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The Politics and Poetics of Dance Author(s): Susan A. Reed Source: Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 27 (1998), pp.

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Annu. Rev. Anthropol.1998. 27.503-32 Copyright 1998 by AnnualReviews.All rights reserved


Susan A. Reed
Departmentof Anthropology,University of Californiaat Berkeley, Berkeley, California94720-3710; e-mail: KEYWORDS:performance, folklore embodiment, movement, identity,

Since the mid- 980s, therehas been an explosion of dance studies as scholars from a variety of disciplines have turned their attention to dance. Anthropologists have played a criticalrole in this new dance scholarship,contributing comparative analyses, critiquing colonial and ethnocentric categories, and situating studies of dance and movement within broaderframeworksof embodimentand the politics of culture.This review highlights ethnographic and historical studies that foregrounddance and other structured movement systems in the making of colonial cultures;the constitutionof gender, ethnic and national identities; the formationof discourses of exoticization; and the production of social bodies. Several works that employ innovative approaches to the study of dance and movement are explored in detail.

It has been 20 years since Adrienne Kaeppler's review of anthropology and dance in this series (Kaeppler 1978). At that time, given the marginal status of dance, Kaeppler wondered about the propriety of devoting an Annual Review article to such an "esoteric aspect" of anthropology. But in the intervening decades, the anthropology of dance has gained greater legitimacy as a field of inquiry, even as it is being reconfigured within the broader framework of an anthropology of human movement (Famell 1995b, Kaeppler 1985). As Lewis (1995) has argued, this shift to "movement," motivated by a critique of "dance" as a universally applicable category of analysis, parallels develop-

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ments in otherfields of expressive culturesuch as music and theatre.In ethnomusicology, for example, Feld (1990b, 1991) has argued for a shift from the category of "music"to sound, while the creationof"performancestudies"by Victor Turnerand RichardSchechnerwas, in part,a reactionto the ethnocento trism implicit in the use of the term "theater" referto non-Westernperformance forms (Lewis 1995:223). Concurrentwith the growing interest in dance and movement within anthropology, "dancehistory"has transformedinto "dancestudies,"an interdisciplinaryfield focusing on the social, cultural,political andaestheticaspects of dance (Daly 1991b). Three recent collections (Desmond 1997, Foster 1995a, Morris 1996) chartthis emerging field, while the long-awaitedInternational Encyclopediaof Dance (Cohen 1998) includes several relatedentries.The expandinginterestin culturalstudies of dance is evidenced by the fact thatmore than a thirdof the works cited in this article were published since 1995. This new dance scholarshiphas made significant contributionsto our understandings of culture, movement and the body; the expression and constructionof identities; the politics of culture;reception and spectatorship;aesthetics; and ritualpractice. Although the study of dance and other "structuredmovement systems" (Kaeppler 1985) has expandedwithin anthropology,such work remainson the marginsof the discipline. There are at presentonly a few anthropologistswho specialize in dance and movement analysis, and many are located outside of anthropology, in departmentsof music, dance, or performancestudies. The field of anthropologyneeds more specialists in movementanddance;additionally, movement analysis should be included as part of the general anthropology graduate curriculum. It is indeed ironic that, despite the considerable growth of interest in the anthropologyof the body (Lock 1993), the study of moving bodies remainson the periphery. Though the emergence of the anthropologyof dance as a distinct subfield can be tracedto the 1960s and 1970s, dance has been the subjectof anthropological study since the discipline's inception. Early anthropologistsincluding Radcliffe-Brown,Malinowski and Boas all addressed Tylor, Evans-Pritchard, aspects of dance in theirwritings,predictablyemphasizingthe social functions of dance, with little attentionto the specifics of movement. Williams (1991) provides a comprehensive survey of these early anthropologicalanalyses of dance, while Spencer's theoreticalsurvey (1985b), Ness's analysis of selected anthropologicalworks (1996), and review articles by Kaeppler(1978, 1991) and Giurchescu& Torp (1991) outline developments in dance studies to the late 1980s. Youngerman(1998) and Quigley (1998) provide succincthistories of dance anthropologyand ethnology, while the contributionsof ethnomusicologist John Blacking to the developmentof dance studies within the United Kingdom are discussed by Grau(1993b).

POLITICS DANCE 505 OF In the 1960s and 1970s, a small groupof scholars-Adrienne Kaeppler,Joann Kealiinohomoku, Anya Peterson Royce, Judith Hanna, and Drid Williams-laid the groundworkfor an anthropology of dance. They examined dance within theoreticalparadigmsinspiredby Boas and Herskovits (Kealiinohomoku, Royce), Chomsky and Saussure (Kaeppler, Williams), ethnoscience (Kaeppler), and communications theory (Hanna). These studies thus stressed the form and function of dances, the deep structuresof dance, and dance as nonverbalcommunication.Dance anthropologistsalso critiquedthe ethnocentrism implicit in much standard dance scholarship. For example, Kealiinohomoku's article on ballet as "ethnicdance," originally published in 1970, took to task several classic works of dance scholarshippublished from the 1920s to the 1960s. Kealiinohomokudemonstratedhow dance scholars' blanketcategorizationof non-Westerndances as ethnic, folk, or primitivewas based on an evolutionaryparadigmin which Western theatricaldance, especially ballet, emerged as "...the one great divinely ordainedapogee of the performing arts"(Kealiinohomoku 1983; see also Friedland1998). Since the 1980s, the most significant developments in dance anthropology have been in studies of the politics of dance, and the relationsbetween culture, body, and movement. Studies in these areas,which draw from semiotics, phenomenology, postcolonial, poststructural,and feminist theories, reflect the dramaticchanges that occurredin anthropologyin the 1980s. In this review, I focus on studies that address these two dimensions of dance and movement, giving particularattention to studies that exemplify original and insightful syntheses of them. Although I focus primarilyon ethnographicand historical analyses by anthropologists, I also discuss the works of many non-anthropologists whose studies speak to anthropologicalissues.


Dance as an expression and practice of relations of power and protest, resistance and complicity, has been the subjectof a numberof historicaland ethnographic analyses in recent years. These analyses complicate issues raised in earlier works on the politics of dance (Brandes 1979, Hanna 1979, Royce 1977), particularlyin the areas of ethnicity, nationalidentity, gender and, less commonly, class. Desmond's anthropologicallyinformedarticle(1993) on how social identities are "signaled, formed and negotiated"throughbodily movement is particularly useful for its detailed attentionto the complex ways in which dance and movement styles are transmittedacross class, ethnic, and national lines. Desmond makes a powerful case for attendingto movement as a primarysocial text: complex, polysemous, and constantlychanging, signalling group affiliation and difference. Desmond shows, for example, how issues of class and

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locality can be embodied in changing lexicons of movement, resulting in a form of"bodily bilingualism"(1993:46). While acknowledgingthat the conand cepts of resistance, appropriation, culturalimperialismare useful for unin dance across time and place, Desmond stresses that an derstandingchanges overemphasison these concepts may only highlight formal properties,while ignoring contextualmeanings and processes of hybridization.

Dance studies have much to contributeto recent scholarlydebatesand discussions in colonialism and culture(Cooper & Stoler 1997, Dirks 1992), demonstratingthe importanceof dance in the "civilizing process," the control and practices,and the profoundrefigurationsof both loregulationof "disorderly" cal and Europeanculture. The suppression,prohibitionandregulationof indigenousdancesundercolonial rule is an index of the significance of dance as a site of considerablepooften perceived indigenous litical and moralanxiety. Colonial administrations dance practices as both a political and moral threatto colonial regimes. Local dances were often viewed as excessively erotic, and colonial agents and missionariesencouragedand sometimes enforcedthe ban or reformof dance practices (Comaroff 1985, Kaspin 1993). However, dance was also a site of desire, and colonial accountsrecordthatmale colonists were often captivatedby "native dancers,"sometimes even joining them in dances. Thus, in many colonial policies and attiarenas,dance tended to generatemultiple and contradictory tudes. In some colonized areas,dance practicesposed a genuine threatof political resistanceor rebellion,particularlyin societies where dance was a site of male collective performance,in which a sense of unity and power was heightened, potentially spawning uprisings against colonial rulers or slave masters. In Hazzard-Gordon's analysis of dance on slave plantationsin North America, it is evident thatwhile attitudestowardandregulationof plantationdance varied widely across time and region, dance was very often perceived as a significant threat(Hazzard-Gordon 1990:3-62). In some states, legislation banningdance and drummingwas enacted as dances came to be seen as likely sites for plotting insurrections, or even the occasions for the insurrections themselves (Hazzard-Gordon1990:32-34). Poole's analysis of the choreographyandhistoryof Andeanritualdance focuses on the complex ways in which convergences between SpanishCatholic and Andean conceptions of dance as "devotion"allowed the dance to be suscultural"blindtainedover centuries,in partbecause of the uncomprehending ness" of the Spanishto "non-religious" political meanings of the dance (Poole 1990). Employing vivid descriptions, diagrams,and photographsof Andean

POLITICS DANCE 507 OF dance movements and patterns,Poole shows how, despite transformations in movement costumes, propsand gestures,Andeandance retainedcharacteristic patternsthatembeddedconcepts of social hierarchyand social time fundamentally distinct from those of Europeans. While Andean dance was forced to work within the space of Catholicismandthe church,where it was largely conceptualized as an acceptable "devotional"practice akin to Christianchurch dances, for the Andeans the dance retainedmuch of its significance as a means of gaining individual status and power. Taking the dance into the present, Poole arguesthat, like the colonial Spanish,some contemporary "outside"observers(mis)readthe dancewithin theirown interpretiveschemes, viewing the dance as a symbol of an essentialized Andean identity. Representationsof dance under colonial rule played a critical role in their transformation.Udall's analysis of the impact of Euro-American imagemakers(photographers, painters,illustrators)on the practiceof the Hopi snake dance explores the transformative intrusiveaspects of colonial (and postand visual representationson ritual practice (Udall 1992). Representacolonial) tions of Javaneseperformancesby the Dutch andthe legacies of colonialism in contemporaryperformance scholarship are explored by Schechner (1990), who argues that scholars who establish "normativeexpectations"for "traditional"performancesperpetuatecolonial thinkingby valorizing one version of performanceas "true"while dismissing others as corrupted. The most sustained, and historically and theoretically rich research on dance undercolonial rule has been done on bharata natyamand the dances of the devadasis of India,the object of several recentanthropologicalandhistorical studies (Allen 1997; Kersenboom-Story 1987; Marglin 1985; Meduri 1988, 1996; O'Shea 1997, 1998; Srinivasan 1984, 1985, 1988). The devadasis-female temple dancers of South India-are something of a celebrated case in the colonial history of India, well known because their practices of dance and ritualwere bannedduringthe Anti-Nautchsocial reformmovement of the 1890s, which was implementedas part of a series of other reforms designed to "civilize"practicesof Indianwomen. Moreover,bharatanatyam-a dance form that emerged in the 1930s and is ostensibly derived from the dances of the devadasis-has now migratedto Europe and the United States, gaining legitimacy as a form of"world dance"(Meduri 1996). Meduri's study of the constructionof the devadasi in the 19thand 20th centuries shows the ways in which identities of indigenousdancersshifted as they became implicated in changing discourses of colonialism, nationalism, and Orientalism(Meduri 1996). While Kersenboom-Storyand Srinivasanpresent comprehensive,detailed accounts of the devadasi underprecolonial and colonial rule, from which Meduri draws, Meduri's focus is on demonstratingthe ways in which the devadasis became implicatedin largerdebatesaboutsexuality, womanhood, and the nation as these developed from the 19th century to

508 REED the present.She keeps the focus of herresearchon the perspectivesof the devadasis, insofar as these are made visible in documents such as ritual texts and protestletters,and in the "visible body" of the dancer.Meduritracesthe transfigurationof the devadasi from her precolonialpracticeas a temple ritualperor formerto her naming, in the 19th century,as temple "prostitute" "dancing and finally, in the 20th century,to emblem of the nation. girl" Allen's (1997) work focuses on the complex processes involved in the recontextualizationof the devadasi dance duringthe late colonial period. Allen discusses the multiple influences on the developmentof bharatanatyamin the 1930s and 1940s, and his work illustratesthe complex process by which a ritual dance form was extractedfrom its original context and then domesticated, reformed, and resanctified for middle-class consumption. Illluminating the that many transformations aremaskedby the term"revival,"Allen shows how this celebratory and seemingly innocent term obscures several processes, a which he succinctly glosses as re-population(one communityappropriating practice from another), re-construction(altering elements of repertoireand choreography),re-naming(from nautch and other terms to bharata natyam), re-situation(from temple and courtto the stage), and re-storation(the splicing togetherof performancesto invent a seemingly ancientpractice)(Allen 1997: 63-64). The dynamic exchanges that occurredbetween colony and metropole are the heartof Erdman's(1987) study of the IndianorientaldancerUday Shankar (Erdman1987) and her critical analysis of the ways in which nationalismhas affected the constructionof the history of Indian dance (Erdman1996). Erdman shows that the importantplace of"oriental dance"-the dances first developed in Europeand based on orientalthemes-in histories of Indiandance has long been overlooked for political reasons. After Independence,only two genres of Indiandanceswere recognizedby nationalists:the "classical"dances based on regional styles, and the numerous "folk" dances derived from regional and local contexts (Erdman 1996:296). Because histories of Indian dance were constructedas nationalisthistories-thus erasingthe influences of Europeansand Americans, such as Anna Pavlova and Ruth St. Denis (Coorlawala 1992), as well as European-influenced Indian dancers like Shankar-Erdman argues that a "new history of Indian dance"is required,a critical history that questions long-held tenets about the alleged authenticity and antiquityof classical dance. Erdman'scritique of Indian dance histories has many implications for the developmentof a critical dance scholarship,and in calling for new, politically awarehistoriesof dance, Erdmanis keenly awareof the difficulties of the task, and leaves open-endedthe forms that such histories might take. In the Indian develcase, she argues, they certainlyshould include the many contemporary inventive Indiandancersthatare opmentsin the art,the new choreographiesof

POLITICS DANCE 509 OF both "Indianand modem" (Erdman 1996:297). But Erdmaneven questions whether the categories of "Indiandance"or "orientaldance"will necessarily be the most salient ones, emphasizingthat regional, caste, or religious identithe ties may be more relevantfor understanding ways in which dance practices are understood by the people themselves (Erdman 1996:299). Her critique raises serious issues about how colonial categories, including the often naturalized classifications of "folk" and "classical" dances, may enact an exclusionary history as well as reify particularpolitically motivated social identities. Erdman'scall, in fact, is an opportunityfor dance scholarsto intervenein the often-divisive reificationof ethnic and nationalidentities, an areain which dance scholarshiphas sometimes been complicit. of Exoticizationtakes many forms, and the representation the exotic Other, women, has been an importantfeatureof both dance performances especially and visual representations dance since at least the 18th century.Dance also of played a critical role in the ethnological exhibitions of the 19th century.Franz Boas, for example, broughtKwakiutlIndiansto performdances at the Chicago's World Columbian Exposition in 1893 (Hinsley 1991), while "native dancers"featuredprominentlyin CarlHagenbeck'sprofitmakingethnological displays in 19th-centuryEurope. Dances of the colonized were often appropriated refiguredas adjuncts and to the civilizing mission, variously reinforcingstereotypesof mystical spirituality and excessive sexuality. In the early 20th century,Europeanand American dancers, including Maud Allan, Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, and Anna dance into theirperformances, Pavlova, appropriated aspects of non-European creating the exotic in a myriad of ways. Dance historians of Europeanand American theatredance have made significant contributionsto rethinkingisin sues of appropriation theirrepresentation the Otherin theatricaldance, loof cating these within discourses of imperialism,racism, Orientalism,masculinity, and nationalism, among others (Desmond 1991, Koritz 1994, Strong 1998). Anthropologicalstudies from the early 1970s stressed the ritual reversals, parody, and satire inherent in festivals and ritual dramas of many societies. Embedded in many of these studies were brief descriptions of danced parodies of European and nonlocal "Others,"and several of the studies cited above include such descriptions. But local peoples also adapted, imitated, and transformedthe dances of colonizers, and many contemporarydances are social texts that embed long and complex histories of intergroup relations. Szwed & Marks (1988) describe how African Americans in the Americas and the West Indies took up Europeancourt dances of the quadrille,the cotillion, and the contradance,arguingthat these dances were both "Africanized" and adaptedfor sacredpurposes,as well as restructured become the basis of to

510 REED popularculture in the New World (Szwed & Marks 1988:29). Some of these hybriddances, such as the cakewalk, became phenomenallypopularin North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, even becoming an international dance craze (Malone 1996). Rangerdocumentshow the Beni-ngoma or "drumband"complex of East Africa, a caricatureof the Europeanmilitaryparade, became incorporatedinto social practices that predated colonialism (Ranger 1975). The matachines dance, performedwidely in Native American and Hispanic communities throughoutthe Americas, derives from medieval European folk dramas and was brought to the New World by the Spanish (Rodriguez 1996:2; see also Poole 1990:114). Most scholars, according to Rodriguez, agree it was brought for the purpose of "Christianizingthe Indians," and as it is performedtoday it "symbolically telescopes" centuries of ethnic relations as interpretedwithin individual communiIberian-American ties (Rodriguez 1996:2). In some colonized societies, imitations of European dances became a means of upwardmobility, much as the speaking of Europeanlanguages and the wearing of Europeandress could become markersof prestige and status. Ness, for example, shows how a Phillipine dance, the troupe sinulog, develfeaturesfromHispanicperformoped in the late 19thcenturyby incorporating ance forms such as the war dance/drama,comedia, and the dances of Spanish Catholicboy choristers(Ness 1992). Ness arguesthatthis process was partof a wider movement towardsEuropeanization among Cebu elites in the 19th century, in which elements of European,especially Spanish,culturewere considered marksof cosmopolitanism.

Nationalism and Ethnicity

Since at least the 19th century,dance and music have emerged as potent symbols of identity for ethnic groups and nations worldwide. Studies of dance, ethnicity, and national identity have explored the "objectification"of dance as national culture (Handler 1988), the politics of the category of "art" (Hughes-Freeland 1997), the reconstruction of tradition (Kaeppler 1993b), the reinforcementand contestation of gender, ethnic, and class stereotypes (Daugherty & Pitkow 1991, Mendoza 1998, Mendoza-Walker 1994, Reed 1998), the role of competitive dance in transforming tradition (Stillman 1996), the multiple resonances of dance and national identity (Taylor 1987), and the practicesof dance as complex social commentarieson interethnicrelations (Rodriguez 1996; Sweet 1980, 1985). Europeandance scholars or "choreologists" have long focused on documentingthe structureof folk dances of ethnic minorities in a rather decontextualized manner (Giurchescu & Torp 1991), although more recently, several Europeanscholars have turnedto the study of the politics of folk dance as nationalistpractice (Quigley 1993). Vail

POLITICS DANCE 511 OF has examined how Balkan folk dance in a New Englandcommunitywas constituted as a site for middle-class white Americans to play both an idealized egalitarianAmerican "self' and an exotic Old Countrypeasant "Other"(Vail 1996). Dance is a powerful tool in shapingnationalistideology and in the creation of national subjects, often more so than are political rhetoric or intellectual debates (Meyer 1995). The role of stateinstitutionsin the promotionandreformation of national dances has been documentedin a numberof studies (Austerlitz 1997; Daniel 1991, 1995; Manning 1993, 1995; Mohd 1993; Ramsey of 1997; Reed 1991, 1995; Strauss 1977). The appropriation the culturalpractices of the ruralpeasantryor of the urbanlower classes by the state is a pervasive strategy in the development of national cultures throughoutthe world, whetheras indicationsof the dominanceof one ethnic group or as displays of culturalpluralism. In many postcolonial nations, the dancer of the valorized national dance comes to be idealized as an emblem of an authenticprecolonial past. Where necessary, dancers come to stand in for the nation at local, regional, national, and internationalfestivals and other occasions. As an embodimentof cultural heritage,the dancerbecomes inscribedin nationalisthistories and is refigured to conform to those histories, yet ambivalence about the dancers and their practices is often evident because the practices themselves often resist being fully incorporatedinto nationalist discourses. Indeed, the very aspects that of make dances appealingand colorful as representations the past may be preof cisely the things that do not easily fit into the self-representation the nation. Vestiges of folk religion (Reed 1991), eroticism(Meduri 1996), and social critique in the performanceof dancesmay sometimesbe a source of discordin the presentationof an idealized national image. Political ideologies play a critical role in the selection of national dances. Strauss'sstudy examines the ideological reasons for the adoptionof ballet during China's Cultural Revolution, emphasizing its narrative possibilities, movement vocabulariesthat stressed strengthand action, and its flexibility in expressing gender equality throughmovement (Strauss 1977). Daniel's studies of the Cuban rumbarepresenta particularlystriking case in which a national dance form was selected almost exclusively for ideological reasons related to its identity with a particular community-the lower-class, darkskinned workersof Cuba(Daniel 1991, 1995). Although therewere two other legitimate contendersfor the position-the conga, an easier, more participatory form, and the son, the most popularsocial dance of Cuba-the rumbawas selected by the governmentbecause it was viewed as most closely supporting the ideals of a socialist, egalitarianstate, and because it expressed an identification with African-derived aspects of Cuban culture (Daniel 1995:16). In Cuba, the Ministry of Culturewas the key agent in the organizationof rumba



(indeed, of all the performingarts), directingamateurdances at neighborhood culturalhouses (casas de cultura) and overseeing three professional folkloric dance companies. In the context of state institutions,recontextualization dance usually enof tails the domestication of dance, the taming of its potentially disorderly elements. Forexample, while in the earlypostrevolutionary periodrumbawas associated with drinking,public revelry, and even fighting, Daniel suggests that subsequent government support for the dance promoted its shift from this ratherunrulyatmosphereto the more contained,controlledsites of the culture house and the stage (Daniel 1995:61). Indeed,today the dance is highly regulated, particularlyin the ConjuntoNacional troupe, where no innovations or "mixed"dances are allowed. Artistic freedom is limited by the state, and the original spontaneouscharacterof rumbahas been suppressed. Regulating purity and authenticityin folkloric dance in a patriarchaland protective mode is a common featureof state and elite interventions,often indexing notions of a defensive cultureunderseige. In Ireland,such an authoritarianapproachto dance is evident in the regulationsof the Gaelic League's Irish Dancing Commission that "controls virtually every aspect of Irish dance from transmissionto performance"and forbids the teaching, learning, and performing of Irish dance without the approval of the Commission (Meyer 1995:31; see also Hall 1996). Although occurring outside the paof rametersof state control, the "ossification"and standardization the Catalan sardana is cited by Brandes as an indicator of the legitimate defense of the Catalansagainst the threatof Castilian culturalhegemony in Spain (Brandes 1990). The domestication and regulationof a ritualdance form is exemplified in Ramsey's study of the relationshipsbetween nationalism,Vodou, and tourism in postoccupationHaiti of the 1930s throughthe 1950s (Ramsey 1997). Ramsey illustrateshow the state transformedthe powerful ritualpracticeof vodou into a symbol of Haitianidentity. Vodou in Haiti was a potent symbol in two distinct senses, both of which, from the point of view of the state, necessitated its domestication.First,while Vodou had been a site of resistancefor over two centuries in Haiti, in the West it had been an object of sensationalistfascination for nearlyas long (Ramsey 1997:347). This exotic image, however, which had proved quite successful in drawingtouristsalso caused considerableconof cern for the state, whose efforts to control culturethroughstandardization as Ramsey argues, only partially successful. The process by dance, were, which the stateattemptedto containcultureis a familiarone of sanitizationand desacralization,attemptingto separatedance fromritual,andmagic and superstition from more appropriate aspects of folklore. The attemptsat state control in over dance were extraordinary; 1949, for example, when Jean-LeonDestine, Haiti's premierdancer,was asked to organize a nationalfolklore troupe,

POLITICS DANCE 513 OF state ethnologists attendedhis performancesevery night to monitorhis representationsof Haitian identity (Ramsey 1997:365). National dances are derivedfromthe practicesof specific communities,but of the dynamics of the appropriation these practices and the effects they have on the communities of origin have often been overlooked in the literatureon "inventedtraditions."Reed's ethnographicstudies of the Kandyan dance of Sri Lankafocus on the centralrole of traditionalritualdancersin the recontextualizationof dance from a specialized ritualpractice to popularsecular form (Reed 1991, 1995). While acknowledgingthe criticalrole of the statein this refiguration,which has resulted in an almost entirely secular form of the dance, Reed explores the means by which traditionaldancers fought to retain some semblance of the dance's ritualmeaning, even as it became increasingly simpractices. plified and standardizedwithin the structuresof state bureaucratic Tracing the development of Kandyan dance since the colonial period, Reed also shows how the culturalpolitics of Tamil and Sinhalarivalriesmade dance a focal point for the reification of ethnic identities. In state-sponsoreddance seminars and programsand in dance history texts, for example, oppositional categories of Sinhalaand Tamil are reinforced,despite the quite obvious family resemblances between the Kandyan dance and its Tamil counterpart, bharata natyam. The emotional power of dance as national symbol is evoked in Shapiro's studies of Cambodian court dance in contemporaryrefugee communities (Shapiro 1994, 1995). Refugee Cambodiandancers are seen as emblems of the Cambodiannation as it existed prior to the Khmer Rouge, and the sustenance of the elaborateand difficult courtdance form, with its more than 4500 gestures and postures, is experienced by Cambodiansas a continuity with a place and a past from which they have been severed. Duringthe brutalrepressions of Pol Pot, in which scores of dancersand otherartistswere killed, dancers had to deny theirown identitiesto survive, and they kept the dance alive by practicing the gestures and movements in the darkness of night (Shapiro 1995). After the devastationsof Cambodiancultureby the KhmerRouge, the court dance traditions came to stand for all that was lost, "the soul of the Khmer,"andthe burdenof healing the body politic is now in the handsof master dancers. With few exceptions (Daniel 1996, Kaeppler 1977), tourist dances, although often discussed in passing in the context of other concerns, have received surprisinglylittle attentionfrom anthropologists,despite their obvious importance in constituting ethnic and national representationsof self and Other.This may well reflect anthropology'scontinued attachmentto authenticity, and the taints of impurityand corruptionoften associated with tourism. Malefyt's study of the traditionaland commercial forms of the Spanish flamenco places touristperformancesin a wider context of genderedconceptions

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of cultureand authenticity(Malefyt 1998). Malefyt explores how aficionados of the dance deploy discourses of purityand impurity,"inside"and "outside," to create exaggerated distinctions between the public (masculine), commercialized performancesand the closed, private, and intimate(feminine) sphere of privateflamenco clubs. Malefyt's work thus echoes other studies that show how protectionof the feminine is linked to the defense of purityin culturaltraditions.

Dance in a Global Context

The study of dance within contemporaryglobal/transnational contexts is an arenaripe for anthropologicalinvestigation. The influences of migrationand media, especially electronic media (Appadurai1996), on the productionand receptionof dancehave only recentlyreceived attentionfromdance andmovement analysts.The ways in which ballet has been "indigenized"and transformed is the subject of Ness's study of the Igorot, a Philippinetransnational as ballet (Ness 1997). Arguingagainsta simple view of appropriation "cultural Ness demonstrateshow Igorot is produced as an original and imperialism," creativeformthatselectively referencesboth ethnic andballetic styles. The result is neitherentirely Filipino nor Western,but rathera complex hybridthat produces contradictoryeffects. On the one hand, the Igorot is, Ness argues, a "decolonizing"dance thatemploys a complex movementvocabularyto create a form of Philippine self-representation(1997:68). On the other hand, the dance has the effect of reifying an identificationof the Igorot with all Filipinos, thus promotinga conservative agenda that denies the internalethnic diversity and hierarchyof the Philippinenation state (1997:80). MartaSavigliano's complex text on the tango is a majorwork that engages theories to producea provocative feminist, postcolonial, and poststructuralist accountof the Argentiniannationaldance (Savigliano 1995). Savigliano presents tango as a complicated,contradictory practicethathas been producedand continues to be reproducedthroughmultiple processes of exoticization. With historical and ethnographicdocumentationand nuancedmovement analyses, accompaniedby a score of illustrationsof dancers,publicity flyers, programs, and dance manuals,Savigliano details the very complex lives the tango has led in Argentina and in the cultural capitals of London, Paris, and Tokyo. As a symbol of the passionateOtherand of exotic culturein a global capitalisteconomy, Savigliano shows the many ways in which the tango has been commodified for "imperialconsumption."In addition,she demonstrateshow the tango has become the object of a process of "auto-exoticization" the colonized by themselves. Savigliano's focus on the global context of the productionand appropriation of tango is among the book's most significant contributions.As she tells

POLITICS DANCE 515 OF us, the imperial, bourgeois classes of Europe constituted the exotic as both desirable and repulsive, fascinating and scandalous. Unlike other exotic dances (such as the African American cake-walk and the Brazilian maxixe), the tango did not have a clear-cutclass or race identity, and its erotic character was displayed as a process of controlled seduction, not instinctive or wild sexuality. Tango, in short, was highly malleable, an "exotic dance that could easily be stretched in various directions"(Savigliano 1995:114). In order to make the exotic palatableas a Europeanpractice,however, elements of its raw and passionate "primitiveness"had to be reshapedto suit cosmopolitan aesthetic sensibilities. Dance mastersin early 20th centuryParisplayed a key role in standardizing dance, simplifying its improvisationalcharacteristicsinto the a morallyacceptableset of steps, while tango manualsand congresses contributed to its domestication, "a choreographictransformationsuited to French mannersand good taste" (Savigliano 1995:122). Of considerable import for anthropologistsis Savigliano's discussion of "auto-exoticization,"the process by which the colonized come to represent themselves to themselves throughthe lenses of the colonizers. Globally, dance has come to play this role in many postcolonial nations, and Savigliano's deinto the exotic scriptionof how tango played back home afterits incorporation dance repertoireof Europeis relevantfor analyzingmore generallythe role of the arts in constitutingnational identities. Although tango originated among the low working-class sectors of Argentina's Rio de la Plata region in the 1880s, it was only after it achieved fame in the world's culturalcapitals in the 20th centurythatit became popularthroughout Argentina.Moreover,this reintroductionof tango also broughtwith it new ideas about the social and moral meanings of dancing-ideas that were culturallydependenton the colonizers (Savigliano 1995:137). Savigliano's analysis maintains the tension between two key effects of exoticization:one thatis empowering,grantinglocal recognition to certainsocial groupsandtheirpractices,the otherco-opting andbinding, reifying a "tasteful"exotic that served to maintain the (neo)colonized population's dependent status. As Savigliano points out, the (neo)colonizers maintainthe upperhandin this process, the threatof withdrawalof recognition always being in their power. The role of media and mediating images in the representationand presentation of bodily practicesis exploredby Zarrilliin his study of the Indianmartial art form kalarippayattu (Zarrilli 1998). Zarrilli, who situates kalariptransnational zone of late 20th century"pubpayattu within the contemporary lic culture" (Appadurai& Breckenridge 1988), examines how "an increasingly diverse group of cultureproducersand their audiences"are using mass media to shape martialpractices (Zarrilli 1998: 4). Zarrilli's interestis in "the dynamic and shifting relationshipbetween body, bodily practice[s], knowledge, power, agency and the practitioner's'self or identity, as well as the dis-

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courses and images of the body and practice createdto representthis shifting (Zarrilli1998: 4). He outlines a model for the study of these varirelationship" ous domains as a complex of four interactivearenas:(a) the "literal"arenasof practice, such as the trainingground, competitions, and the public stage; (b) the social arenasof the school, lineage, and formal associations;(c) the arena that of"culturalproduction" generateslive or mediatedpresentationsor representations such as films; and (d) the arena of experience and selfformation-the individual'sexperienceof embodiedpracticein the shapingof a self (Zarrilli 1998:9). The impact of media images on popular reception and practices of dance is explored in Franken'shistorical account of the changing image of female dancers in Egyptian film and television (Franken 1996). Frankenargues that female dance form in Egypt and other parts the emergence of a "respectable" to of the Arab world can largely be attributed the enormouspopularityof the cinematic dance performances of a single dancer, Farida Fahmy. While Fahmydancedin a style thatwas recognizablyEgyptian,her modest costumes and the de-eroticized context of her dancing projected an image of a "sweet Egyptiangirl who was a truedaughterof the country-the antithesisof the image of the belly-dancer who appeared in cabarets and films" (Franken 1996:279). Though Fahmy's films were made in the 1960s, they are still shown on television throughoutthe Middle East, and thus continueto popularize ideas about dancing and respectability far beyond Egypt (Franken 1996: 282).


If we accept as a given that gender is not an essential quality or characteristic but one that is largely performative,it is evident that dance studies have much to contributeto researchon gender identities. In comparisonto otherperformance forms such as theatre(Senelick 1992), dance has been in many societies one of the few sites where women can legitimatelyperformin public (Thomas 1993:72). While there have been many studies of male and female dances as evidenced in Hanna's crossculturalsurvey (1988), surprisinglyfew have engaged with the largerdebates in the anthropologyof gender and sexuality as they have developed in recent decades. Dance is an importantmeans by which cultural ideologies of gender difference are reproduced.Throughmovement vocabulary,costuming,body image, training,and technique, discourses of dance are often rooted in ideas of naturalgenderdifference, as Daly describes for the classical ballet (1987/88). Movement lexicons of males and females often demonstratethe ideals of gendereddifference in action. In the Cubanrumba,for example, male dancersuse

OF POLITICS DANCE 517 dance as an arena for exhibiting strength, courage, and bravado, while women's dance is generally softer, subtler,more cautious, and graceful (Daniel 1995). However, dance performancesare also sites of gender-crossing, mixing, and reversal (Grau 1993a, 1995). There are numerousexamples of males performing in the costumes and manners of the stereotypical female, some as parodiesof female dancing, othersas homoeroticismor provocationsto samesex erotic encounters (Hanna 1988:57-59). The meaning of role reversals is highly complex and not at all self-evident. In Africa, where women adopting "maletraits"in collective dances is fairly widespread,Spencernotes the widerangingmeanings that anthropologistshave ascribedto these types of dances, including temporaryrelease from subservience, veiled protest against male domination, competitiveness between women, and fulfillment of traditional roles in rites of passage (Spencer 1985:3). Women, Sexuality, and Dance Prohibitionson and regulationof dance practicesare often accurateindices of prevailingsexual moralitieslinked to the regulationof women's bodies. In her historical account of Americanadversariesof dance from the 17th centuryto the present, Wagner argues that opposition to dance, propagatedmostly by white, male Protestantclergy and evangelists, was largely based on a fear of women, the body and the passions (Wagner 1997). Over the centuries, the most extensive opposition to dance focused on the alleged or actualsexual immoralityof dancingor its environment.Dance opponentscast women as either "pureand pious"-in need of protection from dance-or "fallen and sinful," andthereforeeithervictims or perpetuators the evils of dance. Oppositionto of dance was also relatedto Protestantclerics' emphasis on strictrationalityand the devaluationof the body. As a "merely"physical activity, dancingwas dismissed as a waste of time because "neithermind nor spiritwas edified" (Wagner 1997: 395). Dance is often an ambivalent and problematicperformance site for women as it demonstratescontradictory ambivalentattitudesabout and female sexuality. Cowan discusses how female sexuality is regardedin northern Greece as both pleasurableandthreatening.In dancing,women areencouraged to display theirbeauty, energy, skill, sensuality, and even seductiveness, while they are simultaneouslyviewed with suspicion for drawingtoo much attention to themselves or failing to maintain self-control (Cowan 1990:190). Because of the inherentambiguityof bodily actions, there is often no consensus on what distinguishes "a 'legitimately' sensual and pleasing gesture from one that 'goes too far,'" and thus, for women, the pleasures of dance are often ambiguous (Cowan 1990:190-91). Furthermore,dance performances can exhibit and generate gender/class conflicts regardingthe appropriateness sexually provocative dance moveof

518 REED ments for women. In urbanSenegal, women's dances range from bawdy and explicitly sexual to highly restrainedmovements (Heath 1994). While traditional dancingis consideredto be "women's business,"dancingis also considaftermarriage.Yet theirperered risky for a woman's reputation,particularly formancesare requiredfor public ceremonies, and men's reputationseven depend on them. However, upper-classmen often try to controlthe dancers-inratherthansexual expressivity.Women,however, often resisting on restraint, sist, testing the limits of appropriateness sneaking in risque movements, by thus attemptingto defy total control by males (1994:93). A numberof studies illustratethe contradictionsand ambiguities of dance for women in Islamic societies (al Faruqi 1978). In the "Iranianculture sphere,"which includes diaspora communities, Shay (1995) argues that the bazi-ha-ye nameyeshi, a women's theatricaldance-play performed only for women, is simultaneouslya site of bawdy, erotic expression and also a social critiquethatreinscribesa patriarchal system in which women are defined pritheirhusbands.Deaver's study of SaudiArabianbelly dancing marilythrough as (a termused by her informants)echoes this interpretation, women dance for each otherin a competitiveway, displayingtheirwealth, social status,and sexual desirability (Deaver 1978). Outside the safety of the feminine private sphere are professional female dancers. Van Nieuwkerk's historical and ethnographic account of professional female belly dancers and singers in Cairo explores the way in which these performersnegotiatetheiridentitieswithin religious and classed discourses of honor and shame, while also showing how Orientaliststereotypesof the dancersstill persist in contemporary Egypt (van Nieuwkerk 1995). A key contributionof Buonaventura'slavishly illustrated book on baladi (belly dance) is her documentationof Orientalistrepresentations of dancers in 19th and early 20th century paintings, photographs,and other media (Buonaventura1990). Kapchan'sanalysis of the many "bodies"ofshikhat, Moroccanfemale performerswho representthe quintessentialtransgressivefemale in Moroccansociety, highlights the complexity of dancers' identities and both the costs of marginalityand its freedoms (Kapchan 1994). As exemplarsof the quality of matluqat-free, unlimited and unrestricted-shikhat are admiredas "lively, animated,spirited,"embodying featuresof "exhilarationand flowing movement"(1994: 94). At the same time, the "loose language"of the shikha, both corporealand linguistic, is seen as inseparablefrom her shamefulmoral character (1994: 86). Describing the multiple "bodies" of the dancers, Kapchan evokes the complex meanings of these performers.The "competentbody" of the dancer denotes her as an artist of the physical, exemplifying her sexual prowess, while the "nonsense body" is an expression of subversion and the camivalesque(1994: 93-95). However, these more pleasurablebodies come at the cost of the "exiled body" (1994: 96). Shikhatmay be independentand fun-

POLITICS DANCE 519 OF loving, but the majorityhave been rejectedby their families and thus uprooted from place, a state which Kapchandescribes as "...the greatesthardshippossible" in Moroccan society (1994: 97). Critiquing"resistance"as a limited construct for understandingthe role of the shikhat, Kapchannotes how, despite their independence,shikhatalso internalize"...the dominantvalue system that degradestheir materialand spiritualworth"(1994: 96). Dance and Feminist Theory. Gaze and Reception As dance historianAnn Daly has indicated,the common interests of feminist scholarshipand dance studies would suggest a naturalalliance (Daly 1991a), althoughas yet, few anthropologicalstudies of dance have drawnexplicitly on feminist theories. Daly's study of Isadora Duncan and American culture (1995) provides an importantmodel for interpretingthe culturalsignificance of theatricaldance and the importanceof audiences. Daly presents a complex and fluid model for understanding ways in which dancersmirror,contest, the and transform gender, ethnic, and class identities. One of Daly's primary points is her definition of the body as a complex, contradictory,and ever which is constructeddialogichangingculturalsite of"discursive intercourse" cally by the dancer and her audiences (1995:17). Daly's extensive research into primary sources of Duncan's audience of mostly upper-class white women (dance reviews, articles, and memoirs) provides the basis for her analysis. In foregroundingthe importanceof reception as co-creation,Daly's analysis is highly suggestive for anthropologistswho, with few exceptions (Hanna 1983), have tendedto focus primarilyon performersor the contexts of performance. While the "male gaze" (Kaplan 1983, Mulvey 1975) and the genderedreception and readingof dances has been the subjectof considerablecriticaldiscussion by dance historians and sociologists (Coorlawala 1996, Daly 1992, Manning 1997, O'Shea 1997, Thomas 1996), there has been little ethnoMiller's study of samegraphicresearchon dance receptionand spectatorship. sex female sexual dancing in the Trinidadiancarnivalunderscoresthe critical importanceof exploring gender in the interpretationof dance (Miller 1991), although one wishes he had furtherexplored this dimension of analysis. In Trinidad,lower-class women's dance groupsperformin a sexually expressive way, often parodyingmen. Indeed, in the Carnivalof the late 1980s, same-sex female dancing had become so conspicuous that the Trinidadianmen Miller interviewed deemed it an expression of "lesbianism gone rife" (1991:333). This interpretation was considered incomprehensibleby Miller's female consultants,who, accordingto Miller, did not carewith whom they danced. Situating his interpretationwithin the wider contexts of cross-gender relations among the lower classes, Miller argues that this form of sexual dancing,

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known as "wining,"is not homoerotic,but actuallya dance of"autosexuality," a sexuality not dependentupon men (1991:333).


In the last ten years, anthropologistsand dance scholarshave made significant contributionsto culturalanalyses of bodies in motion, situatingtheir studies in relation to broader issues of social and philosophical theory (Farell 1994, 1995a,b; Foster 1992, 1995b; Lewis 1992, 1995; Novack 1990, 1995). The works of Bourdieu, Foucault, Merleau-Ponty,and Peirce, in particular,have provided analysts opportunitiesfor critique and reflection. Anthropologists Lewis and Farell, for example, have demonstrated how the legacies of Cartesian mind/body dualism permeatethe language and categories of theories of embodiment,providingdifficulties for movementanalysis (Lewis 1992, 1995; Farell 1994, 1995b). Famell shows how these categories have resulted in an "absenceof the person as a moving agent"in the Westernphilosophical tradition and suggests that the "new realist" philosophy of science espoused by Harr6holds much promise for transcendingmaterialist/immaterialist categories (Famell 1994). Lewis proposes that a dialogue between the phenomenological approachesof Peirce and the continental phenomenologists, such as Merleau-Ponty,can contribute greatly to clarifying cross-culturalissues of embodiment(Lewis 1995: 228). The body as a conceptualobjecthas been the subjectof much debateamong dance scholars,andthe interventionsof CynthiaJeanCohenBull1 have played a critical role in reconceptualizationsof the body in dance studies. Bull was one of the pioneers of a phenomenological approach,and her untimely death frombreastcancerin 1996 left an enormousgap in the world of dance scholarship. Fortunately,Bull's considerablebody of writings remaina rich source of insight and analysis on the culturalstudy of dance; DeirdreSklarhas provided an elegant summaryof her life and work (Sklar 1997). In an article on "the body's endeavors as culturalpractices,"Novack critiques some dominantconceptualizationsof the body as they have been formulated in anthropology,as well as in the field of dance studies (Novack 1995). Citing a call for papersfor a 1990 anthropologicalconferenceon the body, Novack notes how the categories listed in the notice "positedthe body as an obby ject, manipulated externalforces in the service of something:religion (body as icon), the state (the discipline of the body), gender(the feminine body), and so on" (1995:179). Novack argues that while these categories articulatesome

Most of the works of Cynthia Jean Cohen Bull were published underthe name of Cynthia Novack. In the last monthsof her life, Cynthiarequestedthather name be changed.


aspects of social experience, they do not capturethe full experiential significance of the body as a responsive and creative subject(1995:179-80). In addition, Novack also cautions against reifying "thebody" as the primaryanalytic category in dance studies. In some contexts, she argues, it may be that ideas about sound, movement and social ethics are more culturallyrelevant for understanding"bodily endeavors"(1995:183). This perspective resonates with Turner'semphasis on the utility of studying "bodiliness"and "productiveactivity" ratherthan isolated individualand boundedbodies (Turner1995:150), and his insight that the social body is producedas an "ensembleof bodily activities" (Turner1995:166). "Dance, perhapsmore than any otherbody-centeredendeavor,cultivates a body thatinitiates as well as responds ..." (Foster 1995b:15). Foster's essay on the body in dance includes an importantcritiqueof Foucault and emphasizes the agency of the body as a vital counterbalance the neglect of agentive bodto ies in traditionaldance studies: "Thepossibility of a body that is writtenupon but thatalso writes moves critical studies of the body in new directions.It asks scholars to approachthe body's involvement in any activity with an assumption of potential agency to participatein or resist whatever forms of cultural productionareunderway"(Foster 1995b:15). Like Novack and Turner,Foster does not posit a stablecategoryof the body, but ratherconsiderssuch questions as "Whatbodies are being constructedhere?"or "How do these values find embodiment?" or "How does this body figure in this discourse?" (Foster 1995b:12). The agentive nature of dance has often linked it to notions of resistance (Martin1990) and control (Limon 1994), althoughrecent criticisms of the use of the resistance concept (Abu-Lughod 1990, Ortner1995) will undoubtedly lead to refinementsin futuredance studies. Paradoxically,while some aspects of the experience of dance may engenderkinestheticsensationsof power, control, transcendence,and divine union, other aspects may locate it within paraThis stress on the paradoxof digms of ideological repressionor subordination. in dance was early formulatedby ethnomusicologist John Blacking, agency who arguedthat"ritualmay be enactedin the service of conservativeand even oppressive institutions...but the experience of performing the nonverbal movements and sounds may ultimately liberate the actors...Performancesof dance and music frequently reflect and reinforce existing ideas and institutions, but they can also stimulatethe imaginationand help to bring coherence to the sensuous life..." (Blacking 1985:65). This quality of dance as simultaneously productive and reproductiveis echoed by Novack, who remarksthat "Dance may reflect and resist culturalvalues simultaneously,"noting the example of the ballerinawho "embodies and enacts stereotypes of the feminine while she interpretsa role with commandingskill, agency and a subtlety that denies stereotype"(Novack 1995:181).



Novack's major ethnographic work on contact improvisation (1990), a modem communaldanced "art-sport" focuses on the physical sensations that of "touching, leaning, supporting, counterbalancing,and falling with other people" (Novack 1990:8), locatedthis formwithin "Americanculture"(a term she unfortunatelydid not adequatelyproblematize).Novack provides a comprehensive analysis of several aspects of contact improvisation,following her notion that in orderto understandany dance form, one must take into account the interplay of its different facets: (a) the "art"(choreographicstructures, movement styles, techniques of dance); (b) the institutions (local, national, global) in which it is practicedand performed;and (c) those who participatein it as performers,producers,spectatorsand commentators(Novack 1995:181). In her study, Novack addresseseach of these, situatingthe dance in relationto particularhistorical circumstancesand showing how the meanings of movement and constructionsof the body changedover two decades, from the 1960s to the 1980s. Drawingon her own long-termexperiencein learningcontactimof provisation,Novack provides a rich, sensual interpretation movement that is sensitive to the centralityof the body, as well as to the ways in which culture shapes and is shapedby it. Novack's attentionto historicizing the body in culture is one of her main contributionsto dance scholarship. In a discussion of theatricaldance forms in 20th centuryAmerica, for example, Novack articulatesthe differences between the ways in which bodies are conceptualized in ballet ("as an instrument which must be trained to conform to the classical movement vocabulary"),in moderndances of the 1930s and 1940s ("a more expressionist view of the body... in which internalfeelings were realized in externalmovement"), and in dances of the postwar period (a model of the body that was "moreabstract, or objective, and more phenomenological") (Novack 1990:31). But Novack also looks beyond theatrical dance to other cultural influences on the body, exemplified by rock dancing, experimental theatre, and bodily based therapiessuch as Alexandertechnique,yoga, and meditation.In taking this broad perspective, Novack situates contact improvisation in relation to wider currents of change in the 1960s regarding conceptualizations of the body. Both the sensual/sensibleexperience of dance and its culturalmeanings are the focus of a comparativearticleby Bull thatdrawson Paul Stoller's formulation of"sensibility" and "intelligibility"(Bull 1997; Stoller 1989). Exploring how ballet, contact improvisation,and West African dance stressthe senses of charactersight, touch, and sound, respectively, Bull arguesthatthe particular istics of each dance form, as well as its modes of transmissionand performance, encourage"prioritiesof sensationthat subtly affect the natureof perception itself" (1997:285). Bull thus hypothesizes that dance "finely tunes"culturally variable sensibilities, raising importantquestions about the transmis-

POLITICS DANCE 523 OF sion of dance from one culturalsetting, or historical period, to another(Bull 1997:285). Body, space, movement, culture, and history are explored in Sally Ness's ethnographyof the sinulog, a dance form of the Philippine port city of Cebu of (Ness 1992). Throughher interpretations the varieties of sinulog dancing, Ness connects a number of issues in the field of dance and movement in an original way. Ness's key conceptual innovation is the use of a category she calls "choreographicphenomena." By deploying this category in contexts where the term dance would be too narrowor confining, Ness both draws attention to a wider arrayof patternedbody movements-such as those found in ritualpractices-and provides linkages between these more public and formal structures and the more commonplace moves of walking or handholding. Throughthe use of analogies, Ness demonstrateshow both the visual and the sensory qualities of movement can be expressed in language. Her description of the opening move in the ritualsinulog is typical: "Imaginegentle currentsof energy, flowing freely throughand beyond your body, formingwarmpools of movement in the space just aroundyou. Your hands are broughtto life in this softly pulsing current.They wave aroundin the watery space, leaving invisible traces of theirmovement in the air. The currentspreadsdown your legs, which begin to bear your body's weight alternately,subtly shifting your body from side to side throughthe liquid space in a slight sway..." (Ness 1992:1). Interpretingmovement, however, also requires a sensitivity to cultural space. As Ness shows, space is not an inertbackdropfor movement,but is integral to it, often providingfundamentalorientationand meaning. In an analysis of the urbanenvironmentof Cebu,Ness ranges from a descriptionof the street plans and built environmentto a discussion of the structuredmovements of walking, traffic, and ritual dance, drawing out patternsof continuitybetween all of these. These patternsshe identifies as off-verticality,resiliency, and surface values, all of which manifestthemselves in a wide variety of contexts and constitute the fluidity of life thatNess notes as characteristicof Cebuanoculture. Williams draws attentionto the importanceof locating movement in space through an examination of a "bow" in three movement systems-tai chi, a Latin Mass, and a modem ballet (Williams 1995). In her discussion, drawing on ideas derived from Hertz and Dumont, Williams attends to the cultural meaningsof movements anddirectionssuch as up/down,right/left,front/back, and inside/outside. Employing Dumont's idea of a hierarchyof structural oppositions, she notes, for example, thatin Europeanculturemovements forward and backwardcorrelatewith temporal ideas of the future and the past. Williams argues that understandingbodies, spaces, and objects in terms of these structuraloppositions is essential for conceptualizatinghuman movement as intentionalaction.

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Lewis's study of the Braziliancapoeira-a complex culturalgenre that includes elements of martialart,dance, music, ritual,andtheatre-combines detailed analysis of movement with incisive commentarieson its social and cultural significance (Lewis 1992). In his study, Lewis draws on the insights of Peirceansemiotics and context-sensitive sociolinguistic theories (see also Urciuoli 1995) to illuminate capoeira as a kind of discourse, a "physical diabetween two partners,a conversationthattakes place logue" or "conversation" not talk. Viewing his primaryprojectas a contribution a gento throughaction, eral theory of signs in culture,Lewis attendsto both the formaland contextual aspects of the capoeira.The voices of capoeiramasters, as well as that of the anthropologist,are presentthroughoutthe text. One of the key contributionsof Lewis's study to dance and movement analysis is his use of a Peirceansemiotic perspectivethatemphasizesthe polyand the negotiated semy of sign systems, the multiplicity of interpretations, and unstablenatureof culturalproduction.While language has long been the privileged site of analysis in semiotic approaches influenced by Saussure, Lewis shows how Peirce's attention to the iconic and indexical features of signs may prove more illuminatingfor analyses ofextralinguistic sign systems such as dance and music (see also Feld & Fox 1994). While stressingthe conditioned and highly contextualizednatureof such systems, the Peircean perspective providesa broadview thatallows the analystto make links with other sign complexes within a society. Like Ness, Lewis demonstratesthat the relationships between everyday movements and movements in performanceare continuous,thoughnot identical,relatingto what Lewis calls a "culturalstyle" linking everyday life with art(1992:132). Culturalstyles, in Lewis's view "are composed of signs which are semiotically related but functionally and pragmatically diverse: able to function in many ways, mean many things, but all in the same 'way"' (1992:132). As Lewis indicates, culturalstyle is often embedded in physical habits and rarelyarticulated-thus dependenton the keen eye and body of the participant/observer. of Attentionto the multiple and contested interpretations movement in history, and the dilemmasof the anthropologistin sortingout these contestedhistories, is yet another importantaspect of Lewis's project. Throughouthis analysis, Lewis relatesthe movementsin capoeirato practitioners'accountsof their links to the culture of Brazilian slavery, and by extension, to Africa. While acknowledgingthe political meanings that such links may have in contemporaryculture,Lewis does not refrainfrom casting doubt on some prominent oral traditionsexplaining the origins of capoeira and he attemptsto sort out andexamine its multiple influences-Amerindian, African,and European. In his discussions of the "multiple semiotic channels" of capoeira-movement, music, and speech-Lewis frequently comments on the African and Europeaninfluences that are in evidence, or are meaningfulto capoeiramas-


ters. He also shows capoeira's links to other Afro-Brazilianmovement systems, such as the samba, and to African music and ritual aesthetics, making again a case for a distinctive culturalstyle (see also Lewis 1995:226). The threadthat binds this complex semiotic system together and links it to other facets of Afro-Brazilianculture is the theme of liberation, escape, and freedom: freedom from slavery, from class domination, from poverty, and even from the constraints of the body (Lewis 1992:2). Deception is a key means of achieving liberation,a traitthat Lewis suggests evolved under slavery as a "weaponof the weak" and has now become a centralvalue in contemporarysociety. In capoeira,many moves are made to deceive-a blessing that results in a kick (Lewis 1992:32), or the set of movements Lewis classes as "pretendto run away," in which a player initially feigns fear, only to turnand attack (1992:130). These tactics of deception, along with a host of other pretend movements (pretendto lose sight of the opponent,pretendto be injured, pretendto be angry, and so on), Lewis argues, are viewed as a necessary and valued aspect of life, both in and out of the capoeiraring. In capoeira,however, unlike in everyday life, deceptive tactics are revealed, and thus, truthsabout society are unmasked(1995:194). BarbaraBrowning's explorationof the Braziliansambaemploys vivid language to inscribe the "bodily writing" of dance, drawing the reader into the worlds of samba, candomble, and capoeira of Bahia and New York City (Browning 1995). In Brazil, Browningwrites, "Ibegan to thinkwith my body" (1995:xxii), and it was through her experience of Brazilian dancing that Browningconceived "entirelydifferentways of thinkingaboutlanguage,writnarrative,even irony"(1995:xxi). Browning conceives of ing, representation, her project as neitherpurely historicalnor purely semiotic analysis, but an account thatwould "allow for a synthesis of time and signs, which would be the only way to account for the complex speaking of the body in Brazil"(Browning 1995:9). The circle or roda of samba, candomble,and capoeirastandsas a metaphor through Browning's analysis; there is no linear progression, but ratherexpansion and always return.While Browning discusses the "secular" dance"of capoeirain sepasamba,the "religious"candomble,andthe "martial rate chapters,she makes clear that the boundariesbetween them are not at all clear, and that references to one may be encoded in another. The centralityof dance in tranceand healing has long been acknowledged by anthropologists(Bourguignon 1968), and a number of insightful studies have stressed body-centered or phenomenological approaches(Deren 1970; Drewal 1989, 1992; Devisch 1993; Friedson 1996; Kapferer1983; Katz 1982). In her discussion of the dances of the syncretic Afro-Brazilian CatholicYorubareligion of candomble,Browning explores a critical issue of representation in describingwhat anthropologistshave generally classified as "possession." What does it mean to be "mounted"by the gods, and how can one de-

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scribe its "divine choreography"?Like other writers who describe African trancedance as a manifestationof divine powers, Browning shifts from reading the body as the centralobject of analysis, to the orixas-the principles of nature-that standoutside of, and before, humancreativepotential(1995:42). In making this shift, Browning alters her analytic focus from the individual body to more culturally salient notions. But how is divinity representedin dance? Browning answers this question by undertakinga semiotic analysis of the is ways in which "orixachoreography" danced. The invocative dances of the orixas, subduedand subtle dances thatareperformedpriorto theirdescent, are not evocations or imitationsof the orixas,but a "prayer significance"and ofof to them (Browning 1995:70). For male gods, the dances are performed fering in referenceto the metonymic, physical objects that are associated with them; for goddesses, the dances tend to be embodied in relation to their principles. The lightning god Xango, for example, is invoked in a mannerin which the body of the dancercomes to resemblehis implement,the thunderaxe, while in dancing Yemanja, the goddess of salt waters, the dancer pulls her outstretched arms inward as if drawing the waters in at low tide (Browning 1995:65). Browning's conclusion is that representationsof divinity in candomble can be made contiguously or metonymically,but not mimetically, and grasping this essential principle enables one to interpretthe choreographyof candomble. Among the many stereotypesthat Browning countersin her book is the cathartictheory of dance and ritual (see Spencer 1985:3-8) that argues that the dances of the marginaland lower classes are a means to cope with the oppression of their lives by using dance as a temporary"escape"from everyday suffering. Browningprovidesan alternativereadingto this, assertingthatdance is not a retreatbut rathera means of remembering,a mode of "culturalrecord keeping" and a form of "culturalinscription"(Browning 1995:xxii), a "language in response to culturalrepression"(1995:174). As she concludes in her final chapter,"the insistence of Brazilians to keep dancing is not a means of forgettingbut rathera perseverence,an unrelentingattemptto intellectualize, theorize, understanda history and a present of social injustice difficult to believe, let alone explain"(Browning 1995:167). and As Ness, Lewis, andBrowningall demonstrate, patterning principlesof exist across domains of movement, space, materialobjects, music, continuity and verbal play. Though still a minor theme in dance scholarship,there is a small but important body of work thatexplores the connectionsbetween dance and othermodes of expressive culture.Kaeppler's studies of Tongan and Hawaiian dance, music, and poetry, for example, illustrate how key aesthetic principles are manifested in verbal, visual, and musical forms (Kaeppler 1993a, 1995, 1996). Feld's analysis of the Kaluli ceremonial dance of gisalo


explores how the Kaluli concept for style and aesthetics, "lift-up-oversounding," reverberates in sound, text, face painting, costume, and dance movements (Feld 1988, 1990a). Kersenboomhighlights how dance is integral to an understandingof the Tamil language (muttamil,literally "threeTamil") which, by definition, includes dance, music, and text (Kersenboom 1995). Otherstudies examine aesthetic and stylistic relationshipsbetween dance and music (Cheroff 1983, Erlmann 1996, Thompson 1966), dress (Kealiinohomoku 1979), mime (Royce 1984), and sculpture, painting, mythology, and literature(Gaston 1982, Thompson 1974, Vatsyayan 1968).

Since the mid-1980s, there has been an explosion of dance studies as scholars from a variety of disciplines have turnedtheir attentionto dance. Anthropologists have played a critical role in this new dance scholarship, contributing comparativeanalyses, critiquingethnocentriccategories, and situatingstudies of dance and movement within broaderframeworksof embodiment and the politics of culture.Counteringtheoriesof the body which view it primarilyas a site of inscription, dance scholars have demonstratedhow performersinvent and reinvent identities throughmovement. Dance scholars have also refuted notions of the body as an isolated entity by showing how a multiplicityof bodies is producedthroughdance. As scholars of dance and movement explore new ways of thinkingthrough and with the body, there is no doubt that they will continue to challenge conventions, undermining entrenched dualisms (e.g. mind/body, thinking/feeling), critiquingevolutionary,colonial, and nationalisttypologies (e.g. classical, folk, ethnic), exposing the limits of conceptualcategories (e.g. dance, art), and revealing dimensions of dance experience (e.g. the sensual, the divine) that have often been neglected in scholarly inquiry.

I would like to express my thanks to those friends and colleagues who provided much encouragementand critical commentaryon this review: E Valentine Daniel, Mary Des Chene, Jeanne Marecek, and Elizabeth Tolbert. I am grateful to J Lowell Lewis, Bill Smith, and Faye Harrisonfor useful suggestions in the final stages. AdrienneKaeppler,JanetO'Shea andthe late Cynthia Jean Cohen Bull generously provided numerousreferences.
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