The aim of this paper is to focus on the aesthetic value of dance, which recent dance studies have tended to neglect, to attempt to lay its foundation, and to do so via an examination of the Greek myth-based concept of grace as a core issue. This paper is particularly concerned with the theory of grace of Hogarth, who, among the many theorists who have addressed this subject, has remained especially influential up to the present day. William Hogarth (1697-1764), one of the great English painters of the 18th century, was also the author of a unique theoretical book on fine art and human movement (dance in particular) entitled The Analysis of Beauty (1753), in which he posited the serpentine line as an ideal model of grace. For Hogarth, who states that the “forms of most grace have least of the straight line in them, ” intricacy is the most important principle of beauty and grace. In his view, their basic examples are to be found in the form and movement of the human figure, especially in scenes of minuets, country dances and the like. “Elegant wantonness” is, he says, “the true spirit of dancing.” Hogarth's theory of grace, with its primal principle of intricacy, is grounded in an aesthetics of the pleasure of one's eyes that attempt to pursue objects to the best of their ability. This motif is influenced by Joseph Addison's concept of “the pleasure of imagination, ” relating to the power of wit in linking the unknown to the already known. Hogarth values forms consisting of combinations of things. Forms joining opposite ideas in an excessive manner, however, through their awkwardness result in inelegance and excite laughter. In contrast, for example, the Sphinx is admired because of the joining of its strength and beauty in pleasing and graceful forms. This way of thinking about joining is also connected to the grace of human movement: it depends on the proper combinations in the light of multi-directional movement. The three-dimensional movement of serpentine lines in the human body varies direction continually and thus evokes grace. However, it is also made clear that excessive line curvature must be avoided. Graceful human body movement, while maintaining a combination, differs from the lines that stimulate laughter via the aspects of milder line curvature and the smooth convergence of a plurality of directions. The grace of human movement, which is an ideal of dance, lies in keeping irregularity within regular sequences. In short, Hogarth holds that the aesthetic value of dance is found in human movement that constantly passes along the edge of deviation, yet also smoothly avoids deviating, with being rich in multi-directionality.
From the critiques of ballet after the appearance of Isadora Duncan until the end of World War I, we can infer that impulse to seek for experience of vitality was deeply rooted in the background of the historical change of stage dance, i. e. the conversion of tradition to “the dances of the future”. Starting with that notice, this study intends to analyze discourse on rhythm of two artists, Emile Jacques-Dalcroze and Hugo von Hofmannsthal to ascertain their solutions to regenerate vitality in dance as follows: 1. Through his educational practice, Jaques-Dalcroze became aware of the effects of bodily movement in rhythm to music and established his own method, called “rhythmic”, which contributed to training dancers. However, his systematization and canonization of rhythm contained the potential suppression of subconscious and irrational rhythm, and the contradict between meters of music pieces and individual rhythm. 2. In collaboration with Grethe Wiesenthal, a dancer trying to be liberated from such a music structure, Hofmannsthal created personalities in his scripts who followed their own nature and deviated from the semiotic system of western culture. In their notion, rhythm is not an attribute of music but an irrational phenomenon which emerges in a moment where dancers impulse overflows and the gap between performers and spectators is filled. Though sharing the same purpose, the both pioneers showed an interesting contrast in their approaches to rhythm which reflect their basic attitudes toward their cultural ground.