Review Of "Choreographing Identities: Folk Dance, Ethnicity, And Festival In The United States And Canada" By A. Shay

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With this book Shay extends his two previous works on folk dance, Choreophobia: Solo Improvised Dance in the Iranian World (1999) and Choreographic Politics: State Folk Dance Companies, Representation, and Power (CH, Jan'03, 40-2710). Drawing on some 40 years of experience as performer, choreographer, and producer of folk ensembles in the US, the author reviews key North American folk-dance festivals and examines various immigrant dances and the evolving nature of their presentation. He investigates how "traditional" dances change given varying contexts, and he explores ways that cultural representations manifest through folk dancing are both established and manipulated. Discussion focuses on immigrant dances from Arab, Croatian, Greek, Filipino, Iranian, and Mexican American groups from 1960 to the present. The text opens with two perceptive chapters on immigrant dance and choreographic strategies of representation. This book is for those interested in dance ethnography and in how folk ensembles can develop "best practices." Supplementary notes and an inclusive bibliography enhance the book's utility for dance professionals. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.


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