What are Eric Mullis’s contributions to a pragmatist philosophy of dance? First, the work brings attention to aspects of dance in regional and religious contexts and to a selection of religious dance practices (Pentecostal and Quaker) not typically addressed in the literature of dance philosophy, thus adding to the current scope of dance studies. This book’s main strength with respect to pragmatist philosophies is its efforts to apply existing theories of pragmatism (James and Dewey, with commentary on Shusterman’s neopragmatist somaesthetics) to aspects of dance in a particular regional setting. This task is accomplished with three aspects of the research: ecological study of Pentecostal dance, pragmatism in a selection of its manifestations with connections to philosophies of dance, and performance. In the final chapter, the scope is broadened with summary references to alternative theories of dance philosophy and their interdisciplinary relations to dance studies using pragmatist philosophies. The remainder of this essay examines selection of past and current studies that inform the state of dance philosophy with the aim of gathering a broader perspective on the state of dance philosophy. While there is no established long-term tradition of dance philosophy, a generation of twentieth-century scholars—Cohen, Arnheim, Sparshott, Goodman, Van Camp, Banes, Carroll, McFee, Foster, and Fraleigh, among others—has advanced recent philosophical discussion of dance. Joining these are contemporary writers on philosophy of dance, such as Anna Pakes.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.