Folk Jig (Carroll, pg. 585)

Folk jig can be traced back to the 16th century. It was concentrated mostly around Scotland, Northern England, and Ireland. Folk jig is a dance done out of tradition. Carroll might describe it as “reinforcing of social bonds within a culture” (583). Folk jig would be identified by Adam Smith as a “common dance (584).

In this video: Folk Jig, we see the elements of coupling, traditional music, and pronounced steps. This is reflective of 18th century Irish folk jigs. Folk jigs use traditional music to maintain a “certain measured, cadenced step” (584).




Judson Church (Carroll, pg.591)

This is an example of post modern dance performed at the Judson Church, similar to that which was performed in 1963. It has most of the key features of most post modern dance styles. There is no superfluity of motion, no deliberate expression of emotions and there is a very noticeable disconnect between the dancers movements and the music. The dance is meant to show the similarities between ordinary movement and that which was previously perceived as “dance”. Carroll points this out, and it can be clearly seen in the given example. Though the motions cannot be considered ordinary, they do not fit into any previously known category of dance. All these features combined make it an example of post modern dance.



goose-steps (Carroll, pp. 589-90)

The clip of the Nazi goose-step parade illustrates the formal military march long associated with fascist, tyrannical regimes. (Scheffler).

Carroll uses the goose-step to support his argument that Beardsley’s expression theory of dance is so broad as to encompass movements that are not dance movements, such as soldiers on parade. (Carroll, pp. 589-90). The goose-step certainly contains “a superfluidity of expression,” which arguably would place it within Beardsley’s expression theory of dance. (Carroll, p. 589). Yet does it possess more expansiveness than is necessary for its practical purposes, an essential element of Beardsley’s theory? (Carroll, p. 589)

Scheffler and Davies argue that the purpose of the aggressive and unnatural movements of the goose-step is to demonstrate loyalty, athleticism, discipline, arrogance, and to arouse fear in others. (Scheffler; Davies, p. 612). To Scheffler, the goose-step is an intentional visual example of the naked power of Nazi, North Korean or other totalitarian regimes. (Scheffler, citing George Orwell, “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius”). If this is the case, then the goose-step arguably does not possess more expansiveness than is necessary to carry out its purposes and, contrary to Carroll, would not fall within Beardsley’s expression theory of dance. (Carroll, p. 589-90).

Marching Orders: Goose-stepping, the dance craze of tyrants. Mark Scheffler. The Slate Gist.<>

Norman Davies, Europe: A History

George Orwell,”The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius”, Part I: England Your England, Section 2, paragraph 9, 941 [L.m./F.s.: 2015-09-24 / 0.16 KiB<;


“A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance” -Stéphane Mallarmé (Caroll, pg. 588)


See poem here


Above is an English translation of “Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira pas la hazard”–a poem by French Symbolist poet, Stéphane Mallarmé. Mallarmé was influenced by the work of Charles Baudelaire and helped catalyze artistic movements such as Dadaism, Surrealism. He eschewed linear narrative in favor of a formalist approach to poetry. Encylopedia Brittanica writes, “By 1868 Mallarmé had come to the conclusion that, although nothing lies beyond reality, within this nothingness lie the essences of perfect forms.” He believed that these abstract poetic forms would materialize from what we know as reality.

Noel Carroll invokes Mallarmé to emphasize a shift away from an Aristotelian theory of art as mimesis towards a traditional Kantian theory of beauty as propounded by Levinson. Carroll summarizes Levinson’s position by stating, “…something is truly dance only if it possesses perceptible choreographic form.” Mallarmé’s poem, “Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira pas la hazard,” embodies a dance-like quality through its idiosyncratic yet rhythmic arrangements of text. By focusing on molding the aesthetics of the words, lines, and stanzas he creates aural and physiological effects of pause, breath, and suspense. Mallarmé’s emphasis on visuality and action supersedes textually evident semantic legibility.

Despite choreographing or suggesting a certain embodied reading, Mallarmé’s poem is inherently rooted in a “free play” of the imagination. Carroll specifically writes: “Mallarmé’s attribution of salutary ineffability to the dance symbol recalls the Kantian conviction that the beautiful is not subsumable under a concept…” (588). Kant writes that beauty is found in aesthetic idea, or “a representation of the imagination that occasions much thinking, though without it being possible for any determinate thought'” (49, 314 in Ginsborg 33). By presenting known words in intentionally ambiguous and indecipherable arrangements, Mallarmé presents the conditions for “general conditions for the application of concepts to objects that are presented to our senses, yet without any particular concept being applied” (Ginsborg 21). The reader is left with the ability to comprehend the presence of the text through pre-existing conceptual frameworks, which the poem nonetheless evades through its creative evasion of rules governing form and meaning. As such, Mallarmé’s poem gives rise to an aesthetic quality that capitalizes on the imagination, making possible judgements of beauty that are based upon disinterested feeling rather than in “objective sensation” and cognitive judgement.


Hannah Ginsborg, “Kant’s Aesthetics and Teleology,” Stanford Encylcopedia of Philosophy

Roman pantomime (carroll 588)

pantomime masks

The picture above is a roman mask depicting a happy and a sad face. A mask that would have been typically seen in roman theater.( Presently symbolic of theater)The pantomime performances would be elaborate with no sound, accompanied by an orchestra, all for the purpose of getting the audience to feel mostly mythology or deity. This eloquently represents the description of expression theory. Its a visual on the description Carroll gave; It projects an expressive quality, aside from bodily movements. It evoked emotion which is at the core of the expression of dance.





Yvonne Rainer – Trio A (Carroll 588-589)

1978 Performance of Trio A

Trio A (The Mind is a Muscle, Part 1) was first performed by the dancer Yvonne Rainer (b. 1934) in 1966 though this recording is from 1978.

The piece is described by MoMA as “a sequence of unpredictable movements that unfold in a continuous motion, deliberately opposing familiar dance patterns of development and climax.”

Rainer’s work falls within Carroll’s description of expression theory. The piece rejects both formalism and mimetic norms of dance and embraces Carrol’s description of expressive dance  as “genuine expressions of emotion to the enactment of the emotional states of characters, but considers as dance any investment of movement with anthropomorphic qualities, whether or not this is motivated by a narrative context.” (Carroll 588)

The best insight into the themes and ideas of the work can be found in the words of the artist herself helpfully provided in description of the video.

“[Trio A] would be about a kind of pacing where a pose is never struck. No sooner had the body arrived at the desired position than it would go immediately into the next move, not through momentum but through a very prosaic going on. And there would be different moves-getting down on the floor, getting up. There would be this pedestrian dynamic that would suffuse and connect the whole thing. So the whole thing, though it would be composed of these fragments of movement unrelated both kinetically and positionally or shapewise, would look as though it were one long phrase. There would be no dramatic changes like leaps. There was a kind of folky step that had a rhythm to it and I worked a long time to get the syncopation out of it. In a way the opening da, da, da, da of the arms set the rhythm of the whole thing. There were exceptions to this rule, but this began to be the overall structure rhythmically and dynamically of this solo.”

-Yvonne Rainer, interview with Lyn Blumenthal, 1984, reprinted in Rainer, “A Woman Who . . . Essays, Interviews, Scripts” (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999), p. 64

Other Sources:

Neil Carroll (p 585)

Martha Graham’s “Clytemnestra” ballet is a prime example of dance functioning as an element of theatre. This clip shows that Martha’s technique was not imitated from any other style of dance that existed. “…contemporary dance must be a deviation, since it no longer seemed to have the efficacy- the efficacy arising from imitation-” (Carroll 585)It also shows us how theatrical dance can be. It does not have to revolve around religious ceremonies.

Jose Limon

Jose Limon is known as one of the pioneers of modern dance. He studied under Doris Humphrey and later went on to create the Limon Dance Company. In this clip, you are easily able to see lots of emotion running through the dancers, namely confusion, grief, and strife. The frantic music amplifies those emotions, as well as highlights the dramatic movements of the dancers. Limon’s technique and manifestation of dance fits squarely into the expressionist category of theories surrounding dance.

Dance theorists like Martin and Langer would undoubtedly describe Limon’s performances as dance. “Both see the substance of dance in expressive movement, which Martin calls ‘meta-kinesis’ and Langer locates in what she calls the realm of ‘virtual powers'” (Carroll p. 589). Theorists like Noverre, however, might not classify this performance as dance, since it does not directly imitate theatre or life. In the same way that Noverre might reject this form of expression as dance, the idea of expressionist dance rejects dance as a theatre art altogether.


Doris Humphrey – Water Study (Carroll, 589)

This is a piece called “Water Study” choreographed by Doris Humphrey in 1928. We see Humphreys “fall and recovery technique” as well as ensemble dancing, innovated by Humphreys, as a shift from the more solo oriented dances of the time.

Doris Humphrey was a proponent of the modern school of dance which emerged in the early 20th century, which was pushing against the rigidity and rules of ballet and other formal dances, (Carroll, 589) more focused on bodily movements and expressionism. Humphrey developed what is known as “fall and recovery”, a technique built upon her idea that all movement fell in the “arc between two deaths,” or the “range between motionless balance and falling imbalance incapable of recovery”, in other words the more dramatic the “fall” or “dip” the more “vigorous” the recovery. Carroll draws parallels between the modern school of dance and expression theory, this can be related to Humphrey’s fall and recovery technique and how body movements alone can be used as expression of emotion, independent of a narrative. (588)

Dance as an Element of Theatre in it (Carroll, pg.585-586)

The link to the video clip found below is from the ballet “Constance” choreographed by Julien Lestel with Cinthia Labaronne and Julien Lestel. Looking first at the female performer facial expression but more importantly her body movement seems to narrate a story of loss, haggardness, and melancholy. As an audience we can see that she is not a heavyset individual though based on her slow,dragging, and drawn out body gestures it would appear as if she weights a ton. This message is transferred to the audience on account of how she engages with the male performer. He lifts her and carries her as if he is carrying an elephant on his shoulder though what he actually bears is the weight of her heavy heart, her lack of ambition. Although he carries her, he still tries to encourage her to be strong. Jean-Georges Noverre argues that “‘a well-composed ballet is a living picture of the passions, manners, ceremonies, and customs of all nations of the globe…; like the art of painting, it exacts a perfection more difficult to acquire in that it is dependent on the faithful imitation of nature'” (Carroll, pg.584)). The female performance is symbolic of the natural inclinations of man and woman feeling lethargic at least once within their lifetime. The the female performer being as weary as she is becomes a rock of which is lifeless. Both the female and male performer imitates a stage within human life where sadness is experienced and during this time there is someone (the male performer) who supports the dependant(the female performer). 

Video Clip: