Dance and Music: The 21st Century Direction

Dance and Music: The 21st Century Direction.

Manjunan Gnanaratnam.



The Avant-Garde of any art form is spearheaded by its Artists, and then documented by its Scholars, Theorists & Historians. During the 20th Century, Dance [Concert Dance], with the Kinesthetic Body as its instrument, Deconstruction as its primary process for investigations, Movement Vocabulary as its language, and Choreography as its creative outlet, examined its inherent Multi-Disciplinary identity extensively resulting in the development of Modern Dance, followed by Post-Modern Dance, leading us into the 21st Century. Music/Sound, an integral component of this Multi-Disciplinary identity of Dance, negotiated these developments through both period’s into the latter part of the last century establishing a direction in Music that is now specific to Dance. However Scholars and Theorists on this are yet to emerge, leaving the discourse on the subject to those from both Music and Dance fields to collaborate on viewpoints when called upon, deferring to each other for conclusions. Hence, until Dance Music Theorists and Scholars emerge, those who don’t have to collaborate on the subject for analysis, my below diagram, incorporating Yvonne Rainer’s from 1980, reflects the extensive developments in this collaborative art form of Dance and Music that occurred during the 20th century, beyond the situational Micro Cycles of Limited Affect/Effect through the ubiquitous, conventional Dance and Music collaborations, to the extensive Macro Cycles of Complex Affect/Effect of the feedback loops and pathways of symbiotic artistic flow of influence, and of extensive Multi-Disciplinary explorations that occurred between some of the critical figures from both Music and Dance. This in turn influenced both art forms, including extending the creative capabilities of the Artists beyond the conventional practices of their Art, while establishing a specific, complex lineage and practice of Dance Music and pointing to where future directions of it will come from. The discourse on this specific subject doesn’t have to begin at point A, it can continue from point R..


 ©2019. Manjunan Gnanaratnam

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