Dance Is Massive

Issue #04: Dance Is Massive.

Thinking does not need the word but it needs the body. As Spinoza pointed out, seeing is doing, and seeing dance is often dancing. This is why the effects of dance are as restless and relentless as its authors in their endeavours to make us see and feel with our bodies.

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The theme of this new issue of our Diary is inspired by Dance Massive, the Australian platform for contemporary dance, now reaching its third edition. We used it as a provocation to investigate a little deeper what dance does to us, what dance is to us, where dance fails us. This is the reason why we have invited a few dance thinkers to reflect on ‘why dance?’, the topic of the upcoming National Dance Forum.

Hold that feather close: it’s all you’ve got. Days might dribble through your hands, leaving their tried sediment, each morning might seem heavier, but it’s how images flicker past you faster and faster without touching, that drills you coreless, insubstantial. You have to reach further inside, through deeper skins: (…) What matters most is least, and that refuses us shelter. Alison Croggon, A Child’s Play

All the articles in this issue gravitate yet again around the moving body and/as the thinking body. They highlight the body’s potential for unpredictable physical invention or the production of new and unforeseen affect. They demonstrate, yet again how much we are our bodies, how everything starts and ends with our bodies and the multiple ways in which we view our corporeal presence.

Thinking does not need the word but it needs the body.

Thinking does not need the word but it needs the body. And as Spinoza pointed out, seeing is doing, and seeing dance is often dancing. This is perhaps why dance opens up so many unexplored horizons, so many unforeseen emotions that tickle the senses, so many needling interrogations and doubts that stay with us for days and sometimes a lifetime. This is why the effects of dance are as restless and relentless as its authors in their endeavours to make us see and feel with our bodies.

This fourth Diary is also a more general invitation to make us think dance as we watch it, to filter it through the mind and not only the senses, to accept that the purpose of dance (or art, in general) is not to entertain but rather to make us reflect and expand the vision of what our body means to the world and in the world. Art is an eye-opener to infinite horizons but it does not necessarily come easily and it can require effort or persistence in comprehending. All this is, of course, directly linked to the different ways of connecting people to art and the role of critics, reviewers, arts operators and cultural policy decision-makers in building the site of cultivating the taste for the arts. All of which will be developed more in the issues to come.

Until then, enjoy the massive array of dances Dance Massive has in store for you. The result may be massive.