Joseph Cocker on Havelock Ellis’s view of dancing and building as the two primary arts

Giles Fraser suggests the benefits for modern philosophy if Descartes had said “I dance therefore I am” (If Descartes had done Strictly Come Dancing, 15 September). Havelock Ellis, in his essay The Art of Dancing, quotes David Livingstone saying that when a man belonging to one branch of the great Bantu people met a member of another branch, he would ask: “What do you dance?” Such people danced rather than preached their religion and their culture.

Ellis says dancing and building are the two primary arts. Building leads to the arts outside the person – sculpture, painting and design. Dance leads to music, acting and poetry. Of the two, dance came first – with origins earlier than man himself.
Joseph Cocker
Leominster, Herefordshire

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