A Non-Governmental Organisation in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO
With over 250 active members (in 2006) the Study Group on Ethnochoreology seems to be the largest Study Group of ICTM. The growing interest in this scientific forum is a result of the continuing growth of dance research on an academic basis, the diversification of the theoretical perspectives on dance and the inciting activities offered by the Study Group.
Besides permanent communication between and among the members - mediated by the listserve (ETNOKOR) and implemented with the help of Stephanie Smith - the most important activity of the group is the organization of symposia, which are held every second year.
The 24th Symposium will take place between 10th and 16th July 2006 in the university centre of Cluj, Romania. The proposed themes are: From Field to Text: Translations and Representations and Dance and Space. This prestigious scientific meeting with more than 70 contributors (papers, video and poster presentations, panels, workshops, fieldwork, etc.) implies a great amount of work and responsibility from both the local organizing committee (Könczei Csilla, Corina Iosif, Könczei Csongor) and the six members of the Program Committee.
Between the Symposia, the activities of the Study Group are carried out by smaller and thus more effective working units, the so-called Sub-Study Groups. Organized for the first time in 1990, the Sub-Study Groups are different in size and have a life of there own (some disbanding when their goals are achieved and other coming into being).
The Sub-Study Groups had the following activities during 2005:
- The Sub-Study Group on Ritual Complexes in Comparative Perspective (Mohd Anis Md Nor, leader) held its meeting and field trip from the 4th to the 9th of May 2005 in Sofia, Bulgaria. (hosted by Anna Ilieva and Anna Sturbanova). A field trip to observe the St. George Day ritual in the Varvara village was organized as a case study for comparative analysis. The discussions which followed were intended to position paradigmatic trajectories for the Sub-Study Group’s panel contribution entitled: Walking Fifteen Thousand Steps with St. George: from Field to Text, to be presented in the Ethnochoreology Symposium in Cluj. The panelists will focus on two themes – the problematic definitions of terminology and their positions in the St.George’s day event as participant observers provoking conceptual discussions with the wider assembly of attendees at the symposium. Two video texts on St. George’s rituals will illustrate the panel presentation.
- The Sub-Study Group on Round dances - 19th Century Derived Couple Dances (Egil Bakka, leader), had its 5th meeting in Budapest, Hungary (hosted by Felföldi László) between the 2nd and the 5th June, 2005. A forthcoming meeting will take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia (hosted by Rebeca Kunej) from 21st to 24th April, 2006. It additionally gave a panel presentation with the title: Nineteenth-Century Derived Couple Dances at the ICTM Conference in Sheffield. The Sub-Study Group has good and stable participation of around 10 regulars and is working towards a publication.
- The Sub-Study Group on Revival (Stephanie Smith and Mats Nilsson leaders) contributed at the ICTM Conference in Sheffield with a panel presentation entitled: Shifting Emphases in Dance Revivals. The little time left at the very successful but busy Sheffield Conference was used by the members of the Sub-Study Group to discuss forthcoming research perspectives. Results of these inquiries will be presented at the Symposium in Cluj in a panel entitled: Diverse Fields to Text: Revival Case Studies.
- The Sub-Study Group on Fieldwork Theory and Methods (Anca Giurchescu leader) carried out experimental field research in Izmir, Turkey from 3rd to 10th May, 2005. Mehmet Ôcal Özbilgin was the local organizer, seconded by faculties of the Folk Dance Department of the Izmir Ege University. The group recorded and documented the St. George Day ritual (Hidrilez) performed by Gypsies, an Alevi religious ceremony, the re-enactment of a wedding and various interpretations of the men’s dance Zeybek. A panel with the title: “Folk Dancing and Folk Dance Research around the World” closed this very fruitful project. Theoretical and methodological aspects stemming from this fieldwork will be subject of the panel: Representation of different realities experienced in the fieldwork carried out in Izmir region (Turkey) to be presented at the Symposium in Cluj. In addition, the Sub-Study Group on Fieldwork contributed at the ICTM Conference in Sheffield with the panel: “Re-vitalizing the Village joc (dance) of Maramures, Romania” based on fieldwork realized in two villages of Maramures in 2004.
- The Sub-Study Group on Iconography (Barbara Sparti leader), after a series of preparatory meetings, is in the pre-publication editing process of thirteen essays for the volume Imaging Dance which brings together analyses of images of dance by dance historians, art historians, photographer/ performance artists, ethnochoreologists and anthropologists, including articles by seven members of the Sub-Study Group. Five members of the Group are involved with the editorial work. The intended audience is cross-disciplinary and multi-geographical and while rooted in solid scholarship, the writing style makes the content broadly accessible.
A forthcoming session to discuss dance images at an Art History Conference in NYC (organized by Nancy Heller in February 2007) will actively involve some of the Iconography Sub-Study Group members.
- The Sub-Study Group on Structural Analysis (Adrienne Kaeppler leader) finished the book
Dance Structures: Perspectives on the Analysis of Human Movement (Adrienne Kaeppler editor), that concludes a long and important stage in the development of ethnochoreology. It presents basic theoretical and methodological orientations in dance structural analysis, case studies concerned with the application in practice of basic analytical systems, and some other perspectives in dance analysis.
The New Etnochoreologists Seminar is organised by members of the ICTM Study Group on Ethnochoreology who are also university teachers in dance programs with include a specialisation in Ethnochoreology or Dance Anthropology. The last two courses (2004, 2005) were organised as an intensive program by Egil Bakka at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, and succeeded in gaining substantial support from the European Unions program Erasmus (that can be awarded for a total of 3 years). In 2005 the support was given for an intensive course dedicated to Dance Analysis held between 23rd November and 4th December, and an application will be made for the third program to be held in 2006. The seminar brings together staff and students from 9 participating European universities and some guest staff and students funded from other sources. Each year more than 30 students attended the curs.
The New Etnochoreologists Seminar is an important contribution to the continuous development of the system of the academic education in the field of ethnochoreology and dance anthropology.
At the ICTM World Conference in Sheffield, ethnochoreology was very well represented with 39 high quality contributions well integrated in the five parallel sessions.
Finally the Ethnochoreology Study Group had the honour and great satisfaction to have two of its members nominated for the ICTM Presidency: Egil Bakka and Adrienne Kaeppler, our new President.
(Chair of the ICTM Study Group on Ethnochoreology)