International Symposium
Dance(s) and Ritual(s)

Can dance be perceived as a ritual? How are ritualised actions created in dance practices? What are their qualities, or singularities? What effects do they produce? In what way can referring to a rite enlighten, modify or displace dance practices?

8 > 11.04.2021

This international symposium aims to explore the different way rituals examine the processes of creation, transmission, staging and the execution of dances, whether they are qualified as being contemporary, urban, street, social, ballroom, ceremonial or otherwise. Over and above the similarities or differences that can be identified between ritual and danced actions, if the social, historical and cultural conditions that presided over their production are taken into account, questions arise about what concretely the rituals “are” and “do” once they have been are identified and created by choreographers, teachers, as well as both professional and amateur dancers. Where, when and who does dance transform? How does it become a “power to act”?

At the heart of many anthropological, theological and philosophical debates, the notions of ritual and rite still today refer implicitly to a set of prescribed and repeated actions, which are recognised and acknowledged by a community of people. When perceived either through its symbolic dimensions and functions, or else via the context of its actions or interactions, ritual and its identification remain problematic. The objective of this symposium is not to discuss such theoretical issues nor to deal with the ritual contexts in which dance appears: the point is rather to grasp how and why certain ways of producing and displaying dance are associated with rites, by those who practise and/or watch them.

The symposium intends to examine the points of dialogue and friction between a variety of perspectives coming both from the artistic and scientific worlds, while remaining focused on dance practices. At a time when our relationships with the world are being profoundly put into question, and our gestures are tending to be reinvented, this event will also be an opportunity to join up around a theme that calls for thinking and moving together. It is an invitation to its participants to contribute in a variety of ways, while adopting formats of different lengths, which may potentially be performative.