Difference between Formal Performances and Ritual Dances

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  • Topic: Dance, Ritual, Ceremony
  • Pages : 2 (600 words )
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  • Published : April 8, 2013
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DANC 330: Afro-Caribbean
Video Viewing Response

Katherine Hagedorn defines the main goal of the ritual ceremonies that incorporate rhythms of the bata drum, songs, and dances is to "summon the santos to the earth, so that the deities may soothe those who are grieving, heal those who are sick, rebuke those who have acted unwisely, bless those who appear to be deserving, and set the tone for the next fee weeks or months in the community"(76). In this description is where I found the greatest difference between the formal performances and the ritual dances. The formal performances were usually danced on a stage with costumes that are more elaborate then those worn by worshipers at a ceremony. The dances are choreographed enabling the movements to be more precise and at times more exaggerated. In the Cuban Dance Examples, the dancers from the professional dance company were putting on a show to entertain the audience. Overall the feeling and emotion that is felt and accumulated in the ritual gatherings was lacking during the formal dances. This is because the contrasting purpose of the folkloric dance companies.

Hagedorn writes in her article that the main purpose of events performed by companies like CFNC is "primarily aesthetic excellence- the perfect (or near-perfect) execution of dance steps, percussive rhythms, song phrases, and gestures of a toque de santo in accordance with norms established by 'folkloric' schools of performance"(77). This is where "la religion" and "el folklore" boundaries overlap and at times become blurred. Even though the movements in the traditional dances might not be as grand or as perfect, the both folkloric and religious dances are using the body to communicate to the orishas and the body is sacred (Hagedorn 77). In the videos you see similarities in the movements for each of the orishas in both types of dances; as well as in the gestures, rhythms, chants and colors. One example can be seen in the dance for Ogun. The...
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