The type of dance making which presents itself as 'political', is in most cases bluntly abusive, manipulative, and disempowering towards both the performers, and its audience. It is rarely of any consequent substance beyond journalism or mere propaganda, effect based rather than focused on structure, and always expressing the 'correct' ideas of the time within specific cultural and political circles. In many cases, it simply reproduces the dynamics and content of the things it claims to be criticizing. Instead of proposing alternatives, it feasts on all the negative, injust, hurtful, horrific manifestations of human behaviour, and simply offers an artistic representation of them, with the claim that it is done from a critical stand point. It's hard for me to find the logic in that. Reorganizing and estheticizing violence, abuse, and horrors of all sorts in an artistic form, can not be an act of resistance. It is passive and self indulgent. And it is evident that most of these 'political' makers, are the first to inflict violence and abuse of all sorts upon their performers.
I think the most critical and subversive action one can take in the face of any wrong doing, is propose an alternative vision. And so more specifically about dance, I think the only way to be political these days when making and thinking about choreography, is through re-examining the status of the dancer as an autonomous creative force, dismantling the systems of oppression and exploitation most dancers study, train and work under, and by addressing choreography as a tool for the critical study of social phenomenas, dynamics and structures, rather than one for making shallow, expected 'political' comments with.
The mirror image of dance as entertainment, in many cases, is the so called 'politicaly engaged' dance making. the only difference between the two is the target audience, but the means, intentions, strategies and inner logics, are very much the same. Just with the added pretentious attitude...
photo: excerpt from 'The Radicality Of Love' by Srećko Horvat (thanks for this Olivera!)