The European Dance: The Emergence and Transformation of a Contemporary Dance Art World (1989-2013)

Friday, July 14, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 134 (University of Glasgow)
Gurur Ertem , Independent Researcher
The promises, failures and agonies of the EU as an economic and political project received much scholarly attention from the social sciences. However, the cultural dimension has not been adequately studied. By focusing on the field of transnational artistic networks in dance that are supported by the Culture Programs of the EU, I underscore a relatively successful dimension of the European endeavor. Given the current widespread disillusionment with the idea of Europe in the wake of ecological, economic, and humanitarian crises, could the artistic field be a source of recuperation?

This paper is a sociological study on the emergence and transformation of a contemporary dance art world as a transnational field of cultural production in Europe since 1989. I argue that this art world developed around the recasting of dance and choreography as a field of knowledge production. I contend that the aesthetic transformation became successful due to the confluence of wider political developments, in particular, the “cultural turn” of the European integration process after the end of the Cold War. As the EU acquired limited legal competence in the cultural realm with the Maastricht Treaty (1992), it developed a cultural policy that prioritized transnational cooperation, mobility, and exchange. To this end, it implemented a series of programs that promoted cross-border networking activities. I focus on the influence of the EU supported dance networks on the current formation of the art world. That is, I investigate the process through which contemporary dance made in Europe became European contemporary dance.