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By Hélène Neveu Kringelbach

Senegal has performed a relevant function in modern dance as a result of its wealthy acting traditions, in addition to powerful country patronage of the humanities, first lower than French colonialism and later within the postcolonial period. within the Nineteen Eighties, whilst the Senegalese economic climate used to be in decline and kingdom fundingwithdrawn, ecu organisations used the acting arts as a device in international relations. This had a profound effect on choreographic creation and humanities markets all through Africa. In Senegal, choreographic performers have taken to modern dance, whereas carrying on with to interact with neo-traditional functionality, neighborhood genres just like the sabar, and the preferred dances they grew up with. a traditionally trained ethnography of creativity, enterprise, and the fashioning of selves in the course of the diversified lifestyles phases in city Senegal, this publication explores the importance of this a number of engagement with dance in a context of financial uncertainty and emerging matters over morality within the public space. 

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Additional resources for Dance Circles: Movement, Morality and Self-fashioning in Urban Senegal

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Although most of the data for this study was gathered through fieldwork, I have also spent time doing archival work. I have consulted the archives of the 1966 World Festival of Negro Arts at the National Archives of Senegal in Dakar, and consulted Senegalese newspapers from the 1930s onwards, both in Dakar (at the Centre d’Etudes Supérieures des Techniques de l’Information, or CESTI) and in Paris (Bibliothèque Nationale de France). net. Finally, I have drawn inspiration from Jackson (1989)and Sarró (2009), both of whom highlight the importance of discussing ideas and writing with key informants.

The following excerpt is taken from the section on the ‘Moors’ of Northern Senegambia, in which Boilat (1853: 370–371) describes evening dances held on gum trading boats on the Senegal River: Men and women dance separately; all their movements simulate fighting; but it is quite different with women: they, too, dance separately, and the young men come to watch; in general the movements they execute are most indecent. They form a large circle and each in turn enters the middle to dance while the others clap and sing in rhythm.

There is no place for either linguistic sophistication or elaborate choreographic work, and certainly not for urban culture. From the mid-nineteenth century onwards, Africans dancing were thus constructed as driven by their emotions, their natural environment, and by mysterious forces outside the body, rather than individual agency and creativity. Ironically, as we have seen, this notion of limited human agency fits well with the perception of dance in certain contexts in Senegambia. The strength of this idea on both sides of the colonial divide may thus explain why it has been so enduring.

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