Transcultural conversations

In This Article

The transdisciplinary perspectives offered in the Mind/body connections section can be seen to contain parallels with the transcultural papers featured in this section. In a visual arts/dance intercultural ‘exchange’ Copeland reveals synergies and mutual influences between pop culture idol Andy Warhols’ ‘mode of disengagement’ and the anti-performance pedestrian stance of the post-modern Judson Dance Theatre. Intercultural practices within dance are explored through particular artist collaborative projects which explore both Japanese Mobius Kiryohu movement with contemporary dance in one paper and an intracultural experiment within Malaysia in another. An Indonesian ceremony brings up questions of appropriateness whilst appropriation is a concern in a paper investigating the history of black American Stepping.

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Fusion of Australian contemporary dance and Mobius Kiryuho

This paper discusses the exploration of cultural diversity and the creation of common ground and understanding through choreographic practice in a cross-cultural, international collaboration between Mirramu Dance Company (Australia) and Kyoko Sato from the Mobius Kiryuho Institute (Japan). The paper explores the differences and the similarities discovered in each of our culturally specific movement practices, during the creative process of a dance production, Silk, and discusses how these discoveries influenced the choreographic content of the performance.

From gumboots and Greek letters

It has been argued that African and African American contributions to the arts in the US have been so well ignored their African roots have been invisibilised. Growing out of African American fraternities, stepping seems to be facing a similar fate as its popularity increases. This paper is designed to raise awareness not only of stepping as an innovative dance form that is growing tremendously, but more importantly, to highlight its African American heritage that may be disregarded as stepping moves to the global stage. This paper will also illustrate how dancers inside and outside of black Greek organisations can combat the invisibilisation of stepping’s cultural heritage by teaching others about the legacy of stepping while sharing with them the innate excitement of the dance form.

Rude thoughts on ‘polite conversation’ as demonstrated in Australian folk dance

Folk dance is the expression of culture so it changes as culture changes over time and from place to place. Maypole dancing, I discovered, was once our only folk dance but it went out with the empire. Bush dancing arose simultaneously with the political policy we call ‘multiculturalism’ and parallel with the republican debate rejoiced in being ‘not English’. Australians may be surprised to realise just how demure our country dance is and how clearly urbanisation is expressed. Egalitarianism, gender equity, individualism and other Australian values are clearly revealed in bush dance.

Seeing without participating

Nothing feels more antithetical to the spirit of dance than Andy Warhol’s legendary mode of disengagement, his desire to remain uninvolved, unmoved, untouched, both emotionally and kinetically. But Warhol exerted a considerable influence on experimental dance during the 1960s—an influence especially visible in the work of the so-called post-modern choreographers who created their most innovative dances under the auspices of The Judson Dance Theatre. Conversely, Warhol himself was undoubtedly influenced (in ways that have yet to be widely acknowledged) by some of the work he is known to have seen at Judson, particularly the early dances of Yvonne Rainer. This paper will examines that reciprocal exchange of influence.

Does the queen of the South Sea like cigars?

During the first (and up to now, last) performance in October 2002 of the carefully and laboriously reconstructed sacred Bedhaya Semang in the Yogyakarta Palace—an aspiration to rival or at least to balance that of the Bedhaya Ketawang in the competing sister city’s Surakarta Palace—the Sultan Hamengku Buwana X, in full Javanese ceremonial dress sat on the upper level of the royal hall, and gave audience to the public for his coronation anniversary. As official videographer of the reconstruction, my attention was on the dance. I was shocked to hear reports that while my eyes were on the dancers rather than the Sultan, at some point he had lit up a cigar during the performance.

Qadim—an intercultural contemporary dance collaboration in Malaysia

This paper describes the process of working inter-culturally towards the presentation of a contemporary dance work in Malaysia entitled Qadim. Beginning with the inspiration and initial experiences at the Asia Pacific Artist Exchange Program (APPEX) initiated by The Centre for Intercultural Performance, UCLA, the paper recounts the journey, the obstacles and the challenges faced in cooperative dance-making that is at once personal and global. The dancer-choreographers committed to this project see their role as contemporary artists seeking to have their voices heard amidst growing local and international tensions borne from distrust and political and religious hegemony.