The Body Questions: Celebrating Flamenco’s Tangled Roots

K. Meira Goldberg and Antoni Pizà have recently published a collection of essays, The Body Questions: Celebrating Flamenco’s Tangled Roots.  The volume’s editors focus on how dance, like smoke, like breath, materializes for an evanescent, fluid instant, then moves on. The work presented in this volume raises an important methodological question, which is how what the dancing body knows—and questions—fits and can be integrated into a broader academic (and non-academic) discourse. Before film at least, dance was always transmitted “orally” and is only recorded in the most rudimentary fashion, even in the elite contexts in which it is recorded at all. And yet a dancer’s knowledge archives a capacious repository of non-White and non-elite practices and histories. Shifting our focus toward bodies and bodies of knowledge that have heretofore been invisible, we trace a root system that nourishes the European canon, but whose unique nature and constituent elements are often blanketed by the politics of Whiteness. These questions are urgently pressing right now, not only in light of our present reckoning with the harsh realities of racial violence, but also in light of the de-historicizing, unmooring, and disembodying effects of living ever more intensely in the global mediasphere. This volume, in sum, is a polyphonic compilation of voices about the dynamics of dancing, performance, and the embodiment of performative actions. As Frantz Fanon concludes Black Skin, White Masks: “Oh my body, make of me always a man who questions!”

This collection of essays poses a series of questions revolving around nonsense, cacophony, queerness, race, and the dancing body. How can flamenco, as a diasporic complex of performance and communities of practice frictionally and critically bound to the complexities of Spanish history, illuminate theories of race and identity in performance? How can we posit, and argue for, genealogical relationships within and between genres across the vast expanses of the African—and Roma—diaspora? Neither are the essays presented here limited to flamenco, nor, consequently, are the responses to these questions reduced to this topic. What all the contributions here do share is the wish to come together, across disciplines and subject areas, within the academy and without, in the whirling, raucous, and messy spaces where the body is free—to celebrate its questioning, as well as the depths of the wisdom and knowledge it holds and sometimes reveals.

About the Editors
K. Meira Goldberg is a flamenco performer, choreographer, teacher, and scholar. She teaches at Fashion Institute of Technology, and is Scholar-in-Residence at the Foundation for Iberian Music at the CUNY Graduate Center. She has instigated and collaborated on multiple books, exhibits, and international conferences. Her book Sonidos Negros: On the Blackness of Flamenco (2019) won the Barnard Hewitt Award for outstanding research in theatre history from the American Society for Theatre Research.

Antoni Pizà has taught Music History at Hofstra University, the City College, John Jay College of the City University of New York, and the Conservatory of Music and Dance in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. He is currently the Director of the Foundation for Iberian Music at the Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation of the Graduate Center, USA. He has authored and co-edited numerous books in English, Spanish and Catalan.


Click the following link for The Body Questions‘ Table of Contents

The Body Questions promo TOC 978-1-5275-7692-6-contents-contributors