Tuesday, March 17, 2015
5:30 – 7pm, CHAT Lounge
Gladfelter Hall, 10th fl., Temple University 

Live-streaming of Anna’s talk at

Parking is available in a TU parking lot (hourly, reasonable) at Berks and 11th. Gladfelter Hall is the first high-rise building when entering TU’s main campus from Berks and 11th, two blocks from the Septa Regional Rail TU station.

The 2014/15 Dance Studies Colloquium continues Tuesday, March 17, 2015 with Anna Pakes on Philosophy and the Work of Conceptual Dance
About Philosophy and the Work of Conceptual Dance

“Conceptual dance” is a generic term used to designate a type of contemporary dance practice, emerging in the 1990s, that critiques theatrical representation, eschews conventional virtuosity and offers a reflexive, sometimes ironic, commentary on the conventions of dance practice. The term is contested, but continues in circulation despite the objections of some choreographers and theorists associated with the practices it names. Perhaps those objections stem partly from the conviction that challenging boundaries and categorisation is itself part of the work done by the choreography of artists such as Jérôme Bel, Xavier Le Roy, Tino Sehgal and Boris Charmatz.

In this talk, I also explore the implications of these choreographers’ practices for the dance work or choreography conceived as product, in the light of a wider project exploring the ontology of dance works. Conceptual choreography is often said to be ontologically challenging. But can the precise nature of that challenge be more clearly articulated and does it pertain specifically to the choreographic work object? How and to what effect do these artists cast doubt on the work’s status as a performable entity with a stable identity that could function as the focus of artistic appreciation?

In the effort to answer these questions, I also reflect on the relationship between choreography and philosophy, and particularly on what work an analytic philosophical treatment of conceptual dance might be able to do.


About Anna Pakes

Anna Pakes is Reader in Dance Studies at the University of Roehampton. Her teaching and research is focused on philosophy of dance, and she has published on the epistemology of artistic research, the mind-body problem and phenomenology of dance. Her forthcoming monograph explores, historically and from an analytic philosophical perspective, the nature of dances and choreographic works: what kinds of things they are, and what can be and what has been done with (and to) them.

About Dance Studies Colloquium

Dance Studies Colloquium is a dynamic interactive speaker series designed to facilitate a dialogue about emerging topics and issues related to dance. It brings together artists and scholars to explore how we assimilate ideas and events and our resulting actions within the field of dance. This free monthly event is held on Tuesdays from 5:30-7:00pm at the CHAT Lounge, Gladfelter Hall, 10th floor, Temple University (main campus).
All are welcome. Coffee, tea, and cookies will be served.
If you would like more information about the Dance Studies Colloquium, please contact Dr. Mark Franko at or Molly Shanahan at

Two Events Remaining in Dance Studies Colloquium 2015!


March 31st

Kate Elswit

University of Bristol, UK

Dancing Across History’s Borders: Thoughts on Exile and Otherness By Way of Kurt Jooss


April 14th

Julie Malnig

New York University, New York City

Race, Rock, and Revolution: Teenage Social Dance of the 1950s and Early 1960s