Power structures in the world give us a certain way of looking at things, and there are certain positions and labels we recognize within those structures.
But what if we stopped accepting those structures, or looked for alternatives to the normative positions that can often guide our thinking, or stood in the spaces between opposing positions?
As well as dealing with issues of sex and gender, queer theory is a way of asserting that we should be open to value and validity in all the ways we find it, and that we can make new ways of living, being, and creating for ourselves.
(And with all that said, I couldn’t resist this song.)
Queer Theory reading list:
Meg-John Barker: Queer A Graphic History (amazing resource)
Judith Butler: Undoing Gender (core text, dense language)
Sarah Ahmed: Queer Phenomenology (queer as a theoretical tool)
Kate Bornstein: Gender Outlaw (shocking and hillarious and wonderful)
We understand what things mean in reference to things that we have seen before.
We can see references made intentionally if we have a shared background of references.
But our unique collection of references can also lead us to whole new conversations and interpretations.
Intertextuality is one of my favourite ways of tracking meaning in a particular work – be it dance or writing – and opens up ways for linking ideas across time and mediums. Films are particularly big on making intertextual references, as this collection from Pixar will prove:
Intertextuality Reading List
Janet (Adshead) Lansdale: Dancing Texts: Intertextuality in Interpretation (well-written dance text)
… in fact most of the other texts I want to recommend are by Lansdale. Folks outside of dance, do you have any recommendations from your field?
We experience the world around us and out brains try and make sense of it.
We build structures of understanding based on the experiences we’ve had, that affect how we interpret future experiences.
So even as we think we are experiencing or expressing, what we are actually doing is fitting and filtering random information through a structure we invented to understand the universe… and offering new information to others as we go.
…..If you want a little more information, this might help:
Phenomenology reading list:
Remy Kwant: Phenomenology of Expression (highly recommend)
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Phenomenology of Perception (core text)
Susan Sontag: On Photography (philosophy into art)
David Abram: Spell of the Sensuous (you’ll love it or you’ll hate it)
Labanotation is a way of scoring dance on a page and reading it back, just like you would music.
It records how the joints of your body relate to each other, and how they’re moving.
It can’t write everything, but if you’re invested in the culture of the dance it can write a hell of a lot – and it’s much better than video.
Your brain knows things, but ALSO your body knows things.
One kind of knowledge should not be privileged over the other, even if it is easier to express.
Working in a studio can allow your body to discover deep, enriching information, that is valuable to dance and the world.
Words mean different things to different people.
The relationship between words and the things they refer to is complicated.
Anything anyone says will have more than one meaning, and that’s ok.