Remembering, forgetting and contemporary dance’s re-imaginings of history

Perazzo Domm, Daniela (2018) Remembering, forgetting and contemporary dance’s re-imaginings of history. In: Dance in the Age of Forgetfulness; 18-20 Apr 2018, Egham, U.K.. (Unpublished)


How can dance performance upset dominant historical discourses, actualise different versions of its artistic and political past and trouble definitions of both reproducibility and ephemerality? Inspired by Daniel Heller-Roazen’s reflections on forms of linguistic forgetfulness, this paper draws attention to dance poetics that problematise the complex interplay of remembering and forgetting through which dance history is constructed. In Echolalias: On the Forgetting of Language, Heller-Roazen offers fascinating accounts of how a tongue may be acquired or lost, of how an idiom may emerge or vanish. This paper pursues this line of thinking, giving consideration to the (political) importance of what is forgotten and to the (im)possibility of differentiating memory and oblivion. It reflects on how all language (and dance) is ‘a simultaneously single yet multiple idiom in which writing and translating, “compos[ing]” and “compos[ing] after”, production and reproduction, cannot be told apart’ (Heller-Roazen, 2005: 177). With specific reference to choreographic works by Jonathan Burrows, the paper investigates the role of dance performance as a site of disappearance/reappearance and engages with the political significance of affective re-framings and re-imaginings of history. It argues that Burrows’ reuse of the past is characterised by productive incompleteness, and interrogates the possibilities that this modality opens up.

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