David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Topoi 24 (1):93-102 (2005)
This essay considers the recuperation of beauty as a productive critical strategy in discussions of African American dance. I argue that black performance in general, and African American concert dance in particular, seeks to create aesthetic sites that allow black Americans to participate in discourses of recognition and appreciation to include concepts of beauty. In this, I suggest that beauty may indeed produce social change for its attendant audiences. I also propose that interrogating the notion of beauty may allow for social change among audiences that include dance theorists and philosophers. Through a case-study consideration of work by three African American choreographers, Donald Byrd (b. 1949), Ulysses Dove (1947 – 1996), and Abdel Salaam (b. 1949), I ultimately hope to suggest critical possibilities aligning dance performance with particular aesthetic theory relevant to its documentation and interpretation.
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