Re: Pose

David Rodger (
Tue, 14 Oct 1997 20:44:58 +0100

>To be an atom is to be in motion. To be a particle is to be in motion.
>If you are a particle at absolute zero (temperature) you still vibrate.
>(There are debates about what it means to be at 0 Kelvin, but however you
>look at it as your temperature falls towards absolute zero the motion does
>not vanish).
>There is, quite simply, no way to define the difference between
>standing and dancing.
> {[(standing=dancing)=(particle=motion)]=[(x,t)=(p,E)]}

I really have to take issue with this sort of argument. And I'm not
slagging off Darren because he's not the first to posit it. See Drid
Williams, Ten Lectures on Theories of the Dance (Metuchen: Scarecrow Press
1991), chapter 2, for more on such theories.

In a later post, Darren said:

>The precise language to describe motion is maths, and the rules
>of motion are physics. I don't mean that other languages for describing
>movement (tai chi, kung fu, yoga, choreography notes, ...) are not
>useful. However, physics and maths notation describe the most general
>rules, and hence are incredibly compact without missing ANYTHING (as far
>as one can measure).
>And unfortunately you are all dealing with motion, so you're going to
>have to slowly start using some maths and physics terms to tidy things
>up. Having spied on your web pages and mail the last months, I've often
>noticed how inexact dance-tech terms are. They are clumsy in the same
>way I am when I attempt certain dance moves. I mean this in the nicest

It seems to me that Rudolf Laban attempted to bridge the gap in some
measure, without resorting to full-on maths and physics. Choreutics admits
geometric structures as analogs to movement patterns, and Effort theory was
posited more in terms of human motivation.

Darren and others before him seem to be proposing that the fact that atoms
are in perpetual motion should somehow be an impetus for, or an explanation
of, our movement. This, stated as it was, ignores the motivation of the
dancer or the person moving for whatever reason in whatever manner. (Laban
did this too, in one of those short lectures in that little book Laban
Speaks About Movement; or a similar title, which I don't have in front of
me right now.)

Before atoms were known (i.e. before the development of particle physics),
movement (or lack of it) was sometimes attributed to mechanical processes;
that is, consideration of the body as machine. There was a significant
aesthetic movement last century which grew out of motion analysis in the
service of industrial productivity (see Francis Sparshott's introduction to
Souriau's The Aesthetics of Movement, Amherst: Uni of Massachusetts Press,
1983). Or some might have compared bodily movement to the motion of astral
bodies due to their gravity (another mechanical principle). Before the
discovery of gravity, such movement was attributed to a more mystical

Perhaps mine is a slight case of putting words into the mouths of the dead,
but the point is this: no theory of the states of matter can properly
explain the voluntary and intentional movement of people because such a
theory does not admit human agency -- intention and motivation. If the
latter could be explained in this way, the disciplines of psychology and
neurology would surely be much more advanced.

Regards, David

David Rodger, "I'd bet for techno music you
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