Cover

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright, Quotation

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Contents

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pp. vii-xii

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Preface

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pp. xiii-xiv

The aim of this book is to lay foundations for a philosophical consideration of the art or arts of dance. It begins by asking why dance has historically played little part in the philosophy of the fine arts in general. It goes on to consider what conditions must be fulfilled by the philosophy of any art or practice. ...

Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvi

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Introduction

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pp. xvii-xxiv

If any art should attract the attention of philosophers, dance should. Dancing plays an important part in the lives of people everywhere. All human societies dance, just as all have language. But, despite its ubiquity, the activity of dancing confronts the thinker with many puzzles and difficulties. Some of these are conceptual: not all languages have a word for dance, and ...

Part I Metatheory: On the Philosophy of Dance

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Chapter 1. Why the Aesthetics of Dance Has Been Neglected

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pp. 3-82

The decade of the 1960s saw an immense and rapid increase of interest in dance, especially in the United States. It was the most recent of a series of waves of enthusiasm for dance of one or another sort. "As long as the ballet mania prevails," said the London Morning Post of March 13, 1843, at the height of the ballerina craze set off by Taglioni, ...

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Chapter 2. Dance as Metaphor: World as Dance

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pp. 83-106

We saw in the preceding chapter that the French court ballet, the only dance form that has ever been central to official culture in Europe, relied for much of its meaning on cosmic symbolism, the dancing bodies figuring emblematically as heavenly bodies. And we noted and approved Hegel's contention that no dance could be justified as dance by its being symbolic ...

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Chapter 3. Contexts for Dance Theory

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pp. 107-164

Can there be a theory of dance? Some would say no. Theories not only (as said in the introduction) usually arise out of specific problems, they would say, but can only so arise. Words like "art" and "dance" point to areas of life within which specific problems and practices can call for various sorts of theoretical engagement, ...

Part II Theory: On Dance

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Chapter 4. Some Dimensions of Dance Meaning

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pp. 167-187

What should a general aesthetics of dance and a general theory of the art of dance take into account? Everything for which dance is esteemed and the reasons for esteeming it. But the range of dance values must reflect the totality of the ways in which dance can be found meaningful. ...

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5. On What Is and What Is Not Dance

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pp. 188-268

I have written a great deal already without attempting to define dance or otherwise delimiting the topic of our discourse. The omission has not impeded us. It is in fact unusual to begin a philosophical treatise with a definition of its subject matter, and by no means the rule to include one anywhere. ...

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Chapter 6. On What Is and What Is Not the Art of Dance

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pp. 269-298

We have seen that dance is not an art in the classical sense of an organization of knowledge and skill for a specific end. We have seen that dance was not placed unequivocally or unanimously among the arts originally identified as the fine arts, and why not. In the previous chapter and elsewhere, we have slipped from the sort of dance that is nowadays thought of as art, ...

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Chapter 7. Dance and Its Neighbors

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pp. 299-340

We said that what is dance is determined partly by what is nothing else: alternative classifications for practice will mark out certain activities as something other than dance, though in default of the alternative they would probably have been counted as dance. These will be activities that have something dancelike about them, ...

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Chapter 8. What Dance Is

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pp. 341-396

A chapter on what is and what is not dance does not tell us directly what dance is; it only distinguishes dances from other things. Explaining the difference between cats and marmosets doesn't tell us anything about what cats are; denning a cat tells us rather little. To know what a cat is, we have to know cats. ...

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Chapter 9. Conclusion

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pp. 397-404

I think what has been done in this book is the right sort of thing to have done and to do. The wrong thing to do would be to produce a tidy theory in which dance would be given a determinate place and character in the world. Hardly less wrong would be to use the skeptical dogmatism of some philosophical pundit to show that the idea of a philosophy of dance ...

Reference List

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pp. 405-416

Index

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pp. 417-430