Review Of "Choreographic Politics: State Folk Dance Companies, Representation, And Power" By A. Shay

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For this welcome addition to the literature on folk dance ensembles Shay (also author of Choreophobia: Solo Improvised Dance in the Iranian World, 1999) draws on his 40-plus-year association as choreographer, performer, and researcher working with such groups. Using studies of six state folk dance ensembles, the author analyzes how performances reveal issues of representation. Specifically, he explores how choreographic strategies represent ethnic groups and nation-states, demonstrating how these danced representations reveal and forward class, ethnic, political, and social issues germane to national discourses. Discussions of the ways that groups have been stereotyped or excluded to achieve political imperatives are also included. Two chapters are of special import: one explores the parallel traditions of state folk ensembles and folk dance in the field; the other establishes the framework by which the companies in the study are analyzed. Shay's writing is clear and well documented; his devotion to his subject is evident and engaging. The book will be a useful model, particularly for undergraduate students with an interest in further dance ethnology research. Including articulate notes, an extensive bibliography, and 26 well-chosen black-and-white photographs, it is recommended for upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.


This work is freely available courtesy of Choice Reviews. The review has been reproduced in full in the abstract field.

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