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Dancing Cultures

Dancing Cultures: Globalization, Tourism and Identity in the Anthropology of Dance

Hélène Neveu Kringelbach
Jonathan Skinner
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 236
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  • Book Info
    Dancing Cultures
    Book Description:

    Dance is more than an aesthetic of life - dance embodies life. This is evident from the social history of jive, the marketing of trans-national ballet, ritual healing dances in Italy or folk dances performed for tourists in Mexico, Panama and Canada. Dance often captures those essential dimensions of social life that cannot be easily put into words. What are the flows and movements of dance carried by migrants and tourists? How is dance used to shape nationalist ideology? What are the connections between dance and ethnicity, gender, health, globalization and nationalism, capitalism and post-colonialism? Through innovative and wide-ranging case studies, the contributors explore the central role dance plays in culture as leisure commodity, cultural heritage, cultural aesthetic or cathartic social movement.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-576-5
    Subjects: Performing Arts, Transportation Studies, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. Introduction The Movement of Dancing Cultures
    (pp. 1-26)
    Hélène Neveu Kringelbach and Jonathan Skinner

    Thus opens the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe’s reflections on life growing up in colonial Nigeria as a ‘British-protected child’ (Achebe 2010). Achebe acknowledges that he inhabits – and embodies – the ‘middle ground’ between colonialism and postcolonialism. Whilst he has fond nostalgia for his imperious school teachers, he craves for an independent, strong and free Nigeria, but also laments the failings and difficulties of a country in disarray. The above analogy sums up Achebe’s postcolonial ambivalence. ‘His’ dancing comes naturally, driven by a drum beat, but he is also attracted to the colonial quickstep, a European import, acquired, refined and ‘cultured’. Argentinean...

  6. Part I: Dance and Globalization

    • Chapter 1 Globalization and the Dance Import–Export Business: The Jive Story
      (pp. 29-45)
      Jonathan Skinner

      Jive is a living history. It is a language and a movement – both bodily and countercultural – which spans the centuries and crosses the continents, and takes us from the Middle Passage to the D-Day landings, from swing and Lindy hop ‘joints a jumpin” in Harlem, New York, to zoot-suit retro swing revivals in Herrang, Sweden. In his history of jive, Bill Milkowski refers to jive as a language, ‘like cussing … a language of emotion: a means of describing how one is affected by certain experiences or situations’ (Milkowski 2001: 20). Like soul and hiphop, jive can be a slang...

    • Chapter 2 Ballet Culture and the Market: A Transnational Perspective
      (pp. 46-59)
      Helena Wulff

      In the ballet world, the market tends to be regarded with ambivalence. Ballet people are disturbed by the belief that the market wants to buy other ‘commodities’ than they are prepared to sell – i.e. unforgettable experiences of ballet art. For the audience, on the other hand, the milieu of gilded opera foyers and the opportunity to rub shoulders with famous people in the intermission may be what matters. This chapter discusses the market in the ballet world by applying a transnational perspective which uncovers both homogenizing and heterogenizing cultural processes produced by similarities in work practices and differences in funding...

    • Chapter 3 ‘We’ve Got This Rhythm in Our Blood’: Dancing Identities in Southern Italy
      (pp. 60-74)
      Karen Lüdtke

      A frequently seen postcard from the Salento, Apulia’s southernmost region, shows a woman on the ground arching her spine into a bridge-like pose.¹ Her legs are scarcely covered and the angle chosen by the photographer gives the image an erotic, voyeuristic touch. The position depicted is often seen to characterize rituals of tarantism, used for centuries in southern Italy and elsewhere to treat victims of the tarantula’s bite, expressing personal and social crises (De Martino 2005). On the postcard, the group Tamburellisti di Torrepaduli re-enacts elements of a tarantism ritual on the promenade of Gallipoli, a major west-coast tourist destination....

  7. Part II: Tourism, Social Transformation and the Dance

    • Chapter 4 Performance in Tourism: Transforming the Gaze and the Tourist Encounter at Híwus Feasthouse
      (pp. 77-99)
      Linda Scarangella-McNenly

      Híwus feasthouse is located on Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on Squamish territory. The First Nations people who work at the Híwus are mainly from the Squamish and Sechelt Nations, both of which are part of the larger Coast Salish ‘culture group’.¹ This Salish feasthouse is unlike the usual longhouse, as it is situated within a tourism context. It attracts an international clientele, many of whom arrive as part of a tour group.² Upon arrival at Grouse Mountain, tourists ride up on the tram and walk to the chalet where a hostess (or host) waits to bring...

    • Chapter 5 Movement on the Move: Performance and Dance Tourism in Southeast Asia
      (pp. 100-120)
      Felicia Hughes-Freeland

      An important area of investigation for understanding dance culture in its broadest sense is the pattern of relationships between performers, audiences and students of dance, and the transformations of these relationships. When dance forms lose their traditional patrons and venues, performers trained in these forms have to adapt in different ways to new cultural and political conditions. In Southeast Asia, for instance, traditional performance contexts have included the village, the temple, the court and spaces where other special ritual or ceremonial events are held. Nowadays, performers in such regions have had to adapt to changing social and political circumstances that...

    • Chapter 6 Dance, Visibility and Representational Self-awareness in an Emberá Community in Panama
      (pp. 121-140)
      Dimitrios Theodossopoulos

      The community of Parara Puru in Chagres National Park, Panama, a two hour drive from Panama City, is an Emberá community with many talented and skilled dancers. The members of this community – women, men and children – dance for consecutive groups of tourists day after day. They dance traditional Emberá dances, some of which were used in the past in curing ceremonies, while others were used purely for entertainment. Due to their full-time involvement with tourism, the residents of Parara Puru have numerous opportunities to perfect their skills as individual performers and to spontaneously improvise or explore the details of dance...

  8. Part III: Dance, Identity and the Nation

    • Chapter 7 Moving Shadows of Casamance: Performance and Regionalism in Senegal
      (pp. 143-160)
      Hélène Neveu Kringelbach

      Stuck at the end of the Cape Verde Peninsula, its sprawling neighbourhoods built tightly with concrete houses, Dakar, the capital of Senegal, feels like a place in transit. People and buildings alike seem to be in perpetual movement. But there is one form of movement that begins in the late afternoon, as the sound of drumming ripples through the city: it is the movement of dance troupes rehearsing in cultural centres,¹ schoolyards, on the flat roofs of houses and on the beach. Dancing or drumming with a troupe is a hugely popular activity, and in 2002 veteran theatre leader Mademba...

    • Chapter 8 Ballet Folklórico Mexicano: Choreographing National Identity in a Transnational Context
      (pp. 161-176)
      Olga Nájera-Ramírez

      Since its emergence in the late 1950s,ballet folklóricohas become an enormously popular dance form that is widely practised throughout Mexico and the United States, and performed throughout the world. Althoughfolklóricodance continues to be a vibrant transnational expressive medium through which Mexican communities on both sides of the US–Mexico border create and pass on a strong sense of group aesthetics and identity, serious scholarship on this dance genre is a relatively recent development. Some twenty-five years ago, when I published an article on the social and political dimensions offolklóricodance (Nájera-Ramírez 1989), material on the...

    • Chapter 9 Dance, Youth and Changing Gender Identities in Korea
      (pp. 177-193)
      Séverine Carrausse

      This chapter explores anthropological ways of looking at dance as a social practice and as a means of discovering and demonstrating the body as a socio-cultural construction. I examine the historical background of Korean folk dance and dance movement, and explore the relations between socio-cultural change and youth identities in contemporary Korean society.

      Looking at South Korean youth cultural activities, particularly a sport dance circle at the Seoul National University campus, I attempt to understand how socio-cultural change has influenced individuals, especially young people, in terms of their conceptions of identity and relationships with others.¹ I argue that Korean youth...

    • Chapter 10 Preparation, Presentation and Power: Children’s Performances in a Balinese Dance Studio
      (pp. 194-210)
      Jonathan McIntosh

      In Bali the performing arts ensure that important cultural values, such as the preference for balance and harmony, are passed down from one generation to the next. Children learn about these values from a young age when they attend music and dance performances at temple ceremonies with their parents and by watching recordings of traditional performances broadcast on the Balinese television channel, Bali TV. However, children also embody these cultural values by choosing to engage in traditional arts activities of which learning to dance remains one of the most popular. Children who choose to learn to dance usually attend lessons...

  9. Epilogue Making Culture through Dance
    (pp. 211-218)
    Caroline Potter

    The title of this volume highlights the exasperating yet poetic fluidity of both ‘dance’ and ‘culture’. Both are unstable analytical constructs, reflecting collective lived experiences that are constantly in flux. As the editors point out, both dance and culture become in their doing. That culture is co-constructed through intersubjective engagement is given. But culture cannot be confined to a list of things that can be objectified; it is instead the metaphorical cooking stock, the communal medium of exchange in which we as social beings simmer that renders our world mutually comprehensible. That medium is continually replenished and infused with fresh...

  10. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 219-222)
  11. Index
    (pp. 223-232)