Book

Dance and the philosophy of action: a framework for the aesthetics of dance

This book is a further major intervention into the philosophical aesthetics of dance by a philosopher who has devoted much of his professional career to the consideration of dance. It is intended for the interested general reader as well as the postgraduate student. What discussions from philosophy should be brought to the esthetics of dance? Approaches to philosophical aesthetics for dance should consider the various agencies of dance-maker (the choreographer), dance-instantiator (the dancer), and observer and commentator on dances (dance-audiences, but also dance critics). Here, Graham McFee builds on his previous works (Understanding Dance [Routledge, 1992] and The Philosophical Aesthetics of Dance [Dance Books, 2011]) to offer a framework for philosophical investigation of dance aesthetics drawing on concepts from the philosophy of action crucial for making sense of artworks, especially in performing arts such as dance: meaning, intending, action. In addressing such framework issues, this text is suitable for introducing philosophy to relative beginners, drawing on an interest in dance-as-art. It displays the nuanced practice of philosophical debate via the delineation and exemplification of philosophical positions through criticism of others, and through responding to criticism. A focused range of reference offers readers an opportunity to expand or to substantiate the conclusions drawn and arguments provided, in the context of examples of dance practice and theory: for instance, in the claims of neuroscience as well as the dance-criticism of John Martin and the dance-making of Twyla Tharp.

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