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International seminar

Dance, Esotericism and the Avant-garde

In face-to-face and online mode


Friday 5 and Saturday 6 Nov. 2021 | MPM Auditorium

The International Seminar Dance, Esotericism and the Avant-garde will be a plural forum where attendees will be sharing new research on the relationships between dance, the historical avant-garde art movements, and the esoteric movements. Registration to attend the seminar, both face-to-face and online, is free and can be found here. Attendance is compulsory for students who wish to obtain a certificate.

Over the last few years, studies on art history have expanded their discourse to include new approaches that demonstrate the importance of esoteric movements and modern “New-age spirituality” in artistic creation. In line with this idea, parallels have been highlighted between the hermetic nature of the esoteric and the avant-garde movements. Connections have been brought to light between artists and esoteric circles or trends, and growing importance has been given to the role that these beliefs, practices and knowledge have played in some creative artists’ notion of art.

This seminar at Museo Picasso Málaga will provide a forum where a number of questions will be considered:
What was dance’s place in the avant-garde movements? 
Could the role of dance be reassessed in this context, in relation to esoteric movements? 
What would the consequences of this dimension be in terms of considering the role of women in the artistic and cultural domain? 
To what extent did dance, esotericism and the avant-garde express themselves as spaces for syncretic, dynamic exchange?
Were esoteric circuits places where shadows of hegemonic discourse were manifested? 
Would a study of the occult serve to reveal a more inclusive historiography?

PROGRAMME

FRIDAY 5th NOVEMBER.
9:30 Reception and presentation of the International Seminar Dance, Esotericism and the Avant-garde.
 
SESSION 1 – ESOTERICISM, DANCE AND ABSTRACTION.
Moderator: José Lebrero Stals. Museo Picasso Málaga.
 
10:00 – Carole M. Cusack. Studies in Religion, University of Sydney. 
Esoteric Dance and Spiritual Transformation: The Gurdjieff Movements.
 
10:45 – Alberto Luque. Universidad de Lérida. 
Esotericism and Abstract Art: Cultural contradictions of secularization.
 
11:30 – Break.
 
12:00 – Adrien Sina. Art historian. Curator of Feminine Futures.
Valentine de Saint-Point + Auguste Rodin: Esoteric origins of abstraction in dance.
 
12:45 – Round table. 
 
SESSION 2 – MYSTICISM AND RITUAL, BETWEEN EAST AND WEST.
Moderator: Idoia Murga Castro. Instituto de Historia, CSIC, Madrid.
 
15:30 – Tiziana Leucci. Centre d'études de l'Inde et de l'Asie du Sud, EHESS-CNRS, Paris.
"Connected History” of Dance: Esotericism, Occultism, Spiritualism & Theosophy and the Choreographic Avant-Garde in Europe, America, Russia and India.
 
16:15 – Irene López Arnaiz. Instituto de Historia, CSIC, Madrid.
Esotericism and Surrealism in feminine. India-Paris: dance encounters through the Theosophical Society.
 
17:00 – Break.
 
17:30 – Per Faxneld. Södertörn University, Stockholm.
The esoteric dimensions of Anthroposophical Eurythmy and the secrets of Javanese temple dances in the work of Tyra Kleen.
 
18:15 – Eva Fernández del Campo. Universidad Complutense de Madrid. 
Women's art: mysticism, anarchy and magic at the dawn of the 20th century.
 
19:00 – Round table.
 
SATURDAY 6th NOVEMBER
SESSION 3 – NATURE, BODIES, SPELLS AND WITCHES.
Moderator: Raquel López Fernández. Instituto de Historia, CSIC, Madrid.
 
10:00 – Elisa Guzzo Vaccarino. Independent researcher and dance critic.
The invention of the new natural and spiritual body.
 
10:45 – Paulina L. Antacli. Universidad Nacional de la Rioja, Argentina. 
The magic threshold and dance. A disruptive approach to The Rite of Spring by Nijinsky.
 
11:30 – Break.
 
12:00 – Alicia Navarro. Independent researcher and curator.
Cosmic dances, between the earthly and the sidereal. From avant-garde mystery rites to witchcraft covens and their spells.
 
12:45 – Round table. 
 
SESSION 4 – MEDIUMS AND OTHER FORMS OF POSSESSION: UNCONSCIOUSNESS, SPIRITS AND HYPNOSIS IN DANCE.
Moderator: Irene López Arnaiz. Instituto de Historia, CSIC, Madrid.
 
15:30 – Javier Cuevas del Barrio. Universidad de Málaga. 
Psychoanalysis and Esotericism at the crossroads. From Dadaism to Surrealism, between abstract dances, texts and Freudian theatre.
 
16:15 – Raquel López Fernández. Instituto de Historia, CSIC, Madrid. 
The Fool, the Magician, and the Devil: a card reading with Vicente Escudero and another “occult turn” on the School of Paris stage.
 
17:00 – Break.
 
17:30 – Pilar Bonet Julve. Universidad de Barcelona - Visionary Women Art.
Before and after Hilma af Klint: mediumistic corpology and creative process.
 
18:15 – Pascal Rousseau. Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne - Beaux Arts, Paris.
Sleepwalking choreography. Dance, hypnotism and avant-garde.
 
19:00 – Round table.
 

This seminar on Dance, Esotericism and the Avant-garde will be scientifically directed by Irene López Arnaiz, Instituto de Historia, CSIC; Raquel López Fernández, Instituto de Historia, CSIC; and independent researcher Alicia Navarro. It has been organized by Museo Picasso Málaga in conjunction with the R+D+i Project «SÍLFIDE»: Tras los pasos de la Sílfide. Una historia de la danza en España, 1836-1936 (ref. PGC2018-093710-A-I00) and the R+D+i Project «TRAMA»: La creatividad en la sombra. Relatos mestizos del arte en la sociedad contemporánea (ref. HAR2017-82394-R), and with the collaboration of the Instituto de Historia del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, the Facultad de Geografía e Historia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, the Spanish Goverment’s Ministry of Science and Innovation, and the European Regional Development Fund

The MPM Auditorium is located on Plaza de la Higuera, which is reached from Calle Alcazabilla. See map.

See also