Re: a few thoughts on dance and drill

Ruby Rohrlich (rohrlich@GWIS2.CIRC.GWU.EDU)
Mon, 12 Feb 1996 20:49:41 -0500

expression when dance is spontaneous, which is one of the newer trends --
spontaneous in the sense of doing your own thing, in contrast to the
heavy instruction required,I believe, for perfection in military drill.
Even when dance is learned through instruction, it is still a playful
activity, which military drill never is. What say you, Lynn? Best
regards. Ruby

On Mon, 12 Feb 1996, N. Bannister - L. Maners wrote:

> This is an interesting idea, but relationships between both and other
> cultural activity may be a bit tenuous. It seems to me that military
> drill (as we think of it) may be an innovation of later industrial
> societies, whereas dance (for a useful definition, see Royce) appears to
> be a human universal-at least in the sense that societies at all levels
> of socio-culutural organization seem to have some patterned movement
> activity which fills both the emic and etic role of dance, though
> definitions may vary. In Bosnia, for example,many shepherds' games were
> contextualized as dance, when performed as part of a "folklor" performance.
> In his "Chorometrics", Alan Lomax posited that dance arose from customary
> work movements and their co-ordination. This idea has been largely
> rejected by most ethnochoreologists (okay, anthropologists who study
> dance :-) ). Dance and drill does however raise a popular question among
> such scholars as to what counts as dance and what doesn't. I'm always
> intrigued by footage I see on CNN of political movements (sic) in South
> Africa, where people seem to be jogging to a beat while engaged in
> political activity. Is that dance and what does it imply for broader
> social organization? Anyway, just a few thoughts before rushing off to
> mold the minds of America's undergraduates. Best, Lynn