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Dancing Identity: Metaphysics In Motion
by Sondra Horton Fraleigh
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004
Cloth: 978-0-8229-4239-9 | Paper: 978-0-8229-6300-4 | eISBN: 978-0-8229-7088-0
Library of Congress Classification GV1588.3.F724 2004
Dewey Decimal Classification 792.801


Combining critical analysis with personal history and poetry, Dancing Identity presents a series of interconnected essays composed over a period of fifteen years. Taken as a whole, these meditative reflections on memory and on the ways we perceive and construct our lives represent Sondra Fraleigh's journey toward self-definition as informed by art, ritual, feminism, phenomenology, poetry, autobiography, and-always-dance.

Fraleigh's brilliantly inventive fusions of philosophy and movement clarify often complex philosophical issues and apply them to dance history and aesthetics. She illustrates her discussions with photographs, dance descriptions, and stories from her own past in order to bridge dance with everyday movement. Seeking to recombine the fractured and bifurcated conceptions of the body and of the senses that dominate much Western discourse, she reveals how metaphysical concepts are embodied and presented in dance, both on stage and in therapeutic settings.

Examining the role of movement in personal and political experiences, Fraleigh reflects on her major influences, including Moshe Feldenkrais, Kazuo Ohno, and Twyla Tharp. She draws on such varied sources as philosophers Simone de Beauvoir and Martin Heidegger, the German expressionist dancer Mary Wigman, Japanese Butoh founder Tatsumi Hijikata, Hitler, the Bomb, Miss America, Balanchine, and the goddess figure of ancient cultures. Dancing Identity offers new insights into modern life and its reconfigurations in postmodern dance.

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