By Jacqueline Shea Murphy
Up to now thirty years, local American dance has emerged as a visual strength on live performance levels all through North the United States. during this first significant examine of latest local American dance, Jacqueline Shea Murphy indicates how those performances are instantaneously assorted and attached by means of universal affects. Demonstrating the complicated courting among local and glossy dance choreography, Shea Murphy delves first into U.S. and Canadian federal rules towards local functionality from the overdue 19th throughout the early 20th centuries, revealing the ways that executive sought to curtail real ceremonial dancing whereas truly encouraging staged spectacles, similar to these in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West exhibits. She then engages the leading edge paintings of Ted Shawn, Lester Horton, and Martha Graham, highlighting the impact of local American dance on sleek dance within the 20th century. Shea Murphy strikes directly to speak about modern live performance dance projects, together with Canada’s Aboriginal Dance software and the yankee Indian Dance Theatre. Illustrating how local dance enacts, instead of represents, cultural connections to land, ancestors, and animals, in addition to non secular and political matters, Shea Murphy demanding situations stereotypes approximately American Indian dance and provides new methods of spotting the service provider of our bodies on level. Jacqueline Shea Murphy is affiliate professor of dance stories on the college of California, Riverside, and coeditor of our bodies of the textual content: Dance as idea, Literature as Dance.
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Extra info for The People Have Never Stopped Dancing: Native American Modern Dance Histories
Even as the reports list the disciplinary measures taken to suppress dancing and argue—repeatedly—that the practices are just about to die out, Native peoples’ subtle and not so subtle refusals of agents’ categorizations and restrictions bubble up throughout. Agents’ exasperated tones and frustrations with continuing dance practices, as well as their recurring assurances, repeated year after year, that the dances will soon be a thing of the past, demonstrate the multiple ways Native dancers refused, rejected, and reframed the prohibitions in ways that allowed dancing, and the validating of worldviews they embodied and afﬁrmed, to continue.
Teller argues that the dances (the “scalp dance” and “war dance” were explicitly named as offensive) are not “social gatherings for the amusement of these people,” and thus presumably 39 40 HAVE TH EY A RIG HT? harmless, but rather “heathenish” and dangerous. This stricture on war dances is repeated in Commissioner of Indian Affairs Thomas J. Morgan’s 1892 reissue of the Rules for the Courts of Indian Affairs. Less than a decade later, however, the tenor and rhetoric of ofﬁcial federal restrictions on Indian dances shifted.
Also signal another attempt at corporeal control, here, an attempt to control and replace bodily participation with written representation as mark and location of history. These agents’ reports and many others like them thus worked to establish Indian dances and dancing as constitutive of Indian “otherness,” and to replace the authority of dancing practices that require the physical participation/ witnessing and active investment of not only Aboriginal bodies but also of the bodies of agents and other authorities, with authoritative written representation of it.
The People Have Never Stopped Dancing: Native American Modern Dance Histories by Jacqueline Shea Murphy