Re: Drill, Dancin', Marchin' <debate>

Brian Valimont (bcvstu@WESTGA.EDU)
Thu, 15 Feb 1996 12:12:29 -0500

Ralph Holloway makes an excellent point that I hinted at recently. The
debate about Drill/Dance has focused mainly on contrast, and more
recently on comparision(i.e.-the concept of self-enjoyment in drill vs.
the regimentation of dances like belly-dancing). The subject heading of
this posting expresses the element that I have introduced, and that is
the one of modern march. On a personal note, I have participated in
American Flag Teams, and Marching Bands in my high school years. I can
assure you that all up to date definitions of Dance/Drill used in this
debate encommpass aspects of both Dance and Drill far more than the
differentiation between them! Simply said, there are alot more
comparisions than contrasts.

Another issue in the debate that was raised I would also care to
address. Dance indeed has changed rapidly, and modern dance certainly is
often more uncooradinated and spontaneous then in previous times. On
numerous occaisons I hear people lament this change in both the modern
dance styles and popular music. I understand this lamentation. I have
often heard critizism of current dance and music. I cannot support this

As Anthropologists, we attempt to be careful to understand
the practices of other cultures within their cultural contexts, and not
on our own cultures terms. This should be the same for attempting to
understand Subcultures (or more accurately, generational differences)
within our own cultures. The current generation lives in a much faster
paced world than the generations that learned and performed foxtrots and
ballroom dances. For a student today, competition in the field of
Anthropology is numerous times more intense than for the previous
generation of professors. The amount of available jobs will be much
more difficult for the current genration to attain due to the increased
competition. In order to survive, we must adapt to the culture as it
is. The current generation does not have the time or the desire to
perpetuate these dances, as it does not aid in the struggle to survive
in the current highly competitive environment. Modern dance (ex-Alvin
Ailey) as a branch of ballet and Jazz displays the signifigance of this change. It is now a
recognised branch of schools of dance. The main theme of Modern Dance is
an awareness of the ability of the human body to express a whole variety
of things, intended to be commentary on the contemporary world living
experience. This point needs to be recogized if one is lamenting or critisizing why the the most recent
generation engages in the dance activities that it chooses to. It is also
the directive of older generations to pass on the traditions of a culture to
successive generations to keep the traditions alive.

On another personal note, I have spent 100's of hours listening to music
spanning Glenn Miller, WC Handy, popular music from the 50's-present, and
100's of hours listening to folk and ethnic music (including dance) from
around the world. I have participated in flag teaming, marching band,
and have taken ballet lessons. I feel that I am qualified to make the