Re: a few thoughts on dance and drill

N. Bannister - L. Maners (landn@AZSTARNET.COM)
Mon, 12 Feb 1996 21:10:10 -0700

Hmm, thinking about this, dance isn't really a spontaneous occurence, in
fact, learning dance can be accomplished in as highly structured and
environment as military drill-think of country line dance instruction,
for example. Even in the sense of "spontaneously breaking into movement",
which is what I think you mean, one could still jump up from the computer
and do a little close order drill. <oops, just left turned into the
bathroom>. Dance also, when looked at cross-culturally, share the sense
of perfection as well;doing it wrong may put you, and others on the
floor, esp. in an impt performance (don't ask). Anyway, there's a lot of
food for thought in human movement and the meanings we ascribe to them.
Anyone on the list work in South Africa or seen the kinds of "political
jogging" I referred to in my original post? All the Best, Lynn

On Mon, 12 Feb 1996, Ruby Rohrlich wrote:

> Lynn: It seems to me that drill and dance are opposite forms of
> 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
> >