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Review: 'The Philosophical Aesthetics of Dance: Identity, Performance, and Understanding'
Dance Research Journal
  • Aili W. Bresnahan, University of Dayton
Document Type
Book Review
Publication Date

Graham McFee is one of the few philosophers who can be credited with helping to pioneer and forge a path for dance as a fine art in the field of analytic aesthetics. His 1992 book, Understanding Dance, following Francis Sparshott’s 1988 book Off the Ground: First Steps to a Philosophical Consideration of the Dance, was a significant introductory step toward situating dance in a field that has traditionally focused primarily and nearly exclusively on painting, sculpture, literature, and (more recently) music.

In general dance has not been taken seriously as a legitimate art form by the philosophic academy; indeed, it was originally excluded from Hegel’s system of the fine arts (see Sparshott 1983). Analytic aesthetics has yet to fully recover from this historical exclusion.

The articles and books on dance in the field have been sporadic, often ad hoc, and dance has yet to attract enough scholars of analytic aesthetics to sustain a robust dialogue on what counts (or should count) as the key features of dance as art.

Document Version

The document available for download is the author’s accepted manuscript, provided in compliance with the publisher’s policy on self-archiving.

Some differences may exist between the manuscript and the published version; as such, researchers wishing to quote directly from this resource are advised to consult the version of record.

Permission documentation is on file.

Cambridge University Press
Place of Publication
New York, NY
Citation Information
Aili W. Bresnahan. "Review: 'The Philosophical Aesthetics of Dance: Identity, Performance, and Understanding'" Dance Research Journal Vol. 45 Iss. 2 (2013)
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