The ‘aesthetics of the cool’

by Hilda
(No location given)

What does ‘aesthetics of the cool’ mean?

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Nov 25, 2013
Maria's reply
by: Maria

Dear Hilda,

'Aesthetics of something' is an expression that is used to refer to a group of features, characteristics or traits that belong to that 'something' you're naming.

For example, if you talk about the 'aesthetics of imperial ballet', you would be referring to slenderness, extreme acrobatic skills, delicate women and strong men, elegance, fairy tale backgrounds and so forth.

In the case of the 'aesthetics of the cool', it may be referring to what hip-hop, jazz and related street dancers understand as 'what's in', today, and among the community of hip-hop or jazz dance.

As being 'in' is something that changes over time, the aesthetics of the cool may refer to different characteristics, according the place and historical moment when it is used.

The main feature of being 'cool' is usually described as an attitude, both of calmness and subversion. In terms of movement, that attitude is displayed through relaxed but acrobatic choreographic vocabulary, with dynamics that show both control and unexpectedness.

'Cool choreography' is also accompanied by a particular way of dressing (snickers, informal t-shirt and jeans and caps) as well as hip-hop, rap or close related music.

However, the meaning of the word 'cool' exceeds the field of dance and it is known to have social causes, which are then transferred to art as aesthetic features. I just found an article where you can read more about this whole matter. You can find it through the following link:

What does it mean to be cool?

As contemporary dance is an artistic form that embraces all kind of aesthetical features (according to each choreographic project), you may attend one day a contemporary dance piece that shows features from the aesthetics of the cool. You will then be in the presence of a fusion or a mixture among dancers coming from different aesthetic universes.

I hope this helps you understand.

Warm regards,


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