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date: 26 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that some of the more radical developments in theatre dance initiated by Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, Deborah Hay, and others in the 1960s and 1970s were supported by problematically dualistic ways of speaking and writing about “the body.” By valuing the rational “mind” over the supposedly irrational “body,” the normative hierarchy was inverted. The chapter discusses the way in which this concern with “the body” in minimalist performances by Yvonne Rainer became political in the context of protests against the Vietnam War. The new sensitivity to corporeality that emerged from minimalism then formed the basis for Hay’s Circle Dances and Paxton’s Magnesium. Drawing on Boltanski and Chiapello’s discussion of the political critique of the 1960s and 1970s counterculture, and Jean-Luc Nancy and Giorgio Agamben’s discussion of community, the chapter analyses the politics underlying the way that these dance practices involved talking and writing about “the body.”

Keywords: counterculture, Steve Paxton, Deborah Hay, Yvonne Rainer, Vietnam War, corporeality, dualism, Boltanski, Chiapello

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