Research seminar: Gay Morris – Choreographies of 21st Century Wars, Roehampton, 14 Oct.

Centre for Dance Research, University of Roehampton

Choreographies of 21st Century Wars
Dr Gay Morris, USA
14 October 2015, 6pm7.30pm, DU103, University of Roehampton

Wars today differ from the major conflicts of the 20th century, which were dominated by the so-called ‘great powers’, the sovereign states that engaged in two world wars and the 40-year Cold War. The major conflicts of this century are more amorphous and shifting, the boundaries and enemies less clear, the difference between war and peace less distinct. War and choreography have long been connected through dances and rituals, military training and drills, parades, and formal processions. Gerald Siegmund and Stefan Hölscher call warfare ‘dance’s notorious partner in the eternal duet of order and chaos’. Since war and choreography are closely related, and war has changed, the question is whether the role of choreography also may have changed. Jens Giersdorf and I have investigated this question, and our conclusions are the topic of my seminar. Within the context of what Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt term the new ‘global state of war’, we argue against concepts of choreography as solely a structuring mechanism, and an aesthetics of politics that is exclusively resistant. Instead, we call for a rethinking of choreography that incorporates the disorder and dispersion of power away from nation-states, which is central in this era of wartime all the time.

Gay Morris is a New York based art and dance critic. Her book, A Game for Dancers: Performing Modernism in the Postwar Years, 1945-1960, won the 2007 De La Torre Bueno Award for outstanding contribution to dance literature. She is also the editor of a collection, Moving Words, Rewriting Dance.