Individual and Collective Embodiment: Exploring Solidarity and Difference Through the Language of Dance by Callie Nissing

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1 Individual and Collective Embodiment: Exploring Solidarity and Difference Through the Language of Dance by Callie Nissing In partial fulfillment of the degree requirements for the Comparative History of Ideas major, University of Washington Advisor: Hannah Wiley i

2 Acknowledgements: Thank you to.. Hannah Wiley, Annie Dweyer, Jennifer Salk, Rachael Lincoln, UW Dance Department Peers, Mary Gates Scholarship Foundation, CHID Department, Jim and Alison Nissing For your guidance, participation and support. Dedication: To young artists and social movers. ii

3 Table of Contents: Abstract iv Introduction 1 Dance as a language 1 Embodiment of Language: 4 The physical process of a doing language Proprioception 4 Kinesthesia 5 Physical Resonance 5 From Individual to Collective Embodiment 6 Dance, Solidarity and Activism 8 Analysis: Synthesizing social change and 11 communication across difference Problem: Excessive individualism 11 and oppression Solution: Utilizing the language of dance 12 Conclusion and Implications 14 Bibliography 16 iii

4 Abstract As conflicts emerged throughout history, activists have consistently relied on the incorporation of artistic expression to achieve social change thanks to its unique ability to express new perspectives and connect to the public. Given our current political climate of rising social tensions, supplementary forms of communication are vital in pursuing conversations across difference in order to make progress, thus this body of research looks to the embodied language of dance to aid our societal dialogues. This investigation will evaluate the communication of dance from a linguistic perspective. The conventions of language define what and how an idea can be communicated, consequently changing how we express ourselves, connect to one another and think about the world. When considering this linguistic perspective I applied my findings to larger social contexts that play a role in communication across difference, specifically through considering the role of solidarity in promoting change by combatting David Hargreaves theory of excessive individualism. Therefore my investigation hypothesizes that because dance is an embodied, visual and performative language, it relies on both the individual and collective embodiment of ideas in order to communicate, promoting solidarity through the relationship dynamic that it establishes. Therefore, in aiding future conversations regarding themes of contemporary social conflict, dance may serve as an influential platform for initiating change as it presents unique tactics for building community and creating change. Key Words: Linguistic perspective, abstract messaging, embodiment, performativity, proprioception, kinesiology, physical resonance, individual and collective, solidarity, social conflict, dialogue across difference, social change, arts and dance education, advocacy iv

5 Introduction: Dr. Karl Palanack, director of the music division of the Boston Conservatory concludes his welcome address with the following statement: If there is a future of peace for humankind I expect it will come from the artists, because that s what we do. This speech was read to a cast of dancers on the eve of their opening night, to serve as a reminder that the art they were about to share was an experience that would connect their internal selves, their director, the musicians, fellow dancers and the audience through a physical language of movement. As a dancer, the experience of communicating through movement often feels more rewarding, complex and deeper than other forms of communication or languages that I use daily, so from a personal standpoint, this project aims to investigate why. That said, there are greater implications considered in this work as well, from studying the functionality of dance as a language, I will explore how it provides a supplementary stage for promoting social change through its unique formation of community and solidarity. As sociologist David Hargreaves explains in his Sociological Critique of Individualism in Education excessive individualism is a phenomenon that inhibits communication across difference, which given the current political climate in the United States, dialogues over social conflict are urgently needed to promote future change and social equity. Through studying dance from a linguistic perspective I will evaluate how its communicative conventions promote solidarity and by extension promote social change. Dance as a Language Much like all formal or written languages dance has its own specific set of linguistic conventions that dictate how communication functions. Any language has its own vocabulary and syntax, on which dance language theorist Henrietta Bannerman (in accordance with Hagendorn) elaborates through her analysis: vocabulary and syntax are present in dance in the way that the word vocabulary is often employed to describe the selection of specific movements, and syntax, to represent the combination or arrangement of these movements (vocabulary) into chains or phrases of dance material. I do not hold that phrases or longer units of dance correspond to the grammatical sentence. 1

