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A Global View on Dance Appreciation

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A Global View on
Dance
Appreciation
Joan Frosch
Based upon "A Global View:
Dance Appreciation for the
21st Century," by Joan Frosch
(JOPERD, March 1991)
Introduction
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I have developed ten guidelines to
help you to appreciate dance from
a global perspective. The
guidelines are intended to help you
to:
create alternative ways of seeing
and understanding dance
examine biases as you view dance
develop tools for “reading dance”
FOUNDATION
QUESTIONS
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Consider the significance of the
question words: what, why, who,
when, and how of dance WITHIN
THE CULTURAL CONTEXT.
These questions form the
foundation for the ten guidelines to
appreciating dance.
QUESTION FROM POINT
OF VIEW OF DANCER
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What is the dance being
performed?
Why is being performed
(intention)?
Who is dancing? Who is
accompanying? Who is watching?
When is it being performed?
How is the dance performed? How
does the dance relate to its
audience (if any)?
GUIDELINE #1
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Define dance in the cultural
context. This frames discussion
and encourages discourse on the
experience of dance as part of the
greater picture of human life.
For example, the Native Americans
of the Hopi Nation call dance
“work,” that is sacred work,
intended to bring rain, good
harvest, healing, etc.
GUIDELINE #2
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Examine performance traditions as
expressions of values and dance
as a way of knowing
Some weddings may feature the
couple’s favored or “wedding song”
to which they dance-embracedboth symbolizing and expressing
the intrinsic value of heterosexual
love in Judeo-Christian societies.
GUIDELINE #3
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Rethink aesthetics within a crosscultural perspective, examining the
interplay of ethics and aesthetics.
What is perceived as “beautiful”and
by whom? How does that intersect
with what is perceived as “right” or
“good”? A “good” girl dances with
downcast eyes in a Djipo (West
African) initiation ceremony, which
is , in turn, part of the aesthetic of
the dance.
GUIDELINE #4
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Examine dance as it occurs in
society and its interface with
other arts.
Dance can be interdependent with
other arts. Within a particular
event, dance may be wedded to
drama, poetry, music (song,
instrumental music, body
percussion, etc.), costume/scenic/
makeup design, or other artistic
elements. Polynesian dance, is
often an adjunct of poetry-embodying the literary meaning.
GUIDELINE #5
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Explore the relationship of
dance to other ways of
organizing life experience
Life passages can use dance as a
marker of an event, emphasizing
the importance of the event to
society. Religious ritual, courtship
(your senior prom), healing,
protest, spiritual transformation,
may use dance to “formalize” the
event and help to separate it from
daily life.
GUIDELINE #6
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Examine dance as a repository
of cultural information within the
dynamic tension of continuity
and change
Royal dances of Cambodia were
targets for the Khmer Rouge
(1975) because they were seen as
vestiges of Cambodia’s “feudal
past.” Yet in 1979, the new
communist government restored
dance-both to gain legitimacy in
the eyes of Cambodians & to rally
national consciousness.
GUIDELINE #7
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Construct a historical overview
of the world of dance including
acknowledgment of the crossinfluences that have created
major dance cultures
Jazz is a form created through the
intersection of West African
rhythms and Euro-American
melody. The dance form reflects
the same cross-heritage. In so
doing, Jazz has become the
signature American music and
dance form.
GUIDELINE #8
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Examine the role(s) of the
dancer in society (chief/political
leader, worshipper, prima ballerina,
choreographer, priest, etc.)
The dancer may have a central or
an auxiliary role in passing on
culture within a society. In Asante,
the chief must become a dancer
who can convince his contituency,
through his dance skills, that he
knows understands and can lead
Asante people.
GUIDELINE #9
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Examine gender as a cultural
construction of reality and its
manifestation in dance
Constructs of maleness and
femaleness are carefully built.
Dance, so clearly ”of the body” is
often used to portray these
constructs. In western ballroom,
men lead; in Japanese traditional
Kabuki, men not only create but
perform the female roles; in ballet,
women balance precariously on
pointe while men support their
turns and lifts.
GUIDELINE #10
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Generate excitement about
dance as an art, an activity, a
career, a rich cultural heritage.
Finally, the kinesthetic and spiritual
experience of moving can be a
richly rewarding one-incorporating
our physicality, our senses, our
focussed attention, the totality of
our being. Further, it can
reintroduce to our own heritageand help us to celebrate and honor
the heritages of others. Agoro nya
odo mma: dance makes us
children of one family.
DEFINITION TO
REMEMBER: CULTURE
(1)
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DEFINITION TO REMEMBER
Remember culture is the totality of
socially transmitted behavior
patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions,
and all other products of human
work and thought characteristic of
a community or population
DEFINITION TO
REMEMBER: CONTEXT
(2)
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DEFINITION TO REMEMBER
Remember context is the set of
circumstances in which a particular
event occurs.
Attune to the differences of the
meaning of a dance according to
the context in which it is performed
DEFINITION TO
REMEMBER:
TRADITION (3)
DEFINITION TO REMEMBER
пЃ® Remember tradition is a mode of
thought or behavior followed by a
people (continuously) from
generation to generation.
пЃ® Attune to how traditions can be
“reinvented” according to
contemporary needs--especially
when there has been a gap in the
practice of the tradition.
DEFINITION TO
REMEMBER: VALUE (4)
DEFINITION TO REMEMBER
пЃ® Remember value is a principle,
standard, or quality considered
worthwhile or desirable.
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