Between modern dance and intercultural performance the multiple truths of the Bird Belly Princess /
David Harnish, Advisor
Cultural appropriation or “theft” is a point of contention among scholars and
performers. When American performance artists use non-Western cultural elements—
such as music, dance, or material items—questions of authenticity, identity, and
entitlement are raised. Researchers, who often have the benefit of objective distance,
tend to feel that appropriation is wrong, that a more essentialist approach is needed.
Performers tend to take a “Romantic individualist’s” viewpoint, believing that the
creative process and the contribution of their art to humanity as a whole should allow
them to take inspiration from any source, regardless of the culture.
This thesis is an examination of these stances on cultural appropriation in relation
to modern dance, music, and intercultural performance. The focus of the examination is
At Last, The Tale of the Bird Belly Princess, Tien-Savi-Tsuru-Chak, a production directed
and choreographed by Professor Tammyan Starr, a dance instructor at Bowling Green
State University, that incorporated elements of Korean and Balinese music and dance. I
begin by situating this production within the history of modern dance and the ideology of
intercultural performance. I then consider the continuum created by the Romantic
individualist and essentialist poles. Ideas of authenticity, identity, and appropriation are
examined in light of these two ideologies. A close analysis of the non-Western
costuming, props, music and dance used in Bird Belly Princess provides the opportunity
for the application of the aforementioned ideas to a specific work. Multiple perspectives
on the purpose and perception of Bird Belly Princess are also taken into account.
Through close examination of this production, I posit the necessity of examining a
single work from many angles in order to understand the various “truths” that it
expresses. I also consider the ethnomusicologist’s role in the study of dance; what the
ethnomusicologist can learn by understanding dance as a cultural phenomenon.
School:Bowling Green State University
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:o malley sean modern dance cultural property intercultural communication in the performing arts indonesia korea
Date of Publication: