Dance and Politics, edited and compiled by Alexandra Kolb (Bern: Peter Lang, 2011)

Anny Mokotow


There are passionate discussions in the field of dance and politics at the moment. This anthology attempts to participate in them, with articles ranging from the very heated to the coolly judicious. Alexandra Kolb sets her edited anthology apart from much recent discourse on how dance is linked to conceptualizations of the political. She suggests that to use politics as a conceptual proposition exposes it to ‘becoming vacuous to excessive proliferation … in the field of dance studies’ (1), and prefers instead ‘to give structure to this wide and often disorganized terrain’(9) by narrowing the perspective. While the chapters do not deal with gender, race or ethnicity or with a postmodern/structuralist perspective of politics (that include the relationship of the body’s position within media and performance), they do set in motion two continual questions: Can dance provoke critical intervention? And how can the effect be evaluated? To do this, the anthology concentrates on Western dance that engages with ‘explicit’ historical political contexts. Using this perspective on dance and politics, the book presents some interesting challenges and insights.

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