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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Can Dance Overcome Political Origins?


I've danced in pieces that smacked a lot of Mao (you know, the Cultural Revolution), and perhaps they're even the same versions that he had performed in the streets to distract onlookers from the torture happening just yards away. You can imagine that makes me feel pretty strange. Oddly, after I learn the choreography and make some jokes about being good barefoot peasant girls looking towards a bright future, everything feels fine. I work hard, enjoy the dance and somehow the audience is all right with it, too. (That, or they're not talking.)

Perhaps it's permissible to simply appreciate the dancing for what it is, despite its less than innocuous origins. I still have mixed feelings about it, but I feel more comfortable about it these days. I hope audiences will find dances like this enjoyable, when they're presented as just that -- dances.
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