This makes it difficult to place dance into metaphysical categories designed with other forms of art in mind.Second, dance has salient bodily aspects that complicate the question of how and why it can be conceived as a fine art, and how mind and its connection with the body is involved in the making, performing, evaluating and appreciating of dances.While analytic philosophers of aesthetics might want to know what the “work” of dance as art is, for example, this may not be a question of relevance to the continental, pragmatic or process philosopher (and even less relevant to the dance studies scholar).
(For more on the idea of dance as texts see Franko 1993.) Even when there is a score, this score is not always used as an essential recipe for the performances but can instead just serve as the inspiration for a performance that is completely different (see Franko 1989).
In addition, standardized notation forms are controversial, and no one form is universally accepted (see Franko 2011a and Van Camp 1998).
One reason for this underrepresentation is identified by Francis Sparshott in “The Missing Art of Dance” (1983). His system of the arts included only painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, and music, prioritizing the first three for being able to symbolize and represent truth visually and the latter two for doing so aurally.
Here Sparshott explains that dance was not originally construed as a fine art under the 18-century system of the fine arts that culminated in G. Music only made it into the system as a kind of analog of poetry, so Hegel elevated the kind of music that had a sung and verbal aspect above “absolute” or instrumental music.
(See Pakes 2006 for one account of the “mind-body” problem in dance.) The dance philosopher is thus faced with these two tasks among others: 1) to show how dance is or is not properly conceived as a form of art that can be analyzed under the conceptual tools and resources developed for the traditional fine arts, 2) to discern in what precise ways traditional aesthetics might need to be changed or developed in order to accommodate dance.
One traditional way that dance philosophers have considered the question “what is dance?
Beardsley (1982) to posit that expressiveness might be a necessary if not sufficient condition for dance as art.
Beardsley finds that expressiveness, which he characterizes as present when a movement has more “fairly intense volitional qualities” such as “zest, vigor, fluency, expansivenss, or stateliness” than necessary to fulfil any practical functions of movement as “workings, sayings and strivings”, is what changes other forms of movement (what he calls “motions”) into dance movements (what he calls “movings”) (1982, 31, 33 and 35).
Dance is practiced in many forms and for many reasons, including social, educative, political and therapeutic reasons.