Articulating the power of dance

Barbara Ridley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Making some minor changes to the syllabus of a peripheral GCE subject – Advanced Level (A-level) Dance – would hardly seem to be of much importance to anyone except dance students and their teachers. But the loss of dance notation is not as unimportant as it might appear: there are implications for the status of dance in the curriculum, for its ability to attract a range of students and for the development of the subject itself. Whilst being a popular social activity, in UK schools dance is constructed as a physical subject with an aesthetic gloss, languishing at the bottom of the academic hierarchy. Dance as a discipline is marginalised in academic discourse as an ephemeral, performance-focused subject, its power articulated through the body. Yet dance is more than just performance: to dismiss it as purely bodies in action is to ignore not only the language of its own structural conventions but also the language in which it might be recorded. Using the notion of docile bodies, the author considers the centrality of the body as instrument in defining the power of dance and how Foucault's mechanisms of power and knowledge are exemplified in current conceptions of dance in education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-344
Number of pages12
JournalPower and Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009

Cite this