Politics and Dance: Body and Identity

Today’s excerpt of the David Dorfman residency comes from a round-table discussion comprised of Dorfman himself, a Dance professor, a Political Science professor and a Women’s Studies professor.  Topic?  Choreographies of Politics

The discussion began with references to the 3/5 compromise and that ultimately 1 body = 1 body.  This led into many political threads, including the presence and performance of identity, in life, and in dance.  Even though I do not consider myself to be consistently “politically aware,” the panel discussion was captivating.  I was impressed by the number of topics that are being addressed across a variety of disciplines.  Let’s take a quick look at some in which I find great importance:

identity, gender, bodies

Our identities are comprised by how we are defined.  Barbara, from women’s studies, shares this truth about wearing gender:  “it’s nothing until we put it on a body.”  Identity changes throughout our lives, months and even days.  One moment I am defined as a woman, the next a student, another a dancer, daughter, sister, girlfriend.  As David Dorfman expressed, when sitting in the audience I was performing being an audience member.

“We perform every second of our life.” – Dorfman

How are each of these roles performed?  Do we fill the expectations?  Or do we be who we are, and allow our actions to develop the identity?  Let’s be honest, I’d love to say that I am constantly just being myself, but I find that my self is constantly changing depending on the environment.  I find MY place in various situations and locations.

“The body is not sanctuary of truth, authenticity or uniqueness.  It is deeply subjugated to culture, politics and history.”  – Jerome Bel

How can we be ourselves after reading this?  Try your best.  And just BE YOU.  Just because you’re changing in response to your surroundings does not mean that you are fitting the mold.


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