more on dancin'

N. Bannister - L. Maners (landn@AZSTARNET.COM)
Thu, 15 Feb 1996 08:02:49 -0700

[Based upon a couple posts I read this morning, I'm wondering if we
shouldn't hurl insults at each other so that this thread will become more
normal for anthro-L :-) ]
Anyway, at the risk of sounding very unhumble, for a review of
anthropological perspectives on dance, interested parties could take a
look at my dissertation-I even work political economy into it!
Warren's interesting post brought up a couple of useful points. One is
the unconcious assumption about "original spontaneity". Like many things
when we speculate about the origin of human behavior, this is one of
those assumptions which we tend to make from what I see as an
ethnocentric, Euro-American perspective in which dance=spontaneous
movement=art (BTW,I don't use ethnocentric and Euro-American in any kind
of pergorative sense-I only use it in the sense that it reflects our
cultural background-my apologies if any of the gentle readers of anthro-l
mistook my meaning). Dance as expressive has been an assumption which we
tend to make but one which is not cross-culturally valid, unless we
define "expressive"
John Mc's post was also interesting when he mentions performative vs.
participation. Emerging from ethnomusicology is "performance ethnology"
in which the anthropologist is not just a participant but an integral
part of the performance. In Sarajevo, I performed with a folklore group
and played an instrument-my performance was crucial to the presentation
of the event. I used performance ethnology a lot. Nahachewsky has
alsowritten recently about dance as a continuum from participatory to
performance. Reference available when I dig through my stack!!!
Thanks to Clyde andJohn S also. I've really got to run off and teach
ASAP, but I'll try to put together a post this evening on dance's
position in anthropology. Best Regards to All, Lynn