As a rabid redneck, whose predictably obnoxious opinions are made worse by the consumption of great volumes of Budlite (really one prefers Harpoon IPA), one would, nevertheless, like to slosh one's way in on the subject of 'story-less modern ballets.' First, however, one would like to make the following disclaimer: one has no idea, in an absolute or even a reasonably general way, why choreographers may or may not wish to create story-less works. However in a glorious instance of self-contradiction, one may confidently assume that the observation made by tex describes the motivation for many if not all creators of dance works. The nature of the work they mean to create, one thinks, will determine how they use their kinesthetic discoveries- whether, for example, for the intrinsic pleasure or aesthetic value, of the movement alone or how that movement may serve a narrative purpose. Additionally, the subjects of modern and postmodern-ism make one's palms sweat. There are a lot of dates and stuff floating around in this discussion, which, in one's opinion, shows just how porous the boundaries between the ideas of modernism and post-modernism are. To help sort the way through the labyrinth or maybe it's a fog that surrounds these ideas, one happily directs anyone interested in the issues of story-less dance works, postmodernism, modernism, etc. to a volume of essays written by Sally Banes titled: Writing Dancing in the Age of Postmodernism (Wesleyan U. Press, 1994). Additionally and because one is thinking about Sally Banes, the philosopher Noel Carroll comes to mind. Although, philosophers have labored for centuries on the issue of what it is that distinguishes an art object from a mere object or event, Carroll's Beyond Aesthetics (Cambridge U. Press, 2001) is a very readable and appealing contribution to solving that problem. He sees, for example, Art as an idea separate from that of Aesthetics. So, what does all of this rambling mean or have to do with the question about story-less modern ballets. One thinks that the discussion- the whole thread- so far points toward the notion that dance works, whether they tell stories or not, embody ideas. Whether, for example, choreographers think of themselves, as modernists or postmodernists or other will shape their art. Hence, the more knowledge of such things one can bring to bear upon the viewing of dance works; the more one gets out of the experience. But, one must consider, too, that among the many possibilities of experience is that the dance work viewed will deliberately resist discovery and defiantly hold its ideas in tight obscurity.
<small>[ 11 March 2003, 09:30 PM: Message edited by: S. E. Arnold ]</small>