chapter  1
13 Pages

Memory, history and the sensory body

Dance, time, identity
ByLarraine Nicholas

Memories from events that people have personally experienced can come with such associated multi-sensory imagery that they are convincingly real, despite all that is currently understood of memory distortions. Memories result from and often express themselves vividly as sensory experience. This chapter outlines an approach to dance history that develops from memory as an experience that is paradoxically distinctly individualistic while offering a platform for the understanding of historical others. Consciousness and memory are exclusively a potential of individual minds, so that 'memory' used in a term such as 'collective memory' is best seen as metaphorical. Memory provides the somato sensory body that can be used imaginatively in the time travel that is both history and memory. Memories are a major part of personal identity formation, too, and although history is always aware of larger forces at work in society, the larger forces comprise individuals with their own memories and identities, sometimes merging with the collective and sometimes not.