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Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t716100720 The Choreography of the Pedestrian Elisabeth Dempster Online Publication Date: 01 March 2008
To cite this Article Dempster, Elisabeth(2008)'The Choreography of the Pedestrian',Performance Research,13:1,23 - 28 To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/13528160802465458 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13528160802465458
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The Choreography of the Pedestrian e l i z a b e t h d e m p s t e r In dance, as in other fields of artistic practice, the narrative of a progressive modernism exhausts itself or runs aground in the early 1960s. For dance historian Susan Manning it was the Judson Dance Theater that signalled a moment of crisis; Judson marked the end point of a period of sustained formal experimentation and also of the legitimating narratives that had once supported American dance modernism (Manning 1993: 23). In this period a number of strategies directed towards dissolution of the constitutive binaries (of form and content, art and life) of modernist aesthetic ideology were vigorously explored. The insertion of the 'non-aesthetic' in the form of ordinary movement and untrained performers was one such strategy. I am revisiting this period of radical dance practice because I believe the provocation it offers has not been exhausted. Indeed the familiar dance historical ways of telling the story of this period of dance experimentation elides some of its most radical implications for dance and choreographic practice today.
My intention in this essay is to begin to outline a conceptual framework for a consideration of dance and choreographic practices that are grounded in a pedestrian aesthetic and that presume an affinity or continuity between the body of the dancer/ performer and the body of the spectator. The French philosopher, historian and sociologist Henri Lefebvre has explored the realm of everyday life in ways that will be useful for this investigation. In Critique of Everyday Life Lefebvre characterizes the everyday as follows: