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View accompanying audiovisual materials for the book at Ethnomusicology Multimedia Like Staging Ghana on Facebook

The Ghana Dance Ensemble takes Ghana's national culture and interprets it in performance using authentic dance forms adapted for local or foreign audiences. Often, says Paul Schauert, the aims of the ensemble and the aims of the individual performers work in opposition. Schauert discusses the history of the dance troupe and its role in Ghana's post-independence nation-building strategy and illustrates how the nation's culture makes its way onto the stage. He argues that as dancers negotiate the terrain of what is or is not authentic, they also find ways to express their personal aspirations, discovering, within the framework of nationalism or collective identity, that there is considerable room to reform national ideals through individual virtuosity.

List of PURL Audio and Video Files
Introduction: Crossing Crocodiles and Staging Ethnography
1. Beyond Ethnicity, Beyond Ghana: Staging and Embodying African Personality
2. Dancing Essences: Sensational Staging and the Cosmopolitan Politics of Authentication
3. Soldiers of Culture: Discipline, Artistry, and Alternative Education
4. Speak to the Wind: Staging the State and Performing Indirection
5. "We are the Originals!": A Tale of Two Troupes and the Birth of Contemporary Dance in Ghana
6. Politics of Personality: Creativity, Competition, and Self-Expression within a Unitary Matrix
Conclusion: Dancing Between Self, State, and Nation
References and Bibliography



Publié par
Date de parution 07 septembre 2015
Nombre de lectures 14
EAN13 9780253017499
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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Ethnomusicology Multimedia
Ethnomusicology Multimedia ( EM ) is a collaborative publishing program, developed with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to identify and publish first books in ethnomusicology, accompanied by supplemental audiovisual materials online at www.ethnomultimedia.org .
A collaboration of the presses at Indiana and Temple universities, EM is an innovative, entrepreneurial, and cooperative effort to expand publishing opportunities for emerging scholars in ethnomusicology and to increase audience reach by using common resources available to the presses through support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Each press acquires and develops EM books according to its own profile and editorial criteria.
EM s most innovative features are its web-based components, which include a password-protected Annotation Management System ( AMS ) where authors can upload peer-reviewed audio, video, and static image content for editing and annotation and key the selections to corresponding references in their texts; a public site for viewing the web content, www.ethnomultimedia.org , with links to publishers websites for information about the accompanying books; and the Avalon Media System, which hosts video and audio content for the website. The AMS and website were designed and built by the Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities at Indiana University. Avalon was designed and built by the libraries at Indiana University and Northwestern University with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Indiana University Libraries hosts the website, and the Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music (ATM) provides archiving and preservation services for the EM online content.
Artistry and Nationalism in State Dance Ensembles
Paul Schauert
This book is a publication of
INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS Office of Scholarly Publishing Herman B Wells Library 350 1320 East 10th Street Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
2015 by Paul W. Schauert
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z 39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Schauert, Paul W., author.
Staging Ghana : artistry and nationalism in state dance ensembles / Paul Schauert.
pages cm. - (Ethnomusicology multimedia)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-253-01732-1 (cl : alk. paper) - ISBN 978-0-253-01742-0 (pb : alk. paper) - ISBN 978-0-253-01749-9 (eb) 1. Folk dancing - Ghana. 2. Ghana Dance Ensemble. 3. Dance companies - Ghana. 4. Nationalism and the arts - Ghana. 5. Ghana - Cultural policy. I. Title.
GV 1713. G 4 S 33 2015
793.3 19667 - dc23
1 2 3 4 5 20 19 18 17 16 15
Introduction: Managing Nationalism, Crossing Crocodiles, and Staging Ethnography
1 Beyond Ethnicity, beyond Ghana: Staging and Embodying African Personality
2 Dancing Essences: Sensational Staging and the Cosmopolitan Politics of Authentication
3 Soldiers of Culture: Discipline, Artistry, and Alternative Education
4 Speak to the Wind: Staging the State and Performing Indirection
5 We Are the Originals : A Tale of Two Troupes and the Birth of Contemporary Dance in Ghana
6 Politics of Personality: Creativity, Competition, and Self-Expression within a Unitary Matrix
Conclusion: Managing Self, State, and Nation
WITH A LUNA , TALKING DRUM , UNDER MY ARM, I STOOD ON A large auditorium stage, surveying a sea of primary school children and their teachers who were awaiting a performance of African culture. It was the spring of 2002, and I was poised to lead the University of North Texas ( UNT ) African Drumming and Dance Ensemble for the first time without my mentor - Ewe master drummer Gideon Foli Alorwoyie. I was anxious but not about the execution of the performance itself, for I had participated in this group for nearly four years, meticulously learning supporting and lead drum parts to various dances, and was confident in my abilities to perform its small repertoire. Draped in kente cloth, as I readied the students of the ensemble, memories of my first trip to Ghana the previous summer flashed across my mind. Thunderous echoes of brekete drums accompanied images of twirling spirit mediums in gorovodu possession ceremonies. Filling my consciousness too were drummers and dancers performing at all-night wake-keepings, children playing clapping games, and fishermen singing over polyrhythmic bell patterns as they pulled in their nets. I began to recall the many disparities I had noticed between staged dance performances of the UNT ensemble and their counterparts in Ghana.
These differences invited a host of questions about the representation of Africa and African dance on stage, in the West, and in an academic setting. Such questions brought me back to the performance at hand, begging further inquiries. Who were we to represent this music and dance? We were a group of mostly white, middle-class American students, most of whom had never been to Africa. Like David Locke had wondered decades earlier while performing Ghanaian music and dance, I contemplated whether my (racial) identity would undermine my legitimacy as a teacher [musician] (2004, 170). Nevertheless, we were in a position to perform Africa (Ebron 2002) for an audience of impressionable minds. Despite my momentary existential anxiety, the performance was well received. The audience was not critical but had only praise for our abilities. As I led subsequent performances, however, the questions regarding representation and my role in this ensemble only intensified and multiplied.
With these concerns in mind, I entered graduate school with the intention of studying the stage performance and representation of Ghanaian music and dance. Through discussions with Gideon, I learned that he had participated in a type of staging of traditions in his home country as a member of the Ghana Dance Ensemble ( GDE ) - a state-sponsored national music and dance company. The choreography he had learned in the GDE informed his staging of dances in the UNT ensemble. Subsequently, I began to recognize that many of the most prominent African drumming and dance ensembles in the United States and Europe are led by former members of this ensemble or individuals who have been significantly influenced by it. I knew that if I hoped to find answers to some of my questions about the representation of Ghanaian music/dance, the GDE would be a good place to look.
This ensemble became the driving force that propelled my career. I began to search for information about its history, including discussions of the ways it constructed its choreography and represented the cultural forms of Ghana. Additionally, I began to examine the literature on state/folkloric music and dance as well as nationalism and the postcolonial African state; I also continued to explore phenomenology, which encouraged focus on the lived experience of individual participants and a privileging of their perspectives. Informed by this theoretical paradigm, I noticed that while the literature on state/folkloric performance was valuable in many respects, it was primarily concerned, as I first was, with issues regarding the representation of symbolic forms (such as authenticity and divisions between sacred and secular); consequently, it often inadequately interrogated the lives of the performers within such groups.
Following a phenomenological approach, when I returned to Ghana in 2004, I attempted to bracket, or suspend, my previous assumptions about the staging of African culture. My only explicit intention was to understand the lived experiences of participants in this nation s dance ensemble, focusing on issues that were salient to their daily existence. But first I had to address more fundamental and pragmatic problems: locating the ensemble and gaining access to its staff. After finishing my first language class in Twi at the University of Ghana (Legon), I walked down the main boulevard that bisected campus, eventually stopping at the School of Performing Arts. As I approached, looking to find the ensemble s location, I heard a voice call my name. Who knows me here? I wondered. It was Wisdom Agbedanu, a dancer whom Gideon had brought to UNT numerous times to participate in the annual African festival. After we exchanged a warm greeting, I asked where I could find the Ghana Dance Ensemble. As his eyes motioned to the large white edifice he was leaning against, he replied, Here, this is where we rehearse. This was the first I had learned of his participation in this ensemble, and I was surprised and grateful that I had an entr e into my field research. Immediately, I began observing rehearsals and meeting the members of the ensemble, cultivating relationships that would allow for a close understanding of not only the representation of cultural forms but also the experiences of participants in these national ensembles.
On subsequent research trips - summer of 2005 and 2006, six months in 20

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