Choreographies of Irish Modernity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Although movement is often viewed as forming the ‘kinetic basis’ of the modern age, the analysis of movement practices such as dance is often neglected in theories of modernity. Dance theorists such as André Lepecki (2006) and Randy Martin (1998) have argued for an awareness of how the kinaesthetic politics of modernity perform a colonization of space and bodies in their constant drive toward movement and mobility. This chapter examines how an analysis of two dance works by Irish artists, one from the early twentieth century and one from the early twenty-first century, can contribute to these discussions of modernity and dance, and how the works might illuminate connections between dance and politics in Ireland in their alternative approaches to these modernist kinaesthetic politics. Taking a brief, contextualizing look at an early dance play by William Butler Yeats, the chapter then focuses on what echoes, or afterlives, can be found from this early modernist work in a piece by contemporary dance theatre choreographer Fearghus Ó’Conchúir. In both works we see the ability of dance to create an alternative space within the pervading discourses (or movements) of a sociopolitical and cultural landscape that allows the spectator – through a visceral connection with a dancer – to experience a different perspective on the ‘idea of a nation’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModernist Afterlives in Irish Literature and Culture
EditorsPaige Reynolds
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherAnthem Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781783085736
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2016
EventBook Launch - Boston College, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 11 Oct 201611 Oct 2016


OtherBook Launch


  • dance in Ireland
  • kinaesthetic politics of modernity
  • Yeats
  • dance and affect


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