Tanz und WahnSinn / Dance and ChoreoMania


table of contents

Abstracts and additional visual and audiovisual material on this website:

IV. Performance and Choreomania

Sidsel Pape
Animal Magnetism – The Dance of Hysteria, the Hysteria of Dance


Sidsel Pape

Animal Magnetism – A dance performance series by Henriette Pedersen

In Animal Magnetism the choreographer Henriette Pedersen tackles various displays of hysteria from the 19th Century to today. Whilst the connection and intersection between hysteric/histrionic and dance/performance are widely known, it is not always clear whether hysterics become dancers or dancers go hysterical. When Pedersen choreographs and stages hysteria, it is to demonstrate the obscene, burlesque, grotesque and vulgar details that especially female dancers and their choreographers don’t normally allow on stage, unless they want to be considered hysterical. One of the most important perspectives on hysteria to the Animal Magnetism trilogy is the performative aspect, the so-called chameleon disease characterized by the sufferers simulating other illnesses. Animal Magnetism 1 is inspired by the first patients diagnosed with hysteria at the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, and their symptoms. Jean Martin Charcot’s taxonomy of hysteria has been like a script for Animal Magnetism 1 that came to be a foundation for the rest of the performance trilogy. In Animal Magnetism 2 Pedersen and her dancers physically explored the psyche of penis envy and put it into an American post war frame. Animal Magnetism 3 focuses on the more hidden male hysteria.



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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