Contemporary dance and the self-defence of the commons
While there are costs and wages in the contemporary dance sector and attempts to capture and marketise the sector, dancers share a common pool of resources through respect and through recognition of mutual benefit. The fact of sharing these points to a provisional coming together of individuals with often different artistic experiences and aspirations. They are in effect a fluid, nomadic community built on acknowledgment of difference rather than one whose unity is based on solidarity against outsiders. Because contemporary dance artists share cultural and aesthetic resources as a commons, they are usually alert to the need for self-defence of the commons in general. In the face of attempts to close it down, they work towards keeping it open. This results in works that evade capture by the apparatuses that are at work within neoliberal cultural institutions – dances that open up a liveliness that is otherwise deadened by ideologically determined impositions of normative values. To live the open is a political matter, and it is spaces in which to imagine living the open that some recent contemporary dance works propose.
Ramsay Burt’s lecture will be followed by a discussion with Gurur Ertem and Janez Janša.
is Professor of Dance History at De Montfort University. His publications include The Male Dancer, Alien Bodies, Judson Dance Theater, and, with Christy Adair, British dance: Black routes (2016). In 1999, he was Visiting Professor at the Department of Performance Studies, New York University, l’Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, and he is a visiting teacher at P.A.R.T.S. in Brussels.
is a social scientist and performance studies scholar, specialising in the sociology of the body, arts, and culture. Her transdisciplinary work combines the arts, social and political theory and performance studies. Recent publications include the co-edited volume Bodies of Evidence: Ethics, Aesthetics, and Politics of Movement (2018). As the founding co-director of Bimeras, a not-for-profit private arts and research organisation, and iDANS Istanbul International Dance and Performance Festival, where she has been responsible for programming, research, and publications since 2006, Gurur Ertem approaches these questions not only from an academic perspective but also through artistic and curatorial practices. Ertem is currently a jury member for Tanzplattform Deutschland 2020.