University of Roehampton
Centre for Dance Research
Research Seminar: ‘Grace’ Under Fire
Dr Renee M. Conroy, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Purdue University Calumet
5 February 2015, 6-7.30pm, DU.104 Duchesne Building, Digby Stuart Campus, University of Roehampton
Free, all welcome, no need to book
Gracefulness is often considered a hallmark of dance art. As critic Edwin Denby writes: ‘Susceptibility to ballet is a way of being susceptible to animal grace of movement. Many people are highly susceptible to the pleasure of seeing grace of movement who have never thought of going to ballet to look for it …. Art takes what in life is an accidental pleasure and tries to repeat and prolong it.’ But what, exactly, is grace? How do we recognize it in live dance performance? And what kind of role should this elusive concept play in theoretical treatments of dance as an art? A brief survey of the philosophical literature dedicated to analyzing ‘the graceful’ reveals substantive theoretical disagreement about the nature of grace and, hence, about its potential relationship to the distinctive value of dance. This presentation explores the complexity of grace as a multi-faceted normative property with aesthetic, ethical, and religious dimensions. I argue that several well-regarded theories of grace fail to illuminate its unique aesthetic character, and recommend an alternative strategy for developing an account of this byzantine property that can honor its salience in dance appreciation without overstating its importance in this artistic domain.
Renee M. Conroy is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Purdue University Calumet in Indiana (USA) who specializes in aesthetics and metaphysics. Her primary publication interests are focused on issues in the philosophy of dance and the performing arts. As a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at the University of Roehampton, she will develop her research during the spring semester of the 2014/15 academic year under the sponsorship of the Department of Dance.