Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.

Accepted Paper:

"Dancing Ethiopia": performances of intangible culture in Addis Abeba's dance scene  
Kim Glück (Frobenius-Institute)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines how dance expresses intangible culture in the Ethiopian capital Addis Abeba. Analyzing live performances and video clips, it asks how an ephemeral art form can be captured on paper.

Paper long abstract:

My research examines how dance conveys cultural identity in multiethnic Addis Abeba. Ethiopia's capital celebrates the nation's cultural diversity - the country is home to around 80 ethnic groups, who speak between 70 and 100 languages - in different performance venues, such as theatres, Clubs, dance schools and Cultural Restaurants. Here, dance is used to express one's identity by displaying a variety of traditional dances from different Ethiopian regions.

Observing these places, interviewing dancers and audience, capturing the atmosphere and the closely-knit relationship between audience and performer by filming the performances, and even taking part in the actual dancing are key elements of ethnographic "participant observation". But how can an anthropologist from abroad translate these dances in words?

How does the researcher's own sociocultural language influence his translation of dance movements, and even his view on movement patterns? Current methods of transcription, such as dance notations (for example Labanotation), are too reliant on personal and cultural facts. Using a video camera might add to the anthropological methods, but does it help in decoding meaning? My paper discusses these and other difficulties in capturing the living cultural expression of Ethiopian dance on paper.

Panel P093
Anthropology as translation: working misunderstandings?
  Session 1