- Dance and Other Slippages: Critical Narratives on Women, Dance, and Art by Rina Angela P. Corpus
Dance and Other Slippages: Critical Narratives on Women, Dance, and Art
University of the Philippines Press, 2013. 143 pages.
The literature on Philippine dance by Filipino writers is so scanty that every published contribution is considered valuable. Rina Angela P. Corpus's Dance and Other Slippages, however, begs to move outside that category of "just-another-valuable-contribution" toward being a piece of substantial scholarship that could pave the way for a shift in perspectives in Philippine dance studies.
Corpus was a volunteer and meditation teacher at the Brahma Kumaris Center for Spiritual Learning in Tagaytay City. In that tranquil city south of Manila she finalized her two books on dance, Defiant Daughters of Dancing (University of Hawai'i Press, 2017) and Dance and Other Slippages—the former, based on her master's thesis; the latter, a compilation of essays spanning over ten years of introspection (1999–2013). She was assistant professor in the Department of Art Studies of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, where she earned her undergraduate degree in Art Studies and her [End Page 107] master's in Art History. She moved to Melbourne in 2016 for her PhD in Dance at the Victorian College of the Arts in the University of Melbourne. Corpus has not only written about Filipina contemporary dancers, but for a brief moment she was a contemporary dancer herself. She studied classical ballet in her youth and was affiliated with the Quezon City Ballet. She also took classes and dance workshops with Ballet Manila, Swiss Chamber Ballet International, Perry Sevidal Ballet School, and Limon Dance Institute in New York. In 2006 she directed and performed in a dance-solo-show titled "The Four Faces of Woman: A Dance-Exhibit Celebrating Women and Spirit," which was supported by UP's Office of Initiative in Culture and the Arts, the Anthrosophia Wellness Foundation, Inc., and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts.
Corpus's affinity for dance and interest in understanding and facilitating meaning making are fleshed out in her 2013 publication. Offering a feminist-postmodernist approach to dance criticism, she seeks to "challenge the previous 'paternal' authorities of the 'great art' and 'grand dance' canons" (xiii). This approach to dance allows her and her work to stand out in a sea of Philippine dance performance critics who have mostly taken to formalistic and historical-materialist approaches.
None of this is to say that Corpus disregards history. In fact, in Dance and Other Slippages she chronicles the lives of Filipina dance-artists and lays out a purposely selected dance repertoire for posterity. Her interest in history and historicity is evident in her previously published works. Corpus has been consistent in anchoring her research methodology on dance biographies as evident in Defiant Daughters of Dancing. Through her inquiry into the lives and artistic expressions of dance-artists, Corpus provides insights on the sociopolitical landscape of Philippine contemporary dance. She applies this kind of probing in Dance and Other Slippages, which focuses on the reading of dance performances and the retelling of dances through conversations about their conceptualization and production of dance.
The book consists mostly of reviews of dance productions from 1999 to 2012. With over eight chapters, it is a compilation of textual analyses of dance performances and gallery shows that focus on women. She begins her reviews with layouts of analytical frameworks, citing feminist theorists whose ideas she applies to the reading of dance texts. Her carefully curated repertoire list consists of materials that have women as either subjects or producers. [End Page 108]
This book should be lauded for providing space for independently produced dance shows. Featured in Dance and Other Slippages are dance-artists and performances that can be considered to have thrived outside traditional theater and the formal support structures for the arts in the country. Keeping true to her postmodernist preferences, Corpus conscientiously includes independently produced dance events that have not received ample exposure and patronage, such as Agnes Locsin's Sabel, Gerard Mercado's Daragang Magayon, Angela Baguilat and...