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International Dance Day

dance-2167549_1920International Dance Day was introduced in 1982 by the International Dance Council (CID, Conseil International de la Danse), a UNESCO partner NGO, and is celebrated yearly, on April 29. The main purpose of Dance Day events is to celebrate dance, revel in the universality of this art form, cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers, and bring people together with a common language – dance. For more information and list of events please visit the official webpage


To celebrate the occasion we would like to bring to your attention our Dance and Performance Studies Series, which explores dance, music and bodily movement in cultural contexts at the juncture of history, ritual and performance in an interconnected world. We are pleased to offer a 25% discount on any of our Performance Studies titles, valid through May 29th, 2017 . At checkout, simply enter the code DPSS17.


Dance and Performance Studies Series

General Editors:
Jonathan Skinner, University of Roehampton
Helena Wulff, Stockholm University


Volume 10
Anthropologies of Sound and Movement
Edited by Evangelos Chrysagis and Panas Karampampas


Across spatial, bodily, and ethical domains, music and dance both emerge from and give rise to intimate collaboration. This theoretically rich collection takes an ethnographic approach to understanding the collective dimension of sound and movement in everyday life, drawing on genres and practices in contexts as diverse as Japanese shakuhachi playing, Peruvian huayno, and the Greek goth scene. Highlighting the sheer physicality of the ethnographic encounter, as well as the forms of sociality that gradually emerge between self and other, each contribution demonstrates how dance and music open up pathways and give shape to life trajectories that are neither predetermined nor teleological, but generative.

Read Introduction: Collaborative Intimacies


Volume 9
The Curving Pathway of Neoclassical Odissi Dance
Nandini Sikand


Widely believed to be the oldest Indian dance tradition, odissi has transformed over the centuries from a sacred temple ritual to a transnational genre performed—and consumed—throughout the world. Building on ethnographic research in multiple locations, this book charts the evolution of odissi dance and reveals the richness, rigor, and complexity of the form as it is practiced today. As author and dancer-choreographer Nandini Sikand shows, the story of odissi is ultimately a story of postcolonial India, one in which identity, nationalism, tradition, and neoliberal politics dramatically come together.

Read Introduction: Towards a Global Community


Volume 8
Signs of Performance in Yosemite National Park
Sally Ann Ness


As an international ecotourism destination, Yosemite National Park welcomes millions of climbers, sightseers, and other visitors from around the world annually, all of whom are afforded dramatic experiences of the natural world. This original and cross-disciplinary book offers an ethnographic and performative study of Yosemite visitors in order to understand human connection with and within natural landscapes. By grounding a novel “eco-semiotic” analysis in the lived reality of parkgoers, it forges surprising connections, assembling a collective account that will be of interest to disciplines ranging from performance studies to cultural geography.

Read Introduction: Landscape Performance Theory, an Introduction


Volume 7
How Outsiders Become Part of the Afro-Brazilian Capoeira Tradition
Lauren Miller Griffith


“…an important study of the confluence of travel and pilgrimage, race/class/gender issues, embodiment and physical (and emotional) expertise, and the defense of tradition and of ‘lineage’-specific knowledge and identity in the context of globalization and an openness to (tradition-defined) innovation.” · Anthropology Review Database

Every year, countless young adults from affluent, Western nations travel to Brazil to train in capoeira, the dance/martial art form that is one of the most visible strands of the Afro-Brazilian cultural tradition. In Search of Legitimacy explores why “first world” men and women leave behind their jobs, families, and friends to pursue a strenuous training regimen in a historically disparaged and marginalized practice. Using the concept of apprenticeship pilgrimage—studying with a local master at a historical point of origin—the author examines how non-Brazilian capoeiristas learn their art and claim legitimacy while navigating the complexities of wealth disparity, racial discrimination, and cultural appropriation.

Read Introduction


Volume 6
Dancers and Embodiment in New York and Dakar
Eleni Bizas


Bizas delivers an astute multi-sited ethnography on teaching and learning… The author’s descriptions of movement often jump from the page to land fully formed in the reader’s imagination so that the reader, too, is moved.”  ·  Choice

Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in New York and Dakar, this book explores the Senegalese dance-rhythms Sabar from the research position of a dance student. It features a comparative analysis of the pedagogical techniques used in dance classes in New York and Dakar, which in turn shed light on different aesthetics and understandings of dance, as well as different ways of learning, in each context. Pointing to a loose network of teachers and students who travel between New York and Dakar around the practice of West African dance forms, the author discusses how this movement is maintained, what role the imagination plays in mobilizing participants and how the ‘cultural flow’ of the dances is ‘punctuated’ by national borders and socio-economic relationships. She explores the different meanings articulated around Sabar’s transatlantic movement and examines how the dance floor provides the grounds for contested understandings, socio-economic relationships and broader discourses to be re-choreographed in each setting.


Volume 5 In Paperback
Movement, Morality and Self-fashioning in Urban Senegal
Hélène Neveu Kringelbach



“Reading Hélène Neveu Kringelbach’s ethnography, Dance Circles, took me on one of the most intellectually stimulating journeys that I have ever experienced…[It] is excellent because the author destroys the enduring belief that dance is innate to Africans. Generous space is given to learning processes, questions of transmission, and performers’ reflective practice…Historians of dance will draw on innovative themes of inquiry in their field. Anthropologists will marvel at the dense ethnographic detail. This grounded ethnography indeed invites a careful reading. In other words, one does not leaf through this book, but must really read it.” · Africa

Senegal has played a central role in contemporary dance due to its rich performing traditions, as well as strong state patronage of the arts, first under French colonialism and later in the postcolonial era. In the 1980s, when the Senegalese economy was in decline and state fundingwithdrawn, European agencies used the performing arts as a tool in diplomacy. This had a profound impact on choreographic production and arts markets throughout Africa. In Senegal, choreographic performers have taken to contemporary dance, while continuing to engage with neo-traditional performance, regional genres like the sabar, and the popular dances they grew up with. A historically informed ethnography of creativity, agency, and the fashioning of selves through the different life stages in urban Senegal, this book explores the significance of this multiple engagement with dance in a context of economic uncertainty and rising concerns over morality in the public space.

Read Chapter 1. Introduction: The Shifting Faces of Dance


Volume 4 In Paperback
Globalization, Tourism and Identity in the Anthropology of Dance
Edited by Hélène Neveu Kringelbach and Jonathan Skinner


“This collection of essays is a welcome focus on dance anthropology. The book encompasses chapters on an impressive range of traditions and practices from developed as well as developing countries across the world, including small and large phenomena. It has a clear introduction to orientate readers in the anthropological study of dance… ” · Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Dance is more than an aesthetic of life – dance embodies life. This is evident from the social history of jive, the marketing of trans-national ballet, ritual healing dances in Italy or folk dances performed for tourists in Mexico, Panama and Canada. Dance often captures those essential dimensions of social life that cannot be easily put into words. What are the flows and movements of dance carried by migrants and tourists? How is dance used to shape nationalist ideology? What are the connections between dance and ethnicity, gender, health, globalization and nationalism, capitalism and post-colonialism? Through innovative and wide-ranging case studies, the contributors explore the central role dance plays in culture as leisure commodity, cultural heritage, cultural aesthetic or cathartic social movement.

Read Introduction: The Movement of Dancing Cultures


Volume 3 In Paperback
Traditional Music, Tourism, and Social Change in an Irish Village
Adam Kaul


“…this book is a rarity in understanding the intersection of music, heritage and tourism…” · Journal of Heritage Tourism

The last century has seen radical social changes in Ireland, which have impacted all aspects of local life but none more so than traditional Irish music, an increasingly important identity marker both in Ireland and abroad. The author focuses on a small village in County Clare, which became a kind of pilgrimage site for those interested in experiencing traditional music. He begins by tracing its historical development from the days prior to the influx of visitors, through a period called “the Revival,” in which traditional Irish music was revitalized and transformed, to the modern period, which is dominated by tourism. A large number of incomers, locally known as “blow-ins,” have moved to the area, and the traditional Irish music is now largely performed and passed on by them. This fine-grained ethnographic study explores the commercialization of music and culture, the touristic consolidation and consumption of “place,” and offers a critique of the trope of “authenticity,” all in a setting of dramatic social change in which the movement of people is constant.


Volume 2 In Paperback
Dance Traditions and Change in Java
Felicia Hughes-Freeland


Even if it is rather demanding, Hughes-Freeland’s study makes for highly rewarding reading.  ·  JRAI

Court dance in Java has changed from a colonial ceremonial tradition into a national artistic classicism. Central to this general transformation has been dance’s role in personal transformation, developing appropriate forms of everyday behaviour and strengthening the powers of persuasion that come from the skillful manipulation of both physical and verbal forms of politeness. This account of dance’s significance in performance and in everyday life draws on extensive research, including dance training in Java, and builds on how practitioners interpret and explain the repertoire. The Javanese case is contextualized in relation to social values, religion, philosophy, and commoditization arising from tourism. It also raises fundamental questions about the theorization of culture, society and the body during a period of radical change.


Volume 1 In Paperback
Memory and Mobility in Ireland
Helena Wulff


“Wulff does convincing and interesting work in making the argument that all Irish dance is influenced by links to the land and/or notions of Irishness, tradition, authenticity, and collective identity…[that] becomes increasingly complicated given issues of immigration, colonization, diasporic communities, multiculturalism, and cosmopolitanism.”  ·  H-Net Reviews

Dancing at the crossroads used to be young people’s opportunity to meet and enjoy themselves on mild summer evenings in the countryside in Ireland until this practice was banned by law, the Public Dance Halls Act in 1935. Now a key metaphor in Irish cultural and political life, “dancing at the crossroads” also crystallizes the argument of this book: Irish dance, from Riverdance (the commercial show) and competitive dancing to dance theatre, conveys that Ireland is to be found in a crossroads situation with a firm base in a distinctly Irish tradition which is also becoming a prominent part of European modernity.

Also of Interest: 



The Pragmatic Anthropology of Afro-Brazilian Capoeira
Sergio González Varela


Considering the concept of power in capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian ritual art form, Varela describes ethnographically the importance that capoeira leaders (mestres) have in the social configuration of a style called Angola in Bahia, Brazil. He analyzes how individual power is essential for an understanding of the modern history of capoeira, and for the themes of embodiment, play, cosmology, and ritual action. The book also emphasizes the great significance that creativity and aesthetic expression have for capoeira’s practice and performance.



In Paperback

Aboriginal Australians, Hippies and the State
Rosita Henry

Volume 8, Space and Place


“The descriptive and intellectual depth of this book, shaped by Henry’s empathetic but critically aware insight, makes this a highly readable and valuable book for a diversity of readers.” · Pacific Affairs

During the 1970s a wave of ‘counter-culture’ people moved into rural communities in many parts of Australia. This study focuses in particular on the town of Kuranda in North Queensland and the relationship between the settlers and the local Aboriginal population, concentrating on a number of linked social dramas that portrayed the use of both public and private space. Through their public performances and in their everyday spatial encounters, these people resisted the bureaucratic state but, in the process, they also contributed to the cultivation and propagation of state effects.


In Paperback

Formations of Symbolic Construction and Experience
Edited by Angela Hobart and Bruce Kapferer


In various ways, the essays presented in this volume explore the structures and aesthetic possibilities of music, dance and dramatic representation in ritual and theatrical situations in a diversity of ethnographic contexts in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. Each essay enters into a discussion of the “logic” of aesthetic processes exploring their social and political and symbolic import. The aim is above all to explore the way artistic and aesthetic practices in performance produce and structure experience.



Select Journal Articles

The cohesive and revitalizing nature of Maya dance, art, and oral history
Allison D. Krogstad
Regions and Cohesion

The Ritual Experience of Continuity: Flow and Participation in Punu Twin Dancing
Carine Plancke
Social Analysis

Dancing on the Threshold: A Cultural Concept for Conditions of Being Far from Salvation
Gregor Rohmann
Contributions to the History of Concepts

Beyond Frames: The Creation of a Dance Company in Health Care through the Journey of Brain Trauma
Gregor Rohmann