The Aging Body in Dance : A cross-cultural perspective book cover
1st Edition

The Aging Body in Dance
A cross-cultural perspective

ISBN 9781138200067
Published January 24, 2017 by Routledge
194 Pages

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Book Description

What does it mean to be able to move?

The Aging Body in Dance brings together leading scholars and artists from a range of backgrounds to investigate cultural ideas of movement and beauty, expressiveness and agility.

Contributors focus on Euro-American and Japanese attitudes towards aging and performance, including studies of choreographers, dancers and directors from Yvonne Rainer, Martha Graham, Anna Halprin and Roemeo Castellucci to Kazuo Ohno and Kikuo Tomoeda. They draw a fascinating comparison between youth-oriented Western cultures and dance cultures like Japan’s, where aging performers are celebrated as part of the country’s living heritage.

The first cross-cultural study of its kind, The Aging Body in Dance offers a vital resource for scholars and practitioners interested in global dance cultures and their differing responses to the world's aging population.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Gabriele Brandstetter and Nanako Nakajima

Overview of the Aging Body in Dance, Nanako Nakajima

Section I: The Aging Body in the late 20th century: American Postmodern Dance, German Dance, and Japanese Dance

Yvonne Rainer, The Aching Body in Dance

Ramsay Burt, Yvonne Rainer’s Convalescent Dance: On valuing ordinary, everyday, and unidealised bodily states in the context of the aging body in dance

Johannes Odenthal, Der Tanz ist eine Metapher des Lebens (Dance is a Metaphor of Life)

Tamotsu Watanabe, Flowers Blooming in the Time of Aging


Section II: Alternative Dancability: Dis/Ability and Euro-American Performance

Ann Cooper Albright, The Perverse Satisfaction of Gravity

Jess Curtis, Dancing the Non/Fictional Body

Kaite O'Reilly, SILENT RHYTHM: A Reflection on the aging, changing body, and sensory impairment as a source of creativity and inspiration

Susanne Foellmer, Bodies' Borderlands: Right in the Middle. Dis/Abilities on Stage


Section III: Aging and Body Politics in Contemporary Dance

Petra Kuppers, Somatic Politics: Community Dance and Aging Dance

Kikuko Toyama, Old, weak, and invalid: dance in inaction

Janice Ross, Dance and Aging: Anna Halprin Dancing Eros at the End of Life


Section IV: Perspectives of Interweaving

Mark Franko, Why are Hands the Last Resort of the Aging Body in Dance? Notes on the Modernist Gesture and the Sublime

Nanako Nakajima, Yoshito Ohno’s Figures of Life

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Gabriele Brandstetter is Professor of Theater and Dance Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. Her research focus is on: History and aesthetics of dance from the 18th century until today, theatre and dance of the avant-garde; contemporary theatre and dance, performance, theatricality and gender differences; concepts of body, movement and image. Winner of Germany's most prestigious research funding prize, Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz-Prize 2004. Since 2008 she has been co-director of the International Centre "Interweaving performance cultures."


Nanako Nakajima is a dance researcher, dance dramaturg, traditional Japanese dance teacher Kannae Fujima, a Jacobs Pillow Dance festival 2006 Research Fellow, visiting scholar at Tisch School NYU 06. She is currently a fellow of International Research Center »Interweaving Performance Cultures«, Freie Universitaet Berlin and lecturer at Aichi University, Japan. She curated and organized international dance symposia entitled "The Aging Body in Dance" in Berlin (2012) and in Tokyo (2014), and gave lectures on aging and dance at various venues including Dance Congress 2013.


Make(s) important contributions to age as it pertains to dance.
Megan V. Nicely, The Drama Review, Volume 62, Number 3, Fall 2018