language/ dance

Scott deLahunta (
Mon, 20 Oct 1997 09:10:17 +0200

We have a small thread going on what comprises 'language' in relationship to
dance. A wonderfully and endlessly debatable topic -- and important both
practically and theoretically speaking for those working on border between
'dance and technology'. Two versions have been hinted at: 1) dance is it's
own idiom for describing motion, and 2) notation as a way of describing
motion/ movement ... so I just thought of this quick list of phrases
relating dancing and language in a variety of ways. Generally I see
speaking, moving, writing, reading, listening, understanding, remembering,
communicating and dancing all as part of the same project. However, within
that project we can and should define and follow different lines of thinking
which progress and develop through willful differentiation. Otherwise, we
will not know that of which we 'speak'... whether through the body, with the
body or via some other means... like 'tech'...

1. Dance is a non-verbal artform
2. Before the word there was nothing
3. Movement speaks for itself
4. Writing on the body, writing with the body
5. Preserving dances
6. Reconstructing dances
7. Composition -- tracking, pacing, marking, tracing
8. Articulation of body... parts
9. The body as an appearance, an apparition
10. Reading dancing -- the montage in the eye of the viewer
11. Narrativity and body memory
12. The loss of oral culture...
13. Digitized dances and the scripting of bits
14. Intertextuality and the body as a collection of texts
15. Thinking while dancing, thinking while watching
16. Thought, physicality and neurolinguistics
17. The silence of the dancer
18. Collective consciousness and social bodies
19. The devaluation of language and the holy body
20. The body as a text, text as presence


As a dancemaker, I tend towards no. 3 -- keeps things simple... everything
else in my life seems so complex and 'information' laden that I prefer this
approach when I have a chance to be in the studio.

As a viewer, hmmm, I don't know... seems more complex even than what I've
written above. Maybe best to point to something I sent to the list a few
weeks ago (Re: waving Tue, 14 Oct 1997 09:13:38 +0200), which is easy to
find in the 'archive' Mark put up on the DTZ -- and I even think this is the
URL for that particular comment:
--------- by the way, speaking of intertextuality... CHECK out the archive.

As a writer, I can employ 1-20 as necessary as long as I'm working with a
word processor which gives me endless opportunities to order my thoughts...
(which also means it can take me 15 minutes to write something which you
will read, interpret for yourself and probably file away in a matter of

As a reader, I am interesting in 1-20 as long as the writing is interesting...

As a thinker, I slide around in the muck between them, occasionally setting
down a foot here or there to gain some purchase before pushing off again.

As a teacher (and the intellectual dilettante I am which you all must have
realised by now)... I tend to use them all and confuse my students.

... do check out the archive --

Scott deLahunta and Susan Rethorst
Writing Research Associates, NL
Sarphatipark 26-3, 1072 PB Amsterdam, NL
tel: +31 (0)20 662 1736
fax: +31 (0)20 470 1558