Dance, knowledge, and power

Topoi 24 (1):29-41 (2005)
Susanne K. Langer contributed an exhaustive account of aesthetics, Feeling and Form, in which she articulated her schema of the virtual and wove together the aesthetic elements of music, visual arts, dance, and literature/theater. This analysis of her work centers on two key concepts within her philosophy: the virtual as the aesthetic effect of the work and the perception of the work through intuition. In this paper, I re-read Langers philosophy through a perspective built on intersections between phenomenology, pragmatism, and post-structuralist theory in order to reveal the relevance of her work to current understandings of how the dancing body produces and conveys meaning. I endeavor to show how her work provides a practical, conceptual system for understanding dance as an a-linguistic form of meaning-making, bodily experience, and knowledge.
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