Re: Fascinatin' Rhythm [Debate]

N. Bannister - L. Maners (landn@AZSTARNET.COM)
Wed, 14 Feb 1996 09:05:08 -0700

Hi Ruby, interesting post by Tom K on this subject today as well. On your
point below, I'm afraid I must point out that your conception of dance
(as noted in your post) is a very ethnocentric/Western one.Those of us
who do dance (and music) have been dealing with these misconceptions for
years. Maybe to us at the disco (okay, youngsters, the rave!) dance
expresses ethos and joy and art and etc, but, cross-culturally, in the
words of the musical "It ain't necesarrily so". Tom's post even mentions
that spontaneity is not a part of Hopi dance. I think that you're
equating Western "art dance", ballet, modern,etc. with all dance and
that's not the case. In Euro-American culture, dance is treated often as
a privileged mode of personal expression (especially for women),but
outside of Euro-America (and even inside it,in minority situations),dance
seems to be much less about personal expression. Just off the top of my
head, before the war of Serbian aggression against Bosnia, there were 40
KUDs (Cultural Art Groups) in Sarajevo. Of these, 36 were folklore dance
performamce, one was for ballet, one from modern dance and there were a
couple theater ones as well. People also went to the disco, learned
social dances (foxtrot, waltz, etc) and danced at weddings. So,in my
experience, the majority of dancing seems to be more socially oriented
(in the broader sense) than individually oriented,i.e. joy,ethos, art,
spontaneity,etc. Anyone else on the list have experience with dance in
their fieldwork? (One of our pet peeves, as anthros who study dance, is
the ethnographer who writes..."and then they danced"-leaving us with no
description!) Always Best Regards, Lynn

On Tue, 13 Feb 1996, Ruby Rohrlich wrote:

> Lynn, the Sumerians, considered the earliest "civilization," seemed to
> have been the first to have formal armies, so they probably practiced
> military drill, which is used to impose uniformity not only in marching
> but, along with similar practices, in thinking, as well, and perhaps
> that's its main purpose. Very different from any kind of dancing, which
> expresses ethos, joy, art, spontaneity, etc. Best wishes. Ruby