Dance has been the object of analysis in the light of various perspectives, but there are not many that emphasize the body and even less its character as a bodily practice. Body Education understands that «the body is constructed in symbolic practices, from its inclusion in the symbolic order through language» (Crisorio and Escudero 2012: 1), which assumes, firstly, that the body is not natural or essential, but historical; on that history we must inquire if we want to make an analysis of the body of dance. On the other hand, proposing dance as a content of Body Education forces us to rethink not only the category of body, but also that of technique, which was always interpreted in the light of its instrumental dimension, essentializing that perspective and obstructing the possibility of thinking technique as a mode of action oriented to the creation of new forms.
The word balé comes from the Italian word balleto (to dance), which in turn comes from the Latin ballare (to dance) related to the Greek ballizein (to dance) and ballein (to throw, to throw with force). The balé is a form of dance, a specific order of dance. Dance, understood as «a rhythmic succession of body movements whose understanding as a dance sequence depends on the given social context» (Henckmann and Lotter 1998: 68), is a component of balé, but does not exhaust it. What is called ballet is a specific form of dance, linked to amusement and contemplation, and although we can find in historical or modern ballets functions of symbolic legitimization regarding the state of things in the field of art or in the social space, those are not explicit functions, but are developed based on the logic of practice, of the ways of doing and seeing in the midst of which ballet develops as a bodily and artistic practice.
In this sense, it is appropriate to say that ballet differs from:
(a) ritual dances, which are performed in the knowledge that they fulfill a meaningful function for the community and in which dance is summoned to succeed in the course of expected events.
b) the festive dances of religious type, that are executed in service of the belief in a divinity and also expecting a function, of forgiveness or salvation.
c) the pagan or carnival dances that have for function or social sense to put the common man in contact with the universe and, through this one, with another temporality; and
d) ballroom dances, whether choral or couples’ dances. On this last point it is worth reinforcing the idea that allows us to maintain that, although balé recognizes in ballroom dances its direct antecedent, to the extent that it becomes institutionalized as an art form, it will be substantially differentiated from them.
The body is made, and dance is a doing. The making of man, when we articulate it to the construction of meaning (and not only to the reproduction and satisfaction of needs) and to its intelligibility from a form, is the result of a techné. The displacement, at the level of the body, from the instrument to the object distances us from technique in its instrumental and anthropological sense, but it does not distance us from techné in the Greek sense, as a poetic statute of the making of man on earth.
I invite everyone to read Matias’ post with the theme of the day
Finally, I encourage everyone to reflect on the concept of the day. No one else but us can re-signify our own being