2008/09 Dance Legacy Lecture: Arcs in Time – American Postmodern Dance Protagonists
Friday, Oct. 24 at 4 p.m.
Palmer Commons, Forum Hall

“Whether we realize it or not, the 21st Century-world has been inevitably shaped by post-modernity — globalization, international policy, cultural pluralism, etcetera,” said Angela Kane, professor of School of Music, Theatre & Dance. “Similarly, the dance of today embraces the influences and reactions against both modern and postmodern dance.”

Kane and Jessica Fogel, a fellow professor in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, will begin the 2008-2009 Dance Legacy Lecture Series with a discussion on American postmodern dance protagonists.

Despite the lack of importance placed on dance throughout the average person’s day, it plays an essential role in art.

“Dance is an art of non-verbal communication and, as such, it can speak to people from all walks of life,” Kane said. “It can inspire, evoke, incite and entertain all in a single moment — and that’s just in terms of watching a performance.”

Beyond the performance, dance has a culture and history of its own that continuously intersects with other societal elements.

“I don’t think of there being a world outside the dance sphere,” Fogel said. “There is no inside and outside. Life and dance are constantly intermingled. One thing becomes the other; both are inside.”

This lecture will focus on the postmodern era, but attaching a single definition to this time period is not the goal of the organizers.

“I believe it’s more important to know the different schools of thought and the ongoing debate on the ‘isms’ both within and beyond dance,” Kane said.

Through the exploration of these varying trends and debates, it’s possible to gain insight into the present groups of thought and issues.

“In learning about the dances of a particular era, you can learn quite a bit about the cultural contexts of that particular time and find links to the present,” Fogel said.

Dance is a difficult art form for some to dissect, but it is this varying degree of interpretation that creates the different opinions needed to breed a healthy debate. The viewers can translate the art to support their own ideas, or the art can force them to rethink these beliefs. Kane said she wants to stress the importance of debate and differences of opinion, “not only in the arts but within scholarship in general.”

Addressing the big issues through artistic means can allow people to form a deeper connection with these injustices. This method of communication and understanding provides benefits beyond normal thinking.

“There are multiple physical, creative and therapeutic benefits,” Kane said. “Dance, along with the other arts, makes for a culturally rich and diverse society.”

Dancers and non-dancers alike can benefit from learning about the influences of history on dance. This lecture will explore the New York City art scene in 1950s and 1960s, a time full of change and excitement inside and outside the dance world.

“The period of the 1960s and 1970s was a particularly revolutionary one in dance,” Fogel said. “And many new ideas were explored at that time which are still being probed and spun out today.”

Artistic expression is a powerful medium that has both affected society and been affected by society. This kickoff lecture will provide interesting insight into both these relationships.

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