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Talk – Talk – Talk

Lecture by Franz Anton Cramer / Solidarity and individualism: on the contemporary relationship between ‘popular’ and ‘artistic’ dance

Time and again, the social function of dance is debated. While anthropologists view dance as one of the ‘universals’, comparable to man’s ability to speak, in the 20th century, dance was reinvented in the name of art. The focus shifted from community building to individual, creative activity. But can this neat dividing line still be drawn? And is so-called folk dance really so different from artistic dance? One thing is certain: despite all their crises and widening social divides, the contemporary societies of the West continue to create spaces for dance as a popular practice. From Socialist folk dance culture to hip hop to the use of dance in social therapy and amateur art projects, a strong countermovement exists to the more or less elitist phenomenon of ‘artistic stage dance’. This lecture intends to discuss the interests behind such varied dance cultures by means of examples and the contribution they could – and can – make to strengthening social structures.

Franz Anton Cramer, dance theorist, writer, and long-term observer of developments in contemporary dance, lectures at colleges and artistic institutions in Germany and abroad.

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