Dance. A Philosophical Investigation
Original title: Danse. Une enquête philosophique
Ritual dances, sexual ones, war dances or festive ones… We don’t know of any human society without dancing. As an activity it is an anthropological invariable, and, along with singing, is surely the oldest art form.
Why do we feel the need to dance? What affects us so deeply about the succession of movements? What distinguishes a dance movement from an ordinary, everyday one? What does dancing teach us about our ability to yield to rhythm, to free us from shame? About the connection between discipline and freedom?
Alexandre Lacroix has summoned a few philosophers who have considered those questions, and, above all, observed the men and women who raise this art to its highest degree of perfection. In order to write this essay, the philosopher was granted exceptional permission to go behind the scenes at the Paris Opera, which is famous for its ballet company, and to attend the rehearsals of the principal dancers Ludmila Pagliero and Stéphane Bullion. He describes their daily work and their stunning paths, and strives to put their bodies’ physical intelligence into words.
His philosophical investigation gets as close as possible to the mysteries of this ephemeral art and intensifies our pleasure as spectators by opening our eyes to what’s at stake in dance.