Of the Presence of the Body gathers nine original essays by eminent scholars in the fields of dance and performance studies. Its focus is the historical, cultural and political contexts that inform choreographic and dance practices and critical readings of dance - in other words, how dance operates as critical discourse. The question that runs throughout the essays is the theoretical and political problem of how dances come to be seen, how the presence of the body leaves its mark on critical theories and performances. Focusing exclusively on 20th century dance, the interdisciplinary perspectives range from history to race studies, deconstruction, Marxist theory, feminist theory, literary studies and feminist ethgraphy. The anthology provides an overview of the current methodologies and theoretical developments in the field of dance studies. These essays expand our understanding of the performing body, and their organization around the epistemological problem in dance studies - the dynamics of seeing, remembering and writing - will make the collection useful for classes in dance criticism and theory, cultural theory, performance studies and aesthetics.
ANDRE LEPECKI is Assistant Professor in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University.