[dance-tech] Dance and Choreomania : : call for papers

  • From: "Johannes Birringer" <Johannes.Birringer@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <MEDIA-ARTS-AND-DANCE@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2010 19:15:02 +0100


Tanz und WahnSinn / Dance and ChoreoMania

Yearbook of the 
German Dance Association 2011

Edited by Johannes Birringer & Josephine Fenger

** CALL FOR PAPERS (abstracts: 500 words max) **
 Deadline of submission: 20 September 2010

Dance and madness are intricately linked to each other in the history of many 
cultures. In the Dionysian Mysteries one could not separate the dance of the 
Maenads - as an expression of exceptional mental states - from the experience 
of spirit possession, intoxication, and ecstasy. In classical metaphysics, the 
dancing person internalizes the universe, including dimensions outside of the 
ordinary or normative. Those rites were a medium, the dance channeling the 
ecstasies it generated in order to find meaning in the chthonic or 
transcendental dimensions of catharsis. Thus the rituals of Antiquity already 
incorporated two central aspects uniting dance and madness which keep 
reappearing during the entire discourse of history to date: the staging of 
ecstasy and its cathartic effect. 

Madness is here understood as psychic ecstasy, a state of exception that might 
be caused by illness, mental-emotional disturbance, and also through collective 
experiences, for example the kind of mass depression producing choreomania as a 
reaction to the deadly epidemics of the Middle Ages, now often analyzed as one 
of the first major health crises afflicting the common wealth. The Dionysian 
rites, on the other hand, have survived in many contexts, such as the 
traditions of carnival. 

A physical-mental ecstasy or mania often manifests itself in rhythmicized 
movement and is symbolized in dance or treated through movement therapy. 
Whether in the medieval Veitstanz (and its associations with epilepsy), or the 
Tarantismo practiced in Southern Italy, or the proverbial Red Shoes - the fairy 
tale about the desire to dance which becomes a punishment of dancing - movement 
in these contexts is already always symptom and cure, illness and therapy. 
Choreia does not only stand for dance, it is also the name of a disease which 
manifests itself in motion. This movement analogy between dance as crisis and 
dance as cure can be considered a leitmotif in the history of interdependence 
between dance and madness. 

Dance research into movement as reflection of internal processes ranges from 
historical studies of exorcism to current forays in neuroscience. Speculation 
about dance mania as an ?epidemic? that intoxicates is thus complemented by 
investigations of mirror neurons and motor-sensory imitation indicating how 
powerfully movement induces empathetic reactions. Recent cross-over studies of 
madness and creativity, hysterical phenomena (Charcot), schizoanalysis 
(Deleuze), bodily metamorphosis and social organization (Gil, Lingis), and post 
disciplinary and post spectacular societies (after Foucault and Debord) add to 
the expanding scholarly discourse on the ecstatic and traumatic body.

Dance and ChoreoMania is the featured topic in the 2011 anthology of studies 
published annually by the German Dance Association. This issue addresses 
choreomania as a means of thinking about performance experiences, as a potent 
creative force, and as an interdisciplinary frame through which to examine 
artistic, historical, psychiatric, psycho-medical and cultural discourses on 
dance ecstasy.

Please send original proposals (abstracts) to the editors: Prof. Dr. Johannes 
Birringer & Dr. Josephine Fenger. Contact: josephinefenger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Deadlines for the book are as follows:

Proposals: 20 September 2010

Draft manuscripts: 31 December 2010 

Publication Date: June 2011 


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