Dance and Pop Culture

• Definition of Dance (Joann Kealiinohomoku)
Performer and observer must agree it is dance, mode of expression, purposefully selected movements
• 'Perceptions of Value' as related to dance:
How does the academy or the public perceive the dance? (high vs. low idea) and energy
• High Art v. Low Art:
High art-Considered more valuable by the academy and critics. Low art-Considered less valuable by the academy and critics and is linked more to popular art.
• Binary v. Spectrum
Binary-a pair of related concepts considered opposite in meaning. Spectrum-an open dialogue or spectrum. Not a vs. but a horizontal scale or idea.
• Socio-cultural v. Personal Lens
Our personal lens is more binary than a socio-cultural one. Think socio-culturally in dance. What is the bigger picture in a dance form?
• Two ways of engaging in dance scholarship/ Cartesian Split:
Specific scholar Jane Desmond. Mind and body (Europeanist).
• Three general components of dance - time, space and energy
Dance as a cultural text and can be analyzed
When: time
Where: space
How: Space
• Four Qualities of Popular or Mass Art (Noel Caroll):
Massification, passivity, formulaic, autonomy, perceived value affected by socio-cultural binary/binaries.
• Generalization v. Stereotype:
Generalizations are predictions of future action based on limited, but repeated, observation. Stereotype is a fixed and oversimplified idea of a group of people generally created and perpetuated by a more economically and/or politically powerful group of people.
• Migration and Transmission
Transmission occurs as cultures meet and dances travel.
• "Cultural Borrowing" v. "Appropriation":
Borrowing is giving credit or acknowledgement for use of dances or parts of dances. Whereas appropriation does not-use of dances or parts of dances without understanding or crediting the presumed culture of origin. Think of vogueing. An example of appropriation is Elvis Presley: took from African American roots but never gave credit or explained where it came from.
• Dances as Texts:
Cultural text that can be analyzed to gain understanding of the time, place, and people dancing
• Essentialism/ Ethnic Absolutism (Paul Gilroy):
reducing culture down to one thing (stereotypes) Think of the TED talk.
• All dance as ethnic (Joann Kealiinohomoku):
Reflects in common genetic, linguistic, and cultural ties and tradition where it was created
• 'Five Premises' for a Culturally Sensitive Approach to Dance (Dierdre Sklar):
movement knowledge is a cultural knowledge; movement knowledge as conceptual, emotional, kinesthetic; dance as a lens for other things; one must look beyond movement to see meaning (identity); movement is always an immediate corporeal experience (of the body)
• "Empathic Kinesthetic Perception" (Dierdre Sklar) or "Kinesthetic Empathy" (John Martin):
Feeling something from watching
• Aesthetics - European and African:
Kariamu Welsh Asante's 7 Commonalities of African Dance
Curvilinear, dimensionality, epic memory, holistic (community not individual), repitition
Brenda Dixon Gottschild's 5 Africanisms
Embracing the conflict, polycentrism/polyrhythm, high affect juxtaposition, ephebism, aesthetic of the cool
• "The Primitive Trope" (Gottschild):
Subconsciously implies lower class or lower art
• Dance as a Social Signifier:
Ex: the two-step. Think of the industrial revolution and the ideas of migration, translation, transmission. Rural to urban shift (more social opportunity)
• Significance of 'Progressive Era' to the development of social dance
Body as site of resistance-women changing their appearance (assertiveness, play time, social settings) -Cabaret
• Rag Dances through a sociocultural lens:
fast two step dances-physical closeness + animal dances
• Role and impact of exhibition ballroom teams
Hired and performed at cabarets, appeared in ads. Vernon and Irene Castle.
• The 19th Amendment:
Women's suffrage 1920, unescorted women at the strand roof garden in NYC, women's freedom.
• Vogue though a sociocultural lens:
Came out of the Ball culture, it was more about clothes and dancing in a new way
• The Stonewall Riots:
3 days against the police because club allowed gay dancing and it was a turning point for LGBT movement.
• Relationship of ballroom to mass identity construction:
Ballroom as a place is mass identity construction
• Mambo through a sociocultural lens
Commodification, racial dialogue
As a study of locations, transfers, imbalances of power among identities of power
• Cakewalk though a sociocultural lens:
Mimicry of plantation slave owners
• The 'Grey Scale' (Jane Desmond)
dances are no longer black nor white
• The Great Migration:
Groups came at different times and it was an explosion of new ideas
• The Harlem Renaissance
A lot of the new ideas coming from migration
• George "Shorty" Snowden
Beginnings of swing dance
• Disco through a sociocultural lens
influx of gay men, African Americans and then it became mainstream. Independent free form and sexual energy.
• 'The Feedback Loop'
Between music and dancer, new energy
• Headbanging, Pogoing and Skanking as Subculture
The importance of competition, subcultures of people who were punk, young, need a place to belong and express themselves.
• Robert Moses' Triborough Bridge
Split the Bronx neighborhood-cultural effects
• 'The White Flight'
Whites moved away from Bronx because of a decrease in housing prices and an influx of Puerto Rican immigrants
• Afrika Bambaataa
knowledge of African dances and formed zooloonation- a figure in Hip hop
• Rennie Harris' Three Laws of Hip-Hop:
Individuality, creativity, innovation
• Elements of Hip-Hop Culture:
Mcing/Mcs, breaking and dancers, graffiti artists and art, music and DJs, knowledge
• Cultural shift from Disco to Hip-hop
Saturday night fever, music industry, the Disco Sucks Movement: a primarily white homophobic reaction to the gay liberation and black pride
• Relationship of House dance to House music:
Underground in NYC, no regulation
• "Communitas," "Incipience" and "Liminality" as applied to House (Victor Turner):
Being on the edge
• "Vibing" and "Zoning" and relation to humor in House:
losing yourself and feeling the music
• Significance of 'The Break'
Most intense dancing, a break from life, slang for getting upset, related to the feedback loop-everyone can dance
• DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash:
invented the break techniques in music
• Four components of a 'solid improvisation' in Breaking
the top rock or up rock to feel the beat, your go down to the floor, the power moves or actual breaking, your finish freeze
• Significance of location to Breaking
many locations that involve different surfaces and shapes of surfaces as well as size. Cardboard and linoleum, circle or cipher, and small spaces with no disturbance.
Surface, shape, size
• 'The Cypher'
the circle-both acoustic and physical
• The Watts Riots
Racial segregation that involved significant violence
• The Rodney King Riots:
Police brutality, racial
• Tommy the Clown:
had a spiritual awakening in jail and wanted to do good for his community through dance
• Clowning v. Krumping
Tommy Johnson started clowning after his spiritual awakening. Hired specifically for party settings. Krumping is derived from krumping but not as extreme in costume or makeup. Not for the same entertainment purpose.
Spiritual significance in Krumping
personal expression and release. Physical blur between fighting, sports and dancing
• Turner's concept of 'Liminality' as applied to Krumping (Zanfagna):
constantly on the edge with your energy and expression