Ever wonder why humans dance?
In Why We Dance, I argue that dance is a vital art — vital not just for our physical selves, but for our emotional, intellectual, and spiritual selves. For our humanity.
In making this argument, I draw on the work of researchers from across disciplines who are discovering the fundamental role that bodily movement plays in the process of becoming human. Along the way, I articulate a movement-based philosophy of bodily becoming that retells the story of what it means to be human from the perspective of dance.
Why We Dance was the inspiration for a new film by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation — also called WHY WE DANCE — directed by Nathalie Bibeau. For more information about the film, please visit: WHY WE DANCE. Also check out my blog post about the project.
A History of Theory and Method in the Study of Religion and Dance: Rhythms of Bodily Becoming. Brill Research Perspectives. October 2018.
Why We Dance: A Philosophy of Bodily Becoming. Columbia University Press, April 7, 2015.
Family Planting: A farm-fed philosophy of human relations. UK: Changemakers, O Books, June 2011.
What a Body Knows: Finding Wisdom in Desire. UK: Changemakers, O Books, April 2009.
Nietzsche’s Dancers: Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, and the Revaluation of Christian Values. Palgrave MacMillan, February 2006. Paperback, 2011.
Between Dancing and Writing: The Practice of Religious Studies. Fordham University Press, November 2004.
Journal of Dance, Movement, and Spiritualities, Special Issue: Dancing on Earth, co-editors, Kimerer LaMothe, Yvonne Daniel, Sally Hess, DMAS 4.2, 2017.
“Dancing Immanence: A Philosophy of Bodily Becoming,” In Immanent Religiosities, New Materialisms, and Planetary Thinking. Edited by Karen Bray, Heather Eaton, and Whitney Bauman. New York: Fordham University Press, forthcoming 2022.
“Does Your God Dance? The Role of Rhythmic Bodily Movement in Friedrich Nietzsche’s Revaluation of Values,” in Dance as a Third Space. Interreligious, Intercultural, and Interdisciplinary Debates on Dance and Religion(s), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, December 2021.
“Writing Why We Dance: The Predicaments, Pitfalls, and Promises of Writing about Dance and Spirituality,” in Spiritual HerStories: Call of the Soul in Dance Research, ed. Amanda Williamson. Intellect, 2020.
“As the Earth Dances: A Philosophy of Bodily Becoming,” in Back to the Dance Itself: Phenomenologies of the Body in Performance, ed. Sondra Fraleigh. University of Illinois Press, Fall 2018, pp. 123-140.
“Dancing on Earth: The Healing Dance of Kalahari Bushmen and the Native American Ghost Dance Religion,” in Dance and the Quality of Life, ed. Karen Bond. Springer, 2019, pp. 117-134.
“Phenomenology,” in Religion: Embodied Religion. Ed. Kent L. Brintnall. Part of the Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Religion series. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2016.
“Becoming a Bodily Self,” in Movement Matters: New Materialism and Religious Experience, eds. Joerg Rieger and Ed Waggoner, Palgrave MacMillan, 2015.
“Can They Dance? Towards a philosophy of bodily becoming,” Dance, Somatics, and Spiritualities: Contemporary Sacred Narratives. Eds. Amanda Williamson, Glenna Batson, and Sarah Whatley, Intellect Press, 2015, pp. 131-150.
“I am the Dance: Towards an Earthed Christianity,” in Theology, Aesthetics, and Culture: Conversations with the Work of David Brown. Eds. Robert MacSwain and Tracey Worley. Oxford University Press, 2012, 131-44.
“Expressing Life: Dancing towards a Feminist Philosophy of Religion,” in The Subjective Eye: Essays on Art, Religion and Gender in Honor of Margaret Miles. Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2006.
“Dance, Religion, and the Legacy of European Colonialism.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion. Oxford University Press, 2014—. Article published May 26, 2021. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199340378.013.776., 12,000 words.
“Ruth St. Denis,” “Ted Shawn,” Leonide Massine,” “Jose Limon,” and “Kurt Joos,” in New Catholic Encyclopedia, Supplement 2011, Vol. 2.
“Play,” in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Postmodernism: Disciplines, Terms and Figures. Eds. Victor E. Taylor and Charles E. Winquist, London: Routledge, 2001.
“For Nietzsche, life’s ultimate question was: Does it dance?” AEON, March 2020.
Dancing the Possible: An Extended Review of Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers in The Faith Project/ The Door,” Journal of Dance, Movement, and Spiritualities, Volume 5, Number 2, 1 September 2018, pp. 165-181(17).
“Let’s Keep Dancing,” in The Immanent Frame, February 15, 2018.
“Enlivening Spirits: Shaker Dance Ritual as Theopraxis” Théologiques 25/1, 2017, pp. 87-108.
“Introduction” and “When Arguments Are Not Enough: An Aesthetic Intervention” in Journal of Dance, Movement, and Spiritualities, Special Issue: Dancing on Earth, co-editors, Kimerer LaMothe, Yvonne Daniel, Sally Hess, DMAS 4.2, 2017.
“Dance: The Art of Affirmation,” Nietzsche Circle Journal, Spring 2017.
“Transformation: An ecokinetic approach to the study of ritual dance,” in Dance, Movement, and Spiritualities, 1:1, January 2014, pp. 57-72.
“What Bodies Know About Religion and the Study of It,” in Journal of the American Academy of Religion. September 2008, Vol. 76, No. 3, 573-601.
“Why Dance?: Towards a Theory of Religion as Practice and Performance.” Method and Theory in the Study of Religion. 17(2): 101-133.
“A God Dances Through Me: Isadora Duncan on Friedrich Nietzsche’s Revaluation of Values,” The Journal of Religion. April 2005, 241-266. WINNER 2006 Lippincott Award, Society of Dance History Scholars.
“Reason, Religion, and Sexual Difference: Resources for a Feminist Philosophy of Religion in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit,” Hypatia: Journal of Feminist Philosophy. Vol. 20, No. 1, Winter 2005, 120-149.
“Giving Birth to a Dancing Star: Reading Nietzsche’s Maternal Rhetoric via Isadora Duncan’s Dance,” Soundings 86.3-4. Fall/Winter 2003, 501-23.
“Sacred Dance: A Glimpse Around the World,” Dance Magazine. December 2001.
“Why Dance Religion? The Case of Martha Graham,” Radcliffe Quarterly. Winter 2001.
“Passionate Madonna: The Christian Turn of American Dancer Ruth St. Denis,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 66/4. Winter 1998, 747-769.
“What a Body Knows,” over 100 posts on topics related to dance, movement, health, farming, family, philosophy, religion, and recent scientific research at Psychology Today, September 2009 to March 2020.