Accepted Paper:

Authenticity, appropriation and innovation in the circulation of danced knowledge  

Author:

Brenda Farnell (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

Paper short abstract:

What asymmetries of power determine/undermine ownership and rights to embodied knowledge in the global flow of ideas? Ethnographic examples include folklorisation of West African village dances serving nationalism, and Japanese/Chinese elements in Robert Wood's Contemporary Dance choreography.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores conditions under which danced knowledge circulates between cultural contexts. It asks, when does cultural borrowing become appropriation? What are the politics of "authenticity" involved? When is it a factor, and to whom does it matter? And what asymmetries of power are at work that determine or undermine ownership and rights to embodied knowledge in the global flow of ideas? Ethnographic examples are drawn from the imposition of Western "folklorization" strategies onto Ghanaian and Senegalese village dances for consumption on the international stage, and the import of Japanese and Chinese cultural elements into a contemporary choreographic work by New York choreographer Robert Wood, commissioned by the Florence Dance Company, Italy.

Panel W062
Dance, Europe and the ethnographic encounter