Rethinking Dance Theory Through Semiotics


  • Henrique Rochelle Université Paris



Dance theory, semiotics, dance as a language, communication, linguistics


Advancements on dance theory have often been linked to its association with other fields of inquiry. As one of the main interests of dance theory is the discussion of dance as a language, fields that are related to the study of languages present vast options for research. In this paper, linguistics is discussed to offer an understanding of the idea of language that allows for its consideration in the dance phenomenon, which is then taken further with the systematic approach of semiotics to its structures of representation. Through Peirce’s studies of how signs work, present themselves and articulate, it is possible to organise the different forms of access audiences have to the contents transmitted by dance, which, as it is demonstrated here, greatly prefer non-symbolic constructions, thus making the approach to the interpretation through the comparison to verbal languages harder and many times less fruitful then expected. Advancing dance theory through semiotics is an enterprise very little diffused at this point, but it is also one that has offered many good provocations such as the characterisation of the dance sign as an index through its corporal construction, the analysis of the multiple forms of presentation of the fundament in the dance sign and the understanding of the multiple forms of the communication of dance as a language.