6 Through the parallels drawn to a verbal or written language, both Bannerman and Hagendorn speak to some linguistic differences and limitations of dance. Although a series of movement may not have a specific grammatical structure, its sequencing is established by physical constraints that allow for movement to flow or connect with established intent, similar to how the grammar of language establishes the flow of a sentence or phrase. Also, the syntactical structure of a phrase of movement is based in what Bannerman considers mere utterances rather than sentences because they focus on more poignant instances of evoked meaning that rely on contextual clues and affect to create meaning. Thus the specificity of movements that create the syntax of dance is heavily reliant on abstract messaging to function (Bannerman, 5). Abstract messaging occurs through symbolic or visual representation in which an observer creates meaning based on the associative ties, personal experiences and the emotional or visceral response they feel from watching. In linguistic terms, these associative ties are known as the semantics of a language, which are a communication system s reliance on familiar things and situations within an environment or the cultural implications and perception of a word. In terms of dance these can manifest in two forms, condition specific and condition generic representation. In condition specific representation, a context is predetermined and communicated to the audience explicitly through a variety of supplementary mediums. For example condition specific representation could be the costumes dancers wear, program notes, a description of the story for a ballet or the title of presented work. Condition generic representation is what an audience may carry with them when watching dance and their own personal ability to detect meaning from a piece. This can be a connection that is understood almost universally or within a particular culture such as pantomimes, common movements, shapes and symbols. For example a straight line of dancers walking intently in unison can commonly evoke the sense of militarization (Bannerman, 4). Condition generic representation may also call upon personal ties and reactions to a body of work as the emotional response to a dance piece can evoke a variety of personal memories that influence an audience member s understanding. In either case, the movement and communicative practices of dance are inherently abstract, and it is the choreographer(s) decision how explicitly or implicitly they choose 2

7 to convey a meaning. Following the Seattle based contemporary dance company s performance, Sensation, Whim W Him company member Justin Reiter and director and choreographer Olivier Wevers addressed an audience member s question regarding the meaning of one of the pieces performed that evening. Reiter replied this is our favorite question to answer, because it s what you just said, a piece is about whatever the audience takes away from it. Wevers followed with an explanation of the choreographic process: the choreographer starts with an idea and the dancers must then discover what that means. He explains that as a choreographer you begin with an intention and give it to the dancers who then transform it by adding their own individual understandings, which makes dance both a highly cognitive and physical embodiment of an initial idea or concept. This dual perception of dance communication also can be attributed to the fact that dance communication is performative. Since dance is a language based on performativity it is a language of doing rather than being. For example, Henrietta Bannerman uses the following analogy of gender to show how dance functions as a performed language: We must acknowledge that the linguistic performative has long been borrowed for and associated with practices other than language, for example by Judith Butler for her theory about gender construction and the way in which, as she writes, being a sex or a gender is fundamentally impossible (1990, p. 26), rather, as Salih insightfully explains, gender is something that one does, an act, or more precisely, a sequence of acts [... ] a doing rather than a being (Bannerman, 9) Therefore it is important to note the performative quality of dance because it relates to its function through abstract messaging. Dance does not inherently communicate based on concrete meanings that would be considered being but rather doing through the precise utterances that are created from a series of movement, of action. When dance is observed these utterances are perceived as movement, or kinetic ideas in which each audience member finds a unique form of resonance used to create meaning. The linguistic conventions of dance can point us to new forms of communication and thinking, as dancers and choreographers we are able communicate our most vulnerable thoughts while at the same time practice public speaking for the masses. As an 3

8 audience member, we are able to experience a dialogue with the artists via movement that connects us on both the intimate or personal levels and as a community. This is due to the specific linguistic conventions of dance and how its syntax, semanticity, vocabulary and performativity are all embodied in a language of doing. Embodiment of Language: The physical processes of a doing language Ivar Hagendorn, a choreographer and researcher in the department of cognitive and affective neuroscience of Tilburg University (Netherlands), makes the argument that movement actually preceded verbal or written language in his article Dance, language and the brain. He follows the linguistic studies of Michael Tomasell, who theorizes that human communication could not have started with language as a coded system, where specific sounds or utterances are arbitrarily assigned to a meaning. Instead, he points out that natural gestures such as pointing or even pantomime are one of the first levels of communication in a child s psychological development which relate back to our primary forms of communication (7). Thus Hagedorn expresses the validity of communication as a physical language and presents its universality. But what allows us to communicate in this natural, human way? There are three basic physical processes that support the linguistic conventions aforementioned: proprioception, kinesthesia and physical resonance. Understanding this set of corporeal processes is crucial to evaluating the communicative abilities of dance because they are the physical components that make the embodiment of an idea possible. Within the analogy of language, they can serve as a subset of linguistic conventions as they help to shape communication (or dance language) through the body. Proprioception Proprioception is the body s awareness of its place in space. It is often referred to as a sixth sense because it is the natural ability to know how much space an extended leg will occupy or how to make symmetrical shapes with both arms. It is integrated with our nervous and vestibular systems, which ultimately work together to achieve bodily placement and movement. 4

9 Susan Rethorst, author of A Choreographic Mind: Autobodygraphical Writings, refers to the proprioceptive sense as the body s mind throughout her work. She breaks apart the choreographic process and explains the importance in listening to this sixth sense. Rethorst explains how choreographic decisions are often felt rather than consciously decided, which she points out, is actually a very natural process to how we make decisions daily. She explains that when choreographing, you can t say, but you do know (10), that trusting the proprioceptive sense is enough when trying to communicate via movement, rather than consciously deciding what comes next. Thus proprioception is a highly individual sense, because even when executing the same movement as another dancer, one can only understand that movement from within their own body and their own proprioceptive sense. In terms of language, proprioception corresponds to the creation of a dancer s vocabulary because as proprioceptive abilities evolve, the greater repertoire of positions or movement one can utilize to express themself or ideas with. Kinesthesia Kinesthesia refers to the sensation of movement. It works in harmony with our proprioceptive system, however it is a muscle sense (Batson) that accounts for motion. Kinesthesia, linguistically relates to the syntax of dance because as a phrase of movement is created, one movement comments on another (Rethorst). Therefore kinesthesia plays a significant role in communication through dance as it reflects the continuity and expression of an idea. Similar to our proprioceptive sense, the sensation of movement is experienced and executed on a personal level but it also is the embodiment of connection. The sense of motion allows dancers to connect movements together and interact through kinesthesia. Physical Resonance Physical resonance is the expressive or affective aspect of dance. It is a dancer s ability to communicate affectively and as a result evoke a response or resonance, in the observer. This can include, for example, a dancer s facial expressions and quality of movement. Physical resonance allows abstract messaging to occur because the physical resonance of a dance corresponds to the meaning that is created by the observer. Affect 5

10 theorist Brian Massumi has coined these resonant moments as moments of intensity because an emotional qualification breaks narrative continuity for a moment to register a state- actually to re-register an already felt state. Ergo, these moments of intensity, or physical resonance are crucial factors in communicating through dance because they heavily influence the reception and perceived meaning of performed movement. From Individual to Collective Embodiment While these corporeal processes each rely heavily on individual sensation and perception, they are often experienced collectively because dance is often practiced as collective art form! Many dance styles are practiced as a communal activity, for example, in many street dance styles such as breaking, stepping and vogueing, dance battles are held in which groups of dancers may strive to encourage and out-perform one another. The corps de ballet evolved out of the aristocratic European courts and still today every classical ballet relies on a series of group dances. Musical theatre incorporates large dance ensembles and even the Kwakiutl Indians rely on community dances as part of their own social and political meetings. Needless to say, as individually experienced dance may be, it extends far beyond any single body, and as a result, collective embodiment can aid promotion of community and solidarity. In an interview with professional dancer, choreographer and teacher, Rachael Lincoln, she expressed her feelings toward the dance community and why she believes connections between dancers are so unique. It s something about the physical intimacy, Lincoln hypothesizes. During this interview she pointed out how we spend much of our time in close quarters with other people where physical touch is foreign and that in dance, we have this automatic comfort with the body even if you have not danced together before. We further discussed how relationships within the dance community are unique in this way and how even when meeting a new dancer for the first time, or someone that used to dance, you have this deep initial connection that is based on an understanding of what it feels like to experience communication through the body. By normalizing physical intimacy in this way, a sturdy and intimate bond is often formed between dancers. 6

11 In part, this can be attributed to our proprioceptive sense. Since the feeling of movement and embodiment is individual, dancers quickly learn to connect intimately through interacting with movement. For example, when dancing in unison, a group of dancers are executing the same expressions of movement but through their own personal sense of embodiment, thus the bodily communication is understood on both an individual and collective level. As a consequence, a sense of community through movement is experienced as ideas are expressed and translated from one body to the next, gaining both an individual and collective understanding that allows dancers to relate intimately through bodily sensation and communication. This sense of community can also extend to the audience in its own manner. According to the Mirror System Hypothesis, mirror neurons create a direct link between the sender of a message and its receiver (Hagendorn, 7), which essentially allows an observer to activate their own muscle memory when watching someone else execute a known movement. Hagendorn illustrates, for example, that the observation of an individual grasping an apple is immediately understood because it evokes the same motor representation in the parieto-frontal mirror system of the observer. Thus this hypothesis can relate to translating embodied ideas from dancers to the audience members as specific movements have the potential to evoke not just an affective response within an observer but also a physical one. Thus the sense of physical intimacy or physicality that may be perceived onstage can promote visceral reactions in the audience that can extend communication through a similar embodied experience. Although this hypothesis does not yield the exact embodied sensation in an observer that a dancer experiences, it does account for dance communication s unique extension to both visual and physical stimuli, which are vital to dance functioning as a language. The intake from an observer can then be internalized and combined with physical resonance to create a meaning that is understood by the observer, both individually and collectively. Hagendorn explains how our bodily experiences are not neutral or value free, that they carry great influence from our own personal experiences backgrounds and sociocultural habits. Therefore this understanding that has been created from abstract messaging is highly personal but can also be collective, much like the proprioceptive interpretation in dancers. For example, after watching a piece that was considered 7

12 particularly moving for an audience, each individual observer may be receptive to different moments throughout the piece and have a personal affective response, however collectively an audience may share similar feelings or perceptions of the same moment or an entire piece. This can be seen during a hip-hop dance performance when the entire audience shouts in excitement, awe or approval at the same moment or after a dance concert when you walk through a crowded lobby and numerous audience members are buzzing about the same moment in a piece. Thus this sense of community that manifests between dancers can be shared in, its own form, with the audience, as they also are able to experience and interpret dance on levels that are both highly individual and collective. Dance, Solidarity and Activism If there is a future wave of wellness on this planet, of harmony, of peace, of an end to war, of mutual understanding, of equality, of fairness, I don't expect it will come from a government, a military force or a corporation. I no longer even expect it to come from the religions of the world, which together seem to have brought us as much war as they have peace. If there is a future of peace for humankind, if there is to be an understanding of how these invisible, internal things should fit together, I expect it will come from the artists. - Dr. Karl Palanack, Boston Conservatory There is a profound power that art holds regarding social change and its presence can be documented throughout history as part of any large social movement. In A People s Art History of the United States, Nicolas Lampert reasons that when social movements embrace artists, they harness the power of those who excel at expressing new ideas and reaching people in ways that words and other forms of media cannot (xi), dance is no exception. Many dance styles evolved out of social resistance due to the sense of community and solidarity that was formed through their expression. In this section I will analyze the histories of ballet and stepping, as case studies to demonstrate how dance has been utilized to build solidarity and as a form of social activism. Then I will synthesize how dance s individual and collective embodiment can be utilized to promote solidarity. According to Lampert, the draw that many artists feel towards social justice originates from within their own communities. He explains how often artists of all kinds are stereotyped as fundamentally different and that each style of art carries 8

13 its own burden of cultural biases, internalized dilemmas, fixed paths and stereotypes. However, Lampert notes that the majority of artists represent the working class. While there are of course a number of successful artists that make up an elite population, and often formal training in the fine arts has its own intersectional inequities regarding race, socio-economic status and privilege, a majority of practicing artists still identify with this othered displacement in society. As a result artists have formed important communities where their creativity is valued. Within these communities solidarity is both formed and informed by the artistic endeavors and social activism becomes the fruit of their labors. For example, in the earliest origins of ballet, Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx explained in his introduction to the first court ballets that ballet will stand as a mark of the strength and solidarity of your Kingdom (Homans, 7). However, during the Enlightenment era in the early 1700 s, an English ballet master John Weaver aimed to harness ballet s power and solidarity outside the royal courts. He promoted ballet as a way to achieve English civic propriety by reforming the traditional goals of French aristocratic dance, which were to highlight and encourage social hierarchies. He believed that dancing could be a social glue, a way of smoothing over the differences between people and alleviating the tensions that undermined public life and deconstruct social class norms (Homans, 55). Shortly after, Jean- Georges Noverre, a French ballet master of the late eighteenth century, decided he wanted to shift the emphasis of ballet from trivial and pleasure seeking aristocracy to focus on the tragedy, moral dilemmas, and the study of man, which greatly influenced the formation of artistic communities and revolution as ballet became a people s art rather than that of kings. This shift also impacted women, as ballet began to take on more socially and morally significant endeavors, women were given leading roles in ballets and operas, which historically had been played by men or didn t even exist. Dance provided a non-aristocratic space to level the social playing field because women could act like the noblewomen of the courts, and due to theatrical illusion society often perceived them that way, though many ballerinas were actually of lower social class (Homans, 64). This allowed social agency to be redistributed 9

14 within the aristocratic society. Ballet s transition from royal entertainment to a form of art and social commentary formed many of the world-renowned academies and performing companies that exist today where, and its success in shifting the hierarchical dynamics for artists can be attributed to the communities that formed from using dance as artistic expression and critique of societal norms. The dance form of stepping evolved out an oppressed population rather than one of privilege but similar to ballet, it is based on a rich history that associated dance with forming solidarity and activism. Stepping relies on body percussion and often spoken word or chanting, and it originated in the black mining communities in South Africa in the 19 th century then traveled to the United States in the early 20 th century where it was adapted by black fraternities and sororities. This dance style is based on showing solidarity and protest as its fraternal roots link back to the black slaves in South Africa that were forbidden from playing music, a major communal activity and part of their culture. In protest, stepping evolved as a way to express solidarity within the black communities, even after the drums were taken away, explains Brian C. Williams, the director of the professional stepping company, Step Afrika! Once adapted by fraternities, it maintained its tradition in building community and used it to create unique styles, routines and chants for their own chapters and would compete against other fraternal chapters as a way to converse and demonstrate solidarity (Raymond), and is still practiced this way today. While these two dance styles have very different origins, their histories demonstrate the broad range of power dance language has to build community and promote social change. More generally, dance s reliance on individual and collective embodiment in order to communicate establishes a social dynamic that creates community. As a result, dance serves as an effective platform for promoting solidarity and social change when pieces become less about the individual and more about the common vision and aspirations of many, a culture of resistance (Lampert, xi). This transition can occur as choreography is translated between bodies to accomplish a common vision, which are then performed for an audience giving dance agency and an opportunity to express thought via movement. 10

15 Experiencing dance is both highly individual, yet collective and as a result solidarity within the dance community is able to support a platform for change. Analysis: Synthesizing social change and communication across difference When considering social conflict, one of the greatest factors of both tension and revolution is the ability to communicate across difference, whether that is on the national scale trying to speak across political lines or on the personal level, reflecting on your own intersectional identity. In any case, communication across themes of difference is crucial in affective change making within social conflict. Throughout this section social conflict will refer specifically to forms of oppression and the othering of a person, group or specific identity trait. Communication across difference will be defined as the ability to listen and consider an opposing viewpoint resulting in conversation and new understandings that can lead to social change and the overcoming of oppression. This section will integrate the sociological theories of David Hargreaves and Emile Durkheim to establish a problematic framework regarding social conflict. I will then present communication through dance as a potential solution by aiding communication across different and serving as a platform for promoting social change. Problem: Excessive Individualism and Oppression David Hargreaves, a sociologist and educational philosopher discusses social dynamic and oppression in his text A Sociological Critique of Individualism in Education. By examining the education system with a sociological lens, one can observe a microcosm of societal norms. Hargreaves believes that education is only the image and reflection of society (6) and critiques that our education system reflects society s excessive individualism (4) because it promotes an isolated culture of individuality without providing the tools to develop meaningful and intimate social connections, which denies students and society the collective experiences that are necessary mediums of learning. He refers to this as a cult of chumminess as we have begun to rely on politeness rather than making meaningful connections, resulting in eventual oppression because it deprives 11

16 individuals of security and collective support (12). He supports his claims with the Durkhiem Paradox, which declares: it is only by means of a thoroughly collective experience that a commitment to individual dignity can be learned. The commitment to the rights and dignity of man cannot be taught as a purely intellectual or cognitive experience; it must be apprehended through social experiences (Hargreaves,12). This paradox relates back to social conflict because it argues that an effective collective social dynamic needs to exist and pertain to an individual in order to understand the rights and dignity of themself and others, concluding that it is acquired through the social experience. Solution: Utilizing the Language of Dance Based on the theories of Hargreaves and Durkheim, combatting excessive individualism promotes social change through its formation of community, providing a space to combat oppression through the formation of solidarity. Hargreaves explains that true community and true social solidarity are achieved only when they are founded upon the respect for individual rights, for only then can society be just and compassionate. Thus I argue that because dance relies on individual and collective embodiment in order to communicate, it is an effective language to use in aiding conversations across difference by virtue of the social dynamics and solidarity that it establishes. Due to the conventions of dance and its nature of communication, which allows a relationship to develop between the outer world and our bodies (Richard), dance encourages new experiences of idea exchange and contemplation that activism can benefit from. The sections aforementioned discussed the components of dance language, highlighting that its basic structure incorporates traditional linguistic elements such as vocabulary and syntax, but also relies on abstract messaging and performativity to communicate. The physical processes of proprioception, kinesthesia and physical resonance support dance s linguistic conventions through embodiment, which is experienced on both the individual and collective level. As a result, solidarity can be formed within the dance community (including the audience) due to the inherent social dynamic dance establishes through its mode of communication, making dance a compelling platform for communicating across difference. 12

17 Communicating through dance invites the social experience that the Durkheim Paradox argues is necessary in developing a compassion for others that teaches human rights and dignity ; Hagendorn even argues that the AVPR1 gene in humans has been associated both with an implied proclivity for dancing and social bonding, which can support dance s historical and evolving cultural presence. Dance history also provides insight into the art s ability to create social change as the evolution of various dance styles proved successful in building solidarity and resisting oppression. Judith Hamera, author of Dancing Communities: Performance, Difference and Connection in the Global City, adds that dance serves as a commodity for public consumption and as a vernacular connecting individuals who may otherwise have little in common (1). Therefore dance not only has an ample reach to communicate with a variety of different people but it combats Hargreaves theory of excessive individualism and generates a space where discussions of social conflict can be expressed and experienced in a different way. Marc Richard, a dance pedagogical specialist who works on integrating dance into education, explains his findings through a series of teacher interviews in his article Dance as a Language of Learning and Source of Embodied Knowledge: As grade five teacher Brooke explained, the depth of their thinking after having the movement experiences is way more than any other subject I've seen...i think there is something about embodying it first that gives them deeper thinking. Similarly, choreographer and movement theorist Wayen McGregor believes that communicating through the body to audiences might move them, touch them, or help them think about things differently. McGregor also points out that we tend to not think much about our bodies until something goes wrong, but the embodiment of an idea that can be experienced by dancers and in the visceral reactions of observers bringing a new awareness to the body that can shapes one s perception of an idea. This perception and embodiment of ideas then promotes a more connected experience to our surroundings because our newly found understanding is both individual and collective. In the Journal of Dance Education, Rebecca Enghauser published her findings on The Quest for an Ecosomatic Approach to Dance Pedagogy. Using the philosophies of Laura Sewall and Arne Naess, she explains how the concept of the ecological self can be cultivated through dance. This perspective of the ecological self 13

18 is a form of embodiment that conceives of a gradual state of self-actualization by identifying with the larger community of all living beings (85). Enghauser theorizes that dance can bring new understanding and relation to a community thanks to its ability to connect individual and collective understandings. Using this power and her ecosomatic perspective, she believes that dance can allow us to perceive the world as relational rather than absolute or hierarchical, ultimately helping us to extend our narrow experience of self and to experience sensuality, intimacy, and identification with the external world (81). Thus, due to the linguistics of dance and how it communicates, it brings about new perspectives that can help build the compassion and respect for individual rights that the Hargreaves refers to, while forming a community that makes space for solidarity and promoting social change. Conclusion and Implications: When considering language acquisition and my own communicative experiences, I have always been intrigued by language s power to shape how we think. After becoming bi-lingual in Spanish and English I began to notice how each language changed my perceptions, feelings and my ability to connect to others and feel heard. Once I became proficient, I started to intentionally think through ideas in both languages in order to gain a new perspective or an experience that felt was needed. As a dancer, I use movement in the same way. Much like communicating in any language, dance allows you to experience ideas differently and its linguistics shape that experience, as it becomes another comprehensive strategy for understanding yourself and the world. However, the linguistics of dance are unique in that they rely on embodiment and the perspective that the embodied language of dance brings can push communication to a physical realm, outside the limits of verbal and written expression. Language and culture also have a reciprocating relationship, because linguistics determine which ideas can be expressed and how. The influence of 14

19 language intersects with societal norms, class, race, gender, sexuality and cultural values through its linguistic conventions, which makes linguistic studies an important perspective in understanding social conflict. Dance presents these social influences in an embodied way that is experienced both individually and collectively in which a culture of community is established. Historically, numerous dance styles evolved out of a variety of intersectional and oppressive circumstances such as Stepping, Waaking, Voguing, Breaking, Ballet and Jazz, where they utilized movement as their language of choice, to comment and discuss points of social conflict. Therefore dance not only has a history of promoting solidarity through communication via dance but artists utilized its performative and diverse linguistic qualities to enhance conversations about social difference, setting a unique stage for creating change. By evaluating the communication that dance can provide and understanding how its linguistic conventions shape its expressive potential, I advocated for dance education and making its art and performance accessible in our society. As our contemporary political climates continue to fluctuate, social divide and conflict intensify, leaving the stresses of national and global issues constantly in debate. If we look towards our shrinking fine art sectors for answers, I propose that there are new ways to communicate that can aid our conversations in making progress. Waves of social change and activism are referred to as social movements for a reason, and this body of research argues that these movements, in part can come from dance. Communication through movement can provide more tangible platforms for creating change and speaking across difference and the language of dance should be recognized for its profound linguistic properties that shape these conversations. 15

20 Bibliography A Choreographer's Process in Real Time. Perf. Wayne McGregor. TED. N.p., June-July Web. Barr, Sherrie, and Doug Risner. "Weaving Social Foundations Through Dance Pedagogy: A Pedagogy of Uncovering201.": Journal of Dance Education: Vol 14, No 4. Journal of Dance Education, Web. 20 Jan C.Brian Williams, Step Afrika!, The Migration Reflections on Jacob Lawrence., Pre- Show Lecture and Perfromance Courlander, Harold, Franziska Boas, Geoffrey Gorer, and Claire Holt. The Function of Dance in Human Society. Brooklyn, NY: Dance Horizons, Print. Enghauser, Rebecca. The Quest for an Ecosomatic Approach to Dance Pedagogy Journal of Dnace Education Vol 7, No 3. Informa UK Limited, Web. 16 Jan Gallagher, Shaun, and Andrew Meltzoff. "The Earliest Sense of Self and Others: Merleau -Ponty and Recent Developmental Studies." Philosophical Psychology 9.2 (1996): n. pag. Web. Great Again. Chor. Scott Davis, Rachael Lincoln, and Aaron Schwartzman. WA, Seattle. 21 Jan Performance. Hagendoorn, Ivar. Dance,Language and the Brain. Internaitonal Journal of Arts and Technology Vol. 3, Nos. 2/3, 2010 Hamera, Judi. Dancing Communities: Performance, Difference and Connection in the Global City. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, Print. Hargreaves, David H. "A Sociological Critique of Individualism in Education." British Journal of Educational Studies 28.3 (1980): JSTOR. Web. 28 Jan Homans, Jennifer. Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet. New York: Random House, Print. International Association for Dance Medicine and Science. "Proprioception.", n.d. Web. 13 Feb Kerr-Berry, Julie. Taylor Francis Online. Journal of Dance Education:Vol 10, No 1, Web. 20 Jan

21 Lampert, Nicolas. "Preface." Preface. A People's Art History of the United States. New York: New, Vii-Xi. Print. Lampert, Nicolas. "Government Funded Art: The Boom and Bust Years for Public Art." A People's Art History of the United States. New York: New, Print. Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation. Durham, NC: Duke UP, Print. Raymond Oliver"History of The Art of Stepping." Art of Stepping. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb Rachael Lincoln, "Choreographing Great Again." Personal interview. 14 Feb Rethorst, Susan. A Choreographic Mind: Autobodygraphical Writings. Helsinki: U of the Arts Helsinki, Theatre Academy Helsinki, Print. Richard, Marc. Dance as a Language of Learning and Source of Embodied Knowledge. Physical and Health Education Journal, Print. Simondon, Gilbert. Genesis of the Individual (n.d.): n. pag. Web. Stinson, Sue. "Why Are We Doing This?" ERIC. Journal of Dance Education, 2005, Web. 20 Jan Taylor, Harold. "The World of the Individual." The Individual and Education. New York: Macmillan, Print. Wevers, Olivier (and Whim W Him Cast). Sensation. Cornish Playhouse. Seattle, WA. January 27 th, Post show lecture and discussion. 17

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