Philosophy of Dance and Disability

Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12551 (2018)
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The emerging field of the philosophy of dance, as suggested by Aili Bresnahan, increasingly recognizes the problem that (especially pre‐modern) dance has historically focused on bodily perfection, which privileges abled bodies as those that can best make and perform dance as art. One might expect that the philosophy of dance, given the critical and analytical powers of philosophy, might be helpful in illuminating and suggesting ameliorations for this tendency in dance. But this is particularly a difficult task since the analytic philosophy of dance is too young to have achieved a comprehensive treatment of dance per se, let alone to update such a treatment in line with the demands of social justice. As a step in that direction, the present article (a) summarizes dance theorists on disabled dance (as opposed to the dance of the temporarily able‐bodied, or TAB) and then applies (b) the philosophy of art and dance to disability, (c) the philosophy of disability to dance, (d) interdisciplinary disability theory to dance, and (e) my own Figuration philosophy of dance to disability, as inspired in part by John Dewey.
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