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Performing the city : an ethnography of popular dance in Kinshasa, DRC

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Performing the city : an ethnography of popular dance in Kinshasa, DRC

Braun, Lesley N (2010) Performing the city : an ethnography of popular dance in Kinshasa, DRC. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Kinshasa's dance music, bands comprising male musicians and female dancers, is a local creation with roots in Congolese Rumba. During its rapid urbanization, with concerts held daily throughout the city, Kinshasa's popular culture has been vital to the city's international musical reputation and cosmopolitan identity. Although the social relevance of the popular musicians has been studied (White, 2009), how female dancers inform or are informed by contemporary perspectives on gender relations, marginality, modernity and socio-economic realities, has yet to be explored. This thesis illustrates the . finding and analysis following three months of observing, interviewing female dancers and performing with a popular Kinshasa musical act. The gaze directed at concert dancers is. a recent phenomenon as "traditional" performance was more participatory. Through this gaze at dancers who occupy the lowest position within the band and perform sexually suggestive lyrics and dance gestures, the familiar accepted binaries of public and private, "traditional" and "modern", sacred and profane, appropriate and inappropriate, sensual and sexual are called