Books: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
Dancing With Cats
Burton Silver and Heather Busch
Related animals: Cat, Human
Related Website: The Museum of Non-Primate Art

"Of course it is a hoax, but all art is a hoax. Every art movement starts as a joke or a sham and then becomes a serious occupation or revelation." (Melamid about his work on painting with Elephants, a very real project.) While this book is written as a joke, it is more interesting to read as a "revelation". Nice descriptions and pictures of humans and cats dancing together.

Submitted by LisaJ [Write Review]

Review by csh (04/18/06 15:05:18):
Although this book was a presentation to bring the artistic aspects of collaboration with cats, the fact that the book states in the beginning, “We will probably never know for sure why cats dance with us…” had me as a skeptic from the very beginning. The book begins with a Preface, telling readers how the book almost couldn’t come about. It seemed to state that getting the cats to dance in public or in front of the cameras was a difficult task, and almost led to the hypothesization that cat dancing was only done in private. Luckily, Arija (pronounced Aria) and her cat was able to put on a show for the authors/ producer’s lens.
The book notes that the earliest written records of cat dancing dated back to 1692, and the practice of cat dancing was “alluded to” in nursery rhymes such as Hey diddle daddle.

• Lovely photos, of humans and animals in artistic expression.

• The book does not really attempt to signify or utilize any scientific experiments, observations, or evidence, as to why cats are provoked to dancing with humans, and their simple release of energy.

When I went through reading and studying the images and text, I found it a bit hard to piece up everything, since little evidence or studies proved that cats were dancing and collaborating with humans. The fact that the book had mention its desperation and its encounter with lack of cooperation of participants, led me to some skeptical conclusions:
• The images could be highly well photoshoped, due to desperation, pictures of cats in explosive energetic poses could have been taken, and humans then staged to imitate that cats sporadic movements.
• The book also states that the cat’s response was not only to human interaction, but the combination of the aforementioned and music. The beat, frequency, or melody, could have been a major contender as to why dancing with cats is possible. I remember I’ve tried doing poses with my pet cat when I was younger, but he would always just sit and watch me curiously. He gave me a responsive look (as if I was dumb or something) instead of a responsive action.

These are just a few of the things I noticed and questions that came to mind. The whole idea of dancing with cats just might be very well be fake. Or they could re-title it as Cat Beat: The Energetic Movements of Feline Dancer.