Body Impossible: Desmond Richardson and the Politics of Virtuosity (Oxford Studies in Dance Theory) (Paperback)

Body Impossible: Desmond Richardson and the Politics of Virtuosity (Oxford Studies in Dance Theory) By Ariel Osterweis Cover Image

Body Impossible: Desmond Richardson and the Politics of Virtuosity (Oxford Studies in Dance Theory) (Paperback)

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Body Impossible theorizes the concept of virtuosity in contemporary dance and performance through a study of the career of dancer Desmond Richardson. A virtuoso for the ages, Richardson is renowned for delivering commanding performances over decades in contexts ranging from the stages of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ballett Frankfurt to featured appearances with Michael Jackson and Prince, along with his work as co-founder of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, inaugurating a virtuosic queer black aesthetic with choreographer Dwight Rhoden.

Focusing on Richardson's creative insistence on improvisatory fun and excellence throughout the decades approaching the millennium (shaped by Reaganism, the Culture Wars, the AIDS epidemic, the New Jim Crow, and MTV), this book brings dance into conversation with paradigms of blackness, queerness, masculinity, and class in order to generate a socioculturally attentive understanding of virtuosity.

Virtuosity obscures the border between popular and concert performance, and Richardson's versatility epitomizes the demands on the contemporary virtuosic dance artist. Author Ariel Osterweis suggests that discourses of virtuosity are linked to connotations of excess, and that an examination of the formal and socio-cultural aspects of virtuosic performance reveals under-recognized heterogeneity in which we detect "vernacular" influences on "high art." In doing so, Body Impossible accounts for the constitutive relationship between disciplined perceptions of virtuosity's excess and the disciplining of the racialized body in national and transnational contexts.
Ariel Osterweis holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and is on faculty at the California Institute of the Arts. Research interests include embodied performance with a focus on race, gender, and sexuality. Osterweis has worked professionally as a dancer and performer with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Mia Michaels R.A.W., Heidi Latsky Dance, and Julie Tolentino, and as a dramaturg for John Jasperse and Narcissister.
Product Details ISBN: 9780190645823
ISBN-10: 0190645822
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 248
Language: English
Series: Oxford Studies in Dance Theory