This issue of DRJ presents an impressive range of methodological approaches to the analysis of dance materials stemming from distinctly different disciplinary contexts. Although there is no warrant for unity among these essays, the essays speak to each other on the basis of this disciplinary variety. It is, in some sense, an extension of the earlier “Dance, the Disciplines and Interdisciplinary” (DRJ 41/1 Summer 2009) toward multidisciplinarity. Multidisciplinary perspectives converge in the analysis of particular dances, the dancer’s social and political as well as life situation, and/or the production of the dance as well as its philosophical underpinnings and underlying aesthetics. The present authors do not so much theorize the relation of dance to other disciplines or of dance studies to interdisciplinary methodologies per se, but actually practice them critically, demonstrating their use from a variety of disciplinary locations and critical-historical contexts.
In “Inheriting Dance’s Alternative Histories,” Kate Elswit writes from the position of a dance scholar who is also the dramturg of the work under discussion, Roni Nair’s Future Memory based on Kurt Jooss’s Dixit Dominus (1975), which was created for Lilavati Häger. Elswit brings together the description of the work as well as of its genesis, in which she has been actively engaged, with a reflection on the future potentials of re-viewing this solo, which was an intercultural experiment before its time. It seems to me that Elswit provides here a unique model for writing such accounts that are at once production histories, choreographic poetics in process of realization, and theoretical reflection on history and re-performance, all brought into dialogue with the complex temporalities and relationships at play in Dixit Dominus itself as a choreographic work.
Anusha Kedhar’s “Flexibility and Its Bodily Limits: Transnational South Asian Dancers in an Age of Neoliberalism” engages with an auto-ethnographic dancer’s discourse in the context of the theme of the dancer’s work as labor. Kedhar re-corporealizes “flexibility,” a key term in postmodern studies of globalization, diaspora, and late capitalism. What Kedhar refers to as “the corporeal dimensions of transnational labor and flexible citizenship” (p. 24) is applied to the non-British subject of South-Asian dance whose labor is required but also problematized in certain UK dance companies. Out of this situation, the author details the different strands of “flexibility” when applied to dance technique across a divide of tradition and innovation in the capitalist market—in sum, a unique form of work required of the dancer—combined with the necessities for temporary migration (negotiating border crossings under short notice, which involves another sort of flexibility). Kedhar stretches strategically the notion of flexibility itself in the life of the dancer.
Ryan Platt’s “The Ambulatory Aesthetics of Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A” constitutes an original reading of Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A that is bound to be controversial. Although a careful reader of the dance and its peculiar texture (avowedly from the 1978 film exclusively), what is it that makes this reading diverge so significantly from others we are familiar with? Might it relate to the performance studies orientation of the analysis? One reviewer of this essay remarked: “I imagine that this piece could generate many further developments in thinking about Rainer’s and indeed other contemporary choreography deriving from the terms and concepts that it sets out.” The notion of an ambulatory [End Page 1] aesthetic drawn initially from Michel de Certeau, but amplified through art historian and theorist Rosalind Krauss’s discussion of the index and further references to photography and film theory certainly transports dance and dance theory into other disciplinary domains of interpretation, notably those of photography and film. Particularly interesting is the way in which the ambulatory is set against Rainer’s notion of “pedestrian movement” as a general metaphor for walking.
Peter Dickinson’s essay, “Textual Matters: Making Narrative and Kinesthetic Sense of Crystal Pite’s Dance-Theatre,” is written from the position of literary critic with a keen facility for observation of the movement event. Dickinson reflects on the pivots—a crucial term here—between text and movement in Crystal...