From the Court of Louis XIV to the Hip-Hop Garage: Dance in French Culture
Taught in French, this course traces the practices, histories and theories of dance in France. It will introduce some key French literary and artistic moments and movements (classical theatre, romanticism, surrealism, modernism and various avant-gardes) through a reﬂection on dance and its centrality in French culture. Properly interdisciplinary, it will investigate the role of and approaches to dance through various artefacts and media, examining classical treatises and archives, Molière's comedy-ballets, Noverre’s Lettres sur la danse, Gautier's libretto for the romantic ballet Giselle, sculptures and drawings by Rodin and Brancusi, paintings by Degas, Matisse, Picabia, and Delaunay, modern and Cubist ballets by Cocteau and Diaghilev, philosophical texts on movement by Valéry, Badiou, and Nancy, ﬁlms by Denis and Wiseman, as well as videos of contemporary dance and hip-hop.
We will view the study of movement and its representations as a window into broader cultural processes and historical contexts, exploring issues such as the political origins of the ballet de cour, the relationships between dance, literature, and the visual arts, dance and performance, gender in dance, the cinematic treatments of dance, and the redeﬁnition of urban and social spaces through hip-hop.