Ornamentality in Post-Minimalist Choreography: A Sketch for a Category

A friend recently returned from NYC brought this performance by Wally Cardona and Jennifer Lacey to my attention. Our discussion led us to think about the possiblity of thinking about ornamentality as trend in post-minimalist veins of contemporary choreography. Ornamentality would relate to a return to the beautiful, or at least, to trained awkwardness as a reference to the loss of beauty. This position relates to minimalism because minimalist dance traces the disappearance of visual forms, but in doing so paradoxically retains the visual. Installation and gallery-based works might be particularly predisposed to falling into this category, given that they cease to deal with temporal constraints and narrative framing.

Post-mininalist ornamentality? I didn’t see it, so this is all in theory.

Addendum: I’ve been reading a lot of Jean-Luc Nancy. He has a great quote about this issue— disappearance, transcendence, and the beautiful— in his essay, “The Vestige of Art.”

all of modernity that speaks of the invisible or the unrepresentable is always on the verge of renewing this motif… what makes for the beautiful, ever since Plato… for whom, in the access to beauty, it is a question of becoming oneself pure light and vision

At the limit…there remains nothing more than the Idea of art itself, like a pure gesture of presentation folded back on itself. But this residue still functions as Idea, and even as pure Idea of pure sense, or like an ideal visibility wihtou any other content than light itself (89-90)

(Hmm… I think this line of criticism may apply to my banner image from Deborah Hay…)


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