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 Post subject: "Tinkering" with folk dance - What of it?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2000 7:39 pm 
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This thread was spawned from a fairly provocative question in an article about Balé Folclórico da Bahia's Carnaval 2000 - <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum6/HTML/000175.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum6/HTML/000175.html</A> <P>The question posed in the subtitle of the Division in Days of Lore article is - "How Much Artistic Tinkering is Acceptable When Bringing Folk Dancing to the Stage?" - and I think it's an interesting and important question to ask. I also think there are probably as many answers to this question as there are people to take a stab at it.<P>When seeing folk dance presented on the concert stage I understand if it is not exactly the way the people at home do it, figuring some staging, movements, and modes of involvement have been altered. I mean - even if I know the dance they're doing it's not likely I'll just climb up on the stage and join in - that mode of participation has been changed.<P>How a folkloric dance event is packaged is pretty important considering the dance can be everything from folk dance "influenced" to "this is how the people at home do it". Because of this it is critical that a group's spokesperson be as honest about what they're trying to do as possible. Then I can be free to judge how they've been successful (or not) based on what they were trying to accomplish.


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 Post subject: Re: "Tinkering" with folk dance - What of it?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2000 7:40 pm 
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So - I'm interested in the comments and ideas of our far-flung readers - "How Much Artistic Tinkering is Acceptable When Bringing Folk Dancing to the Stage?"


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 Post subject: Re: "Tinkering" with folk dance - What of it?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2000 9:53 pm 
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Ooh... I think you can tinker all you want. Don't composers tinker with, borrow from and dissect folk music for their own needs? Maybe I'm not understanding the question here but I think choreographers can do the same as long as they clearly state what they're doing and not imply in anyway that the work presented is the original, official folk dance of the Chi Hua Huas of Zibergonia or whatever.


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 Post subject: Re: "Tinkering" with folk dance - What of it?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2000 10:33 pm 
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Just a few of past folk-dance related threads here at good ole Criticaldance:<P>Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba in 'Rumbadelica'<A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum6/HTML/000019.html" TARGET=_blank>]http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum6/HTML/000019.html]</A> <P>'English Dances'- this one gets a bit more into the controversy (oh, did <I>I</I> say that?) of things[http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum6/HTML/000047.html <P>In NY Times round-up 17 Nov 2000 - "Flamenco Amid Swigs From a Water Bottle" there are hints of what one person thinks separates new from old<A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum6/HTML/000173.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum6/HTML/000173.html</A> <BR><p>[This message has been edited by Priscilla (edited November 21, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: "Tinkering" with folk dance - What of it?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2000 10:36 pm 
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Well, this:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Putting folklore on stage is always a risky, compromising business. It's usually a lot more fun to do a folk dance, for instance, than to see one. It doesn't take a lot of technique--there's a reason it's a folk dance after all--and it often goes on and on until musicians grow weary or people give out. <BR> Still, there's a line that can be crossed in trimming and dressing up folklore for theater presentation. Critics argued whether that line was crossed made its first U.S. visit when Bale Folclorico da Bahia in 1996.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>is how the Division in Days of Lore article starts, which may help clarify the issue. Er - which I <I>hope</I> clarifies the issue.<p>[This message has been edited by Priscilla (edited November 21, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: "Tinkering" with folk dance - What of it?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2000 10:21 am 
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Priscilla this is a fascinating question that you pose.<P>Folk dance is not something that I have any knowledge about. However, it would seem to me that just having a "company" would alter the dance. Just the fact that the participants do it on either a full time or almost full time basis. The very fact that they rehearse would alter it. As I understand it true folk dance is done as a rather ad hoc thing. Whether it has a strict structure or ad libbed - it is still done rather extemporaneously - as I understand it. <P>The problem with any type of folk dance company is that they need to sell tickets and that would cause them to consider other factors in addition to the dance itself - like costuming, etc. <P>I wonder if the ordinary (if there is such a thing) member of the audience realizes that to some extent what they see on the stage has been affected by these concerns. That answer I certainly don't know the answer. Is it the responsbility of the company to inform the audience ? And, if so, how would they inform the audience? I don't know.


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 Post subject: Re: "Tinkering" with folk dance - What of it?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2000 7:42 am 
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what about a company who's intent is to introduce a community to a local but ill known dance tradition or even a foreign one?<P>how does the troupe then, in being honest, perform and present without the bonfire/beer/ritual/or whatever the traditional enviroment of the dance?<P>The honesty comes a lot from the learning. Women who are taught Beledi by men have had lessons froma very different perspective and therefore dance a different dance, just as going to a studio to learn to clog creates a dance with less authenticty, no?<P>or is this, in the age of globalization and telecourses, a burden too big for "traditional dancers."<P>and in the end it's all going to be about what the audience expects, is it not?<P>


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 Post subject: Re: "Tinkering" with folk dance - What of it?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2000 7:45 am 
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Welcome, Keti. You pose some very interesting questions.<P>I still feel that the audience should be informed that the performance is only a facsimilie or an interpretation rather than the original. Or perhaps the "best possible reconstruction" based on available resources?<p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited November 23, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: "Tinkering" with folk dance - What of it?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2000 12:27 pm 
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Hi Keti! <P>Speaking of ill-known dance traditions - how about Beledi, (which I had to look up)? Keti may be the one to fill us in, but here are a couple of links to Beledi-somethings which I am in no position to place on my little spectrum of traditionalness: <A HREF="http://www.rubyjazayre.com/" TARGET=_blank>http://www.rubyjazayre.com/</A> - The Queen of Beledi, quoted on the website as being, "...one of the few purists in this business." And this page -- <A HREF="http://www.jawaahir.org/beledi.htm" TARGET=_blank>http://www.jawaahir.org/beledi.htm</A> which has some information and newsletters.<P>Keti, when you say "Women who are taught Beledi by men have had lessons froma very different perspective and therefore dance a different dance" does this mean some women learn from other women and this impacts their perspective of the dance?<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: "Tinkering" with folk dance - What of it?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2000 3:28 pm 
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Priscilla - those were very interseting links you had in your post. I noticed that at the bottom of the description in one of the articles that it said that the conservative climate that is spreading across many Islamic countries is impacting on how and where dance is presented. <P>It is also my understanding that much dance in the Middle East that was created by women was created by them to amuse themselves (and perhaps their male lord) within the harem walls.<P>Welcome, Keti - nice to have you join us!!<p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited November 23, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: "Tinkering" with folk dance - What of it?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2000 8:58 am 
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There are a few strands that come together to create what is currently beledi (another question about folkloric dance and evolution arises here) most of these strands are from women teachign one another.<BR>a breif rundown of a few:<BR>-women in harems who were bored and at times more inlove with one another than their lords<BR>-gypsy groups who danced around fires while men drummed to keep the cold out on dessert nights<BR>-gypsy women distracting city men while their co-conspiritors made off with valubles<BR>-women coaching one another through child birth.<P>there are more, but those are the one's at the top of the list that's currently in my head.<P>lots to respond to:<BR>yes the dance is different when taught by men or women, the focus tends to be external rather than internal, and the movemnts a little more exagerated, but most of all is that the muscle structure of a man's stomach is very different from that of a woman's if only in where bulk and build are. therefore you hae a teacher who can tell you what to do but can not tell you how it feels.<P>about troups' presetnation to audience:<BR>if a troupe is attempting to present the real McCoy and not "as close as possible" what if they are truely from and within the tradtion and are attemtping to bring the tradtion to an audience that is outside of the tradition?<P>


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 Post subject: Re: "Tinkering" with folk dance - What of it?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2000 12:22 pm 
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Keti asks:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>about troups' presetnation to audience:<BR>if a troupe is attempting to present the real McCoy and not "as close as possible" what if they are truely from and within the tradtion and are attemtping to bring the tradtion to an audience that is outside of the tradition?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>I guess my simplest answer is that these Real McCoys would be something I'd want to see. I'm still very moved by and interested in Native Alaskan dance even though it's being performed on stages instead of in any of the more "traditional" locations (which have changed over time anyway - from qasgi to Quonset huts).


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 Post subject: Re: "Tinkering" with folk dance - What of it?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2000 2:37 pm 
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When I was in Sitka Alaska, I saw one of the native groups dancing their traditional dances - and yes it was on a stage.<P>But I did get the feeling that, though they may have been paid to dance, they were not professionals in the big city sense of the word. I did have the feeling that these were the dances of their people, and that they were merely showing them to us - rather than trying to perform them for outsiders. <P>It did have an authentic feel - though if that is absolutely true or not, I cannot say.


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