School of Music and Fine Art

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The Dance Teacher: A Gestural Index (2016)
[Performer, Chroma-green spray paint]

The piece is a collaboration between Steve Klee and Moira Goff. Goff is a curator and historical dance specialist. It was presented within Of the Sea (2016) a selected group show at No 1 Smithery, Kent. Selectors were: Adam Chodzko, Hannah Conroy, Kathleen Palmer, Victoria Pomery and Nicole Mollet.

The performance takes place in a retired Dockyard, a site of endless watery comings and goings, a breeding ground for itinerancy and subversive ideas. The performer or dance teacher rehearses two sequences of movements both drawn from the tradition of 18th Century Rhetorical gesture. In the first series modes of comportment are conveyed. Historically, the dance teacher has been considered a necessary but dangerous presence in polite society. If a young aristocrat could be taught the bearing of nobility, then, by implication, anyone might learn this trick.

The second set of movements codify passions: astonishment, distaste, forgiveness… The artificiality of these gestures suggests a strange exteriority, the body as ‘a kind of machine that manifests soul’. 

With these notes, then, we might say that The Dance Teacher poses questions about authenticity, embodiment, social structure and the possibility of human agency.

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Last Updated: 27/02/2017