect if it is just aesthetically pleasing. This is also political and can be food for thought.

2. A number of my colleagues were surprised that I answered no to this question but it makes me feel anxious and puts me in a dilemma. At Ludus we want more artists to engage with political and social issues but it is not a prescribed responsibility. On the other hand if artists do not have a desire to engage with the viewer then we could question why they are making work for the public.

1. Commenting on political issues is a trade-mark of the work of Ludos. We work with strong messages and a strong purpose and strive to achieve a political dance aesthetic. Finally, we are also clear about the audience and how and why they wish to engage.

Jonzi D began by discussing his background and how politics has impacted on his dancing. He came into dance as a hip-hop artist in the late 1980’s because he loved the culture as it reacted to a social and economic structure. He struggled with establishing who he was because of racism and alienation until groups such as Public Enemy gave him a sense of hope. When Jonzi decided to dance he was influenced by break dancing because of the dynamics involved and the sense of urgency coming from the environment in which it is made. Often frustrations could be released through fight situations but through a more healthy means.

At college Jonzi came to terms with the fact that dance is about aesthetics. It was in the evenings that he would feel most motivated to make art because he would be talking with friends about political situations and issues. So for example, he created a piece about being ‘safe’. He demonstrated how he developed this piece through one simple action of intense energy through the body, the head, foot and hand and then bringing that back in to being neutral. He then considered how he could do this with sound and continued his demonstration by talking calmly and then losing control vocally when discussing racial inequalities, before bringing his voice back to being neutral again. The piece therefore became political which was not planned. It was a case of being honest, not because he believes he can change the world but because he would like to change someone’s world. Jonzi doesn’t believe that artists have a responsibility to be political as long as we aren’t scared of the work they are creating. He thinks that we are all political anyway.

Jonzi believes that politics and dance go hand in hand and that isn’t necessarily based on theory, it is just because it is today and now and this is how he is feeling.

<small>[ 26 December 2003, 05:34 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Politics and Dance
PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 3:08 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 3000
Location: San Francisco
I don't think dance has a "responsibility to engage with political and social issues." I don't believe in dictating what art has to be.

Dance certainly can comment on political issues; there are plenty of dance works that already have done just that.

I don't think dance has great potential for influencing world events, based on my own experiences in having my views changed. I've never changed my mind about anything political based on any work of dance, music, or theater. Only reading has accomplished that, and it was not fiction.

If a dance piece could achieve the popular appeal of a song, I could conceive of it becoming a sort of rallying cry, but I really don't see dance effecting political change.

<small>[ 28 December 2003, 04:08 PM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Politics and Dance
PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 9:58 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Seattle, WA,USA
Quote:
don't think dance has great potential for influencing world events, based on my own experiences in having my views changed. I've never changed my mind about anything political based on any work of dance, music, or theater.
DJB, I would agree with you that dance has very limited potential to influence world events in the context of, say, CNN. But I think that it has the potential to illicit a much bigger type of change. In particular, if you feel, as I do, that a fundemental problem with the world situation today stems from the HUGE emphasis of politics on expanding consumption/consumerism throughout the world ( examples such as oil,autos, etc come to mind ), and if you see art as an alternative to living a good life in comparison to the life of the ultimate consumer, then I think you would agree that the enjoyment and pursuit of art is of vast importance.
Perhaps art, and dance as one example, opens up the possibility that there are alternatives to buying a HumVee or a Rolex to finding happiness or meanng in life? For me personally, I know that after a night exposed to dance, I am a much gentler, thoughtful person. In addition, I would hazard to guess that the greatest civilizations are measured not just by their political accomplshments, but by their art.
Anyway, I think you may be selling ballet short. Heck, even in its lack of political message, here is what it says:

"Look at man's potential! See what we can become, and how graceful and noble are".

Isn't art the bridge which we walk across, from the world of animals to the world of gods?


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Politics and Dance
PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 11:24 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 3000
Location: San Francisco
Matthew, if I accept a very broad definition of what is political, then I could agree with you. I might as well accept it, as I have a very broad definition of dance.

I was trying to think of any times when an artistic creation stirred me to political action, and I did remember one: I was moved to start contributing money to environmental groups upon seeing the final episode of David Attenborough's Living Planet series. Before that, I'd simply been a pro-environment voter, but the contrast between the abundance of beauty on earth and the mess being made of it (shown in the final episode) made me decide to go a step further.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 134 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ... 9  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
The messages in this forum are posted by members of the general public and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of CriticalDance or its staff.
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group