Dance, Europe and the ethnographic encounter 
Georgiana Gore (University of Clermont Auvergne)
Andree Grau (University of Roehampton)
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Wills 3.30
Start time:
20 September, 2006 at 11:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

This workshop considers dance as a privileged site for the creative interchange between the global and the local and explores through ethnographic encounters the transnational circulation of choreographic cultures.

Long Abstract:

Dance, with its polysemic nature, is a privileged site in which to explore the creative interchange between the global and the local. Often transnational, dance fosters exchanges of aesthetic sensitivities and canons, and creates a context for the transposition of the institutions and the social conventions that frame it. The relationships provoked by these encounters vary, entailing parity, asymmetry, ambivalence or coercion. Europe is both a site of global dancing experiences and the exporter of imperialising strategies with far-reaching effects on local dance forms in all quarters of the world, including its own margins. Art dance provides salient examples of transnational circulation. The ballet masters and dancers of the 18th century crisscrossed Europe and the dasi attam dancers the subcontinent, as part of the dowry of Indian princesses in medieval times. Indian 'bayadères' performed in Paris and London in the early 1830s. By the 21st century Art dance had become a quasi-global movement. Popular/folk forms also have transnational trajectories. By the late 19th century influences from around the globe had appeared within the popular dance scene, from the 'chanteuses/danseuses épileptiques' inspired by Charcot's hysteric patients and by the Africans and black Americans presented in Paris and other capitals as Phenomena, to the many danseurs exotiques in music halls. In the 21st century Bollywood dancing has flourished beyond the confines of the subcontinent and the south Asian Diaspora. World dance and music festivals abound, as do regional and national celebrations of heritage, entailing both conformity to eurocentrically defined standards of correct performance but also creative hybrid innovations resisting the sanitisation of dance. We invite presentations that explore and demonstrate, through particular ethnographic encounters, the ability of dance to accommodate, through bricolage, diverse cultural elements, contexts and time frames.

Accepted papers: