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Dance is practiced in many forms and for many reasons, including social, educative, political and therapeutic reasons.
This article will consider the philosophy of dance as a Western theater or concert art, by which I mean the sort of art that is practiced in a performance space and that is offered for some sort of audience or spectator appreciation.
Dance, the movement of the body in a rhythmic way, usually to music and within a given space, for the purpose of expressing an idea or emotion, releasing energy, or simply taking delight in the movement itself.
Dance is a powerful impulse, but the art of dance is that impulse channeled by skillful performers into something that becomes intensely expressive and that may delight spectators who feel no wish to dance themselves.
While analytic philosophers of aesthetics might want to know what the “work” of dance as art is, for example, this may not be a question of relevance to the continental, pragmatic or process philosopher (and even less relevant to the dance studies scholar).
Similarly, accounts of dance that focus heavily on the lived experience of dance as art for both the performer and the audience that answers to the truth of that experience for dance practitioners may be of interest to pragmatists and phenomenological philosophers but may not be accepted as relevant by some analytic philosophers.
In doing so, he betrayed his own sympathy toward the Expressionist school of modern American dance: “At the root of all these varied manifestations of dancing . This is basic dance.”A truly universal definition of dance must, therefore, return to the fundamental principle that dance is an art form or activity that utilizes the body and the range of movement of which the body is capable.
Unlike the movements performed in everyday living, dance movements are not directly related to work, travel, or survival.
This means that, as a whole, the philosophical aesthetics of dance lacks the full range of views that one can find in more developed field of aesthetics such as literature or music. Hegel’s idea was that the fine arts were those that realized the spirit of the people by bringing truth or the “idea” to light in material form (for more on Hegel’s aesthetics see Houlgate 2014).
Although the above broad definition covers all forms of the art, philosophers and critics throughout history have suggested different definitions of dance that have amounted to little more than descriptions of the kind of dance with which each writer was most familiar.