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Insula invited

Talk: Spiritual History of Dance

week-end at la seine musicale


Talk: Spiritual History of Dance

1h without an interval
The author and actor David Wahl invites his audience into his cabinet of curiosities. Comfortably ensconced in a sofa, with dimmed lights, you will be transported by this outstanding stage performer through a spiritual crash course in the history of dance, with a special focus on “choreophobia”.
“I cannot pass over the fact the Christian Church, receiving and taking advantage of the gift of all the arts, made nothing whatsoever of the art of dance… ‘Dance is damned’, goes a pious popular song; ‘should you see dancing’, continues the singer, ‘remember St John the Baptist’s severed head on the bloody plate, and the hellish temptation will be powerless against your soul’”.
This extract from Heinrich Heine’s critique in Lutetia will be the starting point for our enquiry. Why was the Church so startlingly suspicious? Supposing that, instead of the often invoked causes of morality or prudery, the true reasons why dance has for so long been a spiritual exception are to be found elsewhere. After all, it has been an ever-present aspect of Western life in every era … So does this make the reasons strictly religious? Paradoxically, the most knowledgeable writers tell us that finest choreographies are to be found in paradise. As we shall see, rare are the mystics whose use of body language has failed to draw envying looks from the greatest performers of our time.
Is there not some forgotten key, a massive event, little-known facts lost to posterity, or legacies that never been fully digested, that would surely help us to penetrate the mysteries of this obscure paradox? Can we engage in the first ever exploration of a spiritual history of dance?
20 May 2017 - 18h00
La Seine Musicale, Salle tutti (10€)

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