Hannah Arendt Center Conferences
[Dance and Politics: Moving Beyond Boundaries]

Hannah Arendt Center and Dance Program present:

Dance and Politics: Moving Beyond Boundaries

Thursday, February 23, 2017 Campus Center, Weis Cinema
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

A Lecture by Dana Naomy Mills

This event occurred on:  Thu. February 23, 7 pm – 8:30 pm

"In acting and speaking, men show who they are, reveal actively their unique personal identities and thus make their appearance in the human world, while their physical identities appear without any activity of their own in the unique shape of body and sound of the voice. This disclosure of 'who' in contradistinction to 'what' somebody is ... is implicit in everything somebody says and does." (Hannah Arendt)

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.” (Martha Graham)

Since ancient times and across cultures, dance has provided a powerful form of human expression. This talk examines the political power of dance from a global perspective inspired by—and drawing upon—the work of Hannah Arendt.

This talk by Dana Naomy Mills, a 2017 Hannah Arendt Fellow, explores different dimensions of dance as a form of intervention into a politics more commonly articulated in words. Dance is understood as a system of communication that allows its subjects to speak with their bodies and to create embodied spaces, drawing attention to the radically egalitarian nature of dance with its ability to transcend all boundaries of gender, race and sexual politics. Drawing on diverse examples such as the work of dance pioneers Martha Graham and Isadora Duncan, gumboots dancers in the gold mines of South Africa, Dabke dancers in Palestine and the One Billion Rising movement challenging gender violence through flash mobs, the talk will present a reading of dance as a form of performing equality as well as distinction.