Choreographic ontologies: pandemics and freedom to move.

In this freeform meditation on movement, crowds, circulation and contagion (as well as lockdown), Kélina Gotman thinks about the choreographic politics of stillness and isolation; as well as the fear of disorderly crowds that have animated choreophobic discourse over the centuries.
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From epidemiological literature on dancing ‘plagues’ to legal and psychiatric analyses of movement ‘disorders’, moving bodies have served as figures for condemnation and contestation at once. During this age of ‘lockdown’, a practice of moving within confinement has emerged, at once intensifying longstanding fears of enclosure and the choreopolitics of torture that have informed the carceral system; and opening up avenues for thinking what it may mean to rest ‘in place’. While ‘free movement’ animates discourse on global circulation dependent on bio- and necro-economies of migrant labour, another sort of right emerges; a right to refuge, and so too a right to another sort of security and care. In this view, public health and the ‘public body’ demand the safety and quiet of shelter; this is not a ‘pause’, then, but recess to rethink ways we move.

Dr. Kelina Gotman's work is interdisciplinary, drawing from the medical humanities, history, philosophy, and cultural theory. She completed a book on dance manias in 19th century medical literature titled "Choreomania: Dance and Disorder", in which she describes the emergence of the "choreomania” (“dance mania”) diagnosis in medical and anthropological circles in Europe and the colonial world