Ghosts in Dance

I was invited earlier this year to be part of a national conference on U.K. higher education.

I was part of a pannel presentation entitled “Ghosts in Dance Education,” where a number of lecturers from a variety of dance h.e. institutions brought foward provocations from the point of view of various disciplines within the field.  Guided by the student voice (played admirably by Julia Gleich), we were trying to find ways of integrating history into practice.   I was invited to speak for the ghost of Rudolph von Laban, which I did with utmost delight, producing a presentation that I believe will long remain a favourite in my body of work.  It’s very short, and you can see it here.

Did you get the joke?

Maybe not.  You have to have had some Laban training.  The joke is that the entire presentation is organised as the performance of one of Laban’s own movement scales, and the text is related to the positions prescribed by the training execise.

It became somehow a metaphor for what I believe about dance, the integration of theory and practice, of history in the present, and what it means to communicate knowledge.  I share it in the hope that it can remain alive and perhaps be disseminated further.  Discussion of the words, the presentation format or the blog post itself are warmly welcomed.

For more information on the rest of the Ghosts in Dance pannel and its conclusions, links are on their way.


3 thoughts on “Ghosts in Dance”

  1. Clever. Just a few moments before I have to head the my class. The quick response is I enjoyed the way you blended your narration into the points of the A-scale, and I want to chat with you about teaching the theories and notation in current contexts. Would love to hear more about what you think!


  2. I do not know anything about Laban. However, I am really excited about your question, which is how to prevent the loss of a body of knowledge. Being invested in antiquity myself, I believe in cultural conservativeness but, as you said, one that is adapted to new contexts and situations. So your work is not just the Ghost of Laban, it is in fact, a haunting and daunting reminder of Laban. It reminds time and again that knowledge needs preservation and that it is not a monolith, it itself undergoes metamorphosis and transformation, way beyond its genesis.


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