Philosophers of dance

by Jo-Dene

Identify and state two philosophers of dance?

Comments for Philosophers of dance

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Jan 23, 2012
Answer from Maria to Philosophers of dance
by: Maria

Dear Jo-Dene,

Many of the renowned choreographers of the history of dance have done a parallel work of thinking dance. Those who have written their thoughts are the ones to whom their philosophical work is socially recognized. We could name Jean George Noverre, Serge Lifar, Rudolph Laban, or Mary Wigman among those, for example.

However, remember that all artistic productions that involve new proposals imply deep reflections, both from an intellectual and an intuitive perspective. Even though the artist does not write her/his thoughts, there's a lot of thinking behind the choreographic work.

If you asked me to choose between the renowned thinkers of dance history, I would name Rudolph Laban first.

Laban created a wide and useful theoretical framework that is still in use. His definition of the components of movement like space, time, body, weight and movement dynamics was a big step in the understanding of dance as an independent aesthetical entity.

You can find biographical details about Rudolph Laban in our page for modern dance history. Just scroll down the page till you find his section. Here's the link to visit that page:

Modern Dance History

Now, if you want a full time philosopher who is not an artist and dedicates to think about dance, you could name Michel Bernard.

Michel Bernard is a French emeritus professor of theatrical and choreographic aesthetics at the University of Paris VIII. He was the founder there of the Dance Department in 1989 and is the author of several important books like "Le corps" (Seuil, coll. Points Essais, 1995), "L’Expressivité du corps" (Chiron, 1986) and "De la création chorégraphique" (CND, 2001). (The names of the books mean: "The body", "The body’s expressivity" and "About the choreographic creation")

Michel Bernard has been a philosopher of dance for more than thirty years and explores different subjects like the dancing corporeity, the creative process of choreography or the reception and memorization of the dance performance.

It is also known that Friedrich Nietzche made reference to dance with certain regularity. Yet, you might know that dance was not his only subject and he didn't actually leave a concrete group of texts regarding dance.

And, there's also the French poet Paul Valéry, who also used to mention dance in his writings. But, he is considered as a poet more than a philosopher, so he might not fit into your assignment... ;-)

I believe this should answer your question. Please come back to stay in touch or to participate at in any other way.

Warm regards,


Sep 23, 2022
by: Maria

... Just remembered Laurence Louppe... I never read someone who could describe the contemporary dance experience better...

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