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A World of Global Dances

Prof. Lester Tomé

Under the influence of globalization, many dance genres have become international and grown roots in locations far from their birthplaces. Hip-hop, salsa, tango, capoeira, ballet and bharatanatyam exemplify this trend. Globalization has also accelerated the creation of hybrid dance forms that fuse elements from various cultures, as illustrated by Bollywood choreographers who interweave Indian dancing and MTV aesthetics.

Each essay in this site offers an overview of a specific dance form from the perspective of globalization. Together, these essays relate global dance practices to migratory flows, media technology, multiculturalism, tourism, colonization, cultural hybridization, transnational identities, global citizenship and the commodification of cultural products, among other trends and phenomenons. These texts explore these processes and contexts, while identifying challenges and potentials in dance globalization.

The authors wrote these essays as final projects for the seminar Interrogating Dance Globalization, which sought to illuminate the effects of globalization on the practice and study of dance today.

The course addressed a number of questions in relationship to its topic: How can dance forms be meaningful outside their original culture? How does globalization affect definitions of authenticity? What does it entail for the preservation and ownership of dance traditions? What are the ethical connotations of global practices that enable the appropriation and exploitation of dance heritages, but also their fruitful dissemination and hybridization? How does the global circulation of dances reproduce or challenge international power relationships? Within dance, how is globalization reconciled with the articulation of local, regional or national identities? How have globalization affected the creativity and production processes of dancers and choreographers? How have mass media and the internet fostered and represented the globalization of dance? What is the connection between dance globalization and multiculturalism?

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