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God and Grace of BodySacrament in Ordinary$
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David Brown

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199231829

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231829.001.0001

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The Dancer's Leap

The Dancer's Leap

(p.61) 2 The Dancer's Leap
God and Grace of Body

David Brown (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses how dance was once so central to worship. It argues that the complexity of movement that the dancer seeks to achieve, not least in lifts and leaps from the ground, hints at a world entered that is otherwise than our present flawed reality, and is thus symbolic of the possibility of a quite different form of joyful and ordered existence. The discussion proceeds in two stages. The first half of the chapter offers a largely historical examination of dance as it has functioned in various religiously sanctioned roles. The second part explores how, despite its avowedly ‘secular’ context, the religious dimension does often still emerge in ballet and modern dance, though almost invariably without any hint of worship.

Keywords:   dance, worship, Ancient Greece, Israel, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, ballet, religion

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