Democratizing Dance: Institutional Transformation and Hegemonic Re-Ordering in Postcolonial Jamaica

Peer Reviewed

Excerpt From Essay

"As someone who has been trained to privilege political economy over other modes of analysis, my attention to performance—and to the historical trajectories of various kinds of dance performance in particular—has generally been geared toward understanding what it can tell us about people's social, economic, and political consciousness and practice over time. First as a professional dancer and then as an anthropologist, performance for me has been a point of entry—a way to learn about unfamiliar people and places, to view complex and shifting relations of power and inequality, and to delight in the myriad creative ways people make sense of (and change) their lives. As a result, my metaphors may be a bit more structural than those of others'. I see the physicality of the body as the viscerally syntactical extension of the unpredictable movements of institutions through time and space (including transnational space), the body in motion (dancing on stage, dancing through space) as analogous to institutions in motion, and the movement of the body as reflecting social movement(s). This article is an analysis of the competing rhythms to which these bodies move, or less metaphorically speaking, of the relationship between dance and constructions of identity in the contexts of anticolonial nationalism and globalization."

"Democratizing Dance: Institutional Transformation and Hegemonic Re-Ordering in Postcolonial Jamaica," Deborah A. Thomas (512).

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