Why We Dance

A Philosophy of Bodily Becoming

Kimerer L. LaMothe

Columbia University Press

Why We Dance

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Pub Date: April 2015

ISBN: 9780231171052

304 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£25.00

Pub Date: April 2015

ISBN: 9780231171045

304 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£75.00

Pub Date: April 2015

ISBN: 9780231538886

304 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£25.00

Why We Dance

A Philosophy of Bodily Becoming

Kimerer L. LaMothe

Columbia University Press

Within intellectual paradigms that privilege mind over matter, dance has long appeared as a marginal, derivative, or primitive art. Drawing support from theorists and artists who embrace matter as dynamic and agential, this book offers a visionary definition of dance that illuminates its constitutive work in the ongoing evolution of human persons.

Why We Dance introduces a philosophy of bodily becoming that posits bodily movement as the source and telos of human life. Within this philosophy, dance appears as an activity that humans evolved to do as the enabling condition of their best bodily becoming. Weaving theoretical reflection with accounts of lived experience, this book positions dance as a catalyst in the development of human consciousness, compassion, ritual proclivity, and ecological adaptability. Aligning with trends in new materialism, affect theory, and feminist philosophy, as well as advances in dance and religious studies, this work reveals the vital role dance can play in reversing the trajectory of ecological self-destruction along which human civilization is racing.

A brilliant, pioneering work. Readers join a rich, deeply informed, erudite conversation and are rewarded with LaMothe's original insights and vision of the purpose and promise of dance to transform individuals, communities, and the world we create together.

Miranda Shaw, author of Buddhist Goddesses of India

A rare and welcome book. LaMothe offers a view of the world from one who has woven together three experiential bodies of knowledge crucial to gaining insight into the terrible fractures eroding human life. A dancer and a scholar of dance, she is also a mother and a farmer. Her writing has the feel of the kinds of wisdom cultivated in older cultures, through rituals rooted in the ancient patterns of the cosmos. She brings her considerable experience of moving to bear on the basic questions that engage us all: mattering, meaning, connecting, healing, loving, and caring for the earth.

Don Hanlon Johnson, author of Body, Spirit, and Democracy

LaMothe gracefully reminds us that every part of our life is in motion and that when we dance we are healed, renewed, and made whole by the natural movement of our moving nature. This book brings an extraordinary wake-up call, an energized jolt reminding us that all professions and practices need to give birth to 'movement-oriented ways of knowing.' Why We Dance holds a moving answer that will touch the heart and intellect of all.

Bradford Keeney and Hillary Keeney, coeditors of Way of the Bushman: Spiritual Teachings and Practices of the Kalahari Ju/'hoansi

LaMothe's book breaks new ground.... Philosophers interested in writing about dance may find this book as a source of thoughtful provocation.

Edyta J. Kuzian, Metapsychology

Highly recommended.

Journal of Dance Movement and Spiritualities
Acknowledgments
Why Dance?
1. To Dance Is to Matter
2. To Dance Is to Evolve
3. To Dance Is to Know
4. To Dance Is to Be Born
5. To Dance Is to Connect
6. To Dance Is to Heal
7. To Dance Is to Love
Earth Within
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Web Features:

About the Author

Kimerer L. LaMothe is a dancer, philosopher, and scholar of religion who lives in upstate New York. She is the award-winning author of five books, including Nietzsche's Dancers and Between Dancing and Writing: The Practice of Religious Studies.