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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes the structures of power embodied in dance training methods at the material level, the effect that this has on the dancers, and the philosophical and ideological means through which such structures can be understood. The chapter revisits Australian dance theorist Elizabeth Dempster’s (2002, 2005) application of Michel Foucault’s theories of “discipline” and the “docile body” in in her analysis of the oppositional dance techniques of classical ballet and ideokinesis. It returns to this debate to better articulate how the competition inherent in many codified dance forms is opposed to the kind of (un)disciplined labor involved in somatic-based practices. This labor engages sensory acuity to attend to somatic intelligence (bodily forms of knowledge) to access new information and possibilities. This project requires an extension of current terminology, specifically extending Foucault’s notion of surveillance as a kind of self-surveillance, which can be further bifurcated as prohibitive and emancipatory.

Keywords: dance, somatics, ideokinesis, self-surveillance, somatic intelligence, Foucault

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