Tanz und WahnSinn / Dance and ChoreoMania


table of contents

Abstracts and additional visual and audiovisual material on this website:


Johannes Birringer
Is You Me? Dance and Choreomania


Is You me? Dance and Choreomania

This introductory essay raises some basic questions about the thematic focus of the book,
asking how “madness” can be (re)presented on the theatre stage or embodied in performance, and why bodies that appear to behave paradoxically or paranormally might be associated with dancing or performing at all, rather than with illness. If illness is recognized or diagnosed, it would not be considered an art form but a condition expressing itself, behaving and manifesting something in individuals or the social body, and thus in political and economic regimes or, more generally, “regimes of signs” (Deleuze), projected into the system of resonances. In the following, the essay examines such resonances of “madness” both in “social choreographies,” initially applying an aesthetic category to social phenomena like the ones that are historically analyzed in various chapters in the book on “choreomania” (such as the medieval “Tanzwuth,” Sufi dervish dancing, healing dance rituals and therapies, tarantism, spirit possession, Charcot’s hysterics, etc) and then reapplying political categories – derived from Foucault, Deleuze/Guattari and Esposito’s writings on biopolitics – to artistic practices and theories, focused initially around Artaud’s incantatory poetics of Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu and the “theatre of cruelty,” retracing the Artaudian BwO (body without organs) in various modernist and postmodernist 20th century articulations in dance and live art that tend to affect change on the compositional forces, not the form (or choreography). Touching lightly on Nietzsche’s dancing acrobat on the high wire, a philosophical figure that also influences some of the theoretical positions on transformational reason/unreason in the book, this argument then approches a biopolitics of improvisation and collaboration which locates a new sense of late modern “choreomania” (nor epidemic and not folkoric) in the post-ritual and post-choreographic resistance to dance, or un-dancing, that is exemplified in recent productions of Konzepttanz and digital dance. The introduction concludes with an evocation of Is You Me, a digital performance that reverses all determinations of subjectivity and the Artaudian struggle of the organless body against the organism, or against a god, master figure of organisms and organization


For radio features / radio interviews, go here

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Herausgeberin und Herausgeber / editors
Zu den Autorinnen und Autoren /authors
Bildnachweis / list of illustrations


(c) 2011 Johannes Birringer & Josephine Fenger, editors

Leipzig: Henschel Verlag, 2011.paperback,€ 24.90, ISBN-10: 3894877103

This book project is supported by

Gesellschaft für Tanzforschung (GTF)

For the publisher's announcement, click here