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Dancer-researchers interpreting themselves: Moving towards an anthropology of contemporary “art" dance

It was in 1984 with a single reading of Kealiinohomoku's seminal text on ballet's ethnicity (1969/70) that I was drawn irresistibly into the field of dance anthropology. This new "cultural framework" for my practice as a postmodern dancer precipitated a vital shift in perception. This panel be thought of as a continuation of ideas that were set into motion in Kealiinohomoku's essay. While reviewing the literature for my recent doctoral research, through meetings at CORD conferences, and most recently from within the Laboratoire d'Anthropologie des Pratiques Corporelles Universite Blaise Pascal de Clermont-Ferrand, I have unearthed a growing group of dance researchers from various corners of the world (so far Brazil, Taiwan, USA, England, France and New Zealand) who are also contemporary "art" dance insiders choosing to study "their own kind." We are grounding our research in theories of cultural anthropology and ethnographic methods (among others) as we move into fieldwork among artistic colleagues, and within the familiar ground of our own dance worlds. What kinds of understandings are emerging about the nature and function of these kinds of Euro-American rooted dances as "we" study "ourselves''? How are we situating ourselves in the field, as we negotiate etic (dance insider) and emic (dance researcher) positions and experience being insider ethnographers? What insights, approaches, frameworks and models are emerging for the study of a dance form that has an extensive history of criticism and analysis over the 20th century, a tradition of re-invention and "new creations," for which researchers' bodies and minds are repositories of knowledge about the practice?
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Barbour, K. (2006). Dancer-researchers interpreting themselves: Moving towards an anthropology of contemporary "art" dance. Congress on Research in Dance 38th Annual Conference Arizona, USA, November 2-5, 2006, (pp.1-7). Arizona, USA.
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