I want to find dance’s “fundamental feature” [note]Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography (abbreviated CL). Translated from the French by Richard Howard. (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010 paperback edition), 9[/note] as Roland Barthes, in his 1980 Camera Lucida, did for photography. [note]Please see essay #1 of “Between the Dancer and the Dance” for what the French critic Roland Barthes has to do with anything. [/note] I’ll begin, like him, with the peculiar mechanism by which the idiom (photography for him, dance for me) transmutes its raw material into art. The machinery, if not the alchemy, of sign-making, as the French semiotician might have it.
Dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet. Photograph by Gérard Uféras