The essay explores Alva Noë's theory of choreography as a practice that recapitulates (and heightens our awareness of) quotidian forms of perception—perception understood as a set of organized behaviors aiming for “the right critical stance.” Noë argues (pace Heidegger) that the moment when we become aware of the organized, constructed nature of our behaviors is not a “breakdown” but rather a choreographic “display” of perception as a form of research. I begin by examining how his theory of dance and dance spectatorship developed through collaborations first with Lisa Nelson, then with William Forsythe. Next, while still approaching choreography as the “display” of perceptual practices, I move toward a conclusion that Noë allows but does not pursue. Studying a scene from Pina Bausch's Café Müller, I propose that choreography displays not our mastery of reality but our lack thereof. Perceptual habits give us a world, but one in which we are never quite “at home.” For me, the conceptual payoff of the aestheticization of movement (or choreography as display) is not simply that we become aware that perception is organized and rhetorically framed, but also that perceptual practices are impeded by the “critical stance” or rhetorical frame that orients them.

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