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date: 02 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Commentary on the recent trend toward performance “reenactment” suggests that there is something distinctive about how the phenomenon enables past dances to return. This raises ontological and identity questions that this chapter explores through three central cases: Fabian Barba’s (2009) A Mary Wigman Dance Evening, Philippe Decouflé’s (2012) Panorama, and the Kirov Ballet’s (1999) restaging of Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty. Do past dances reappear in reenactment, and, if so, how? Does the reenactment offer new tokens of a choreographic work type, or a redoing of a past performance event? Critically analyzing ideas central to the reenactment literature about the body-as-archive and affective history, the chapter argues for a conception of reenactment (alongside other models of dance reconstruction) as a form of historical fiction. As such, reenactment represents, rather than “re-instances,” past dances, hazarding and testing historical claims, by presenting thought experiments about how those dances might have been.

Keywords: historical fiction, Fabián Barba, Philippe Découflé, Sleeping Beauty, analytic philosophy of art

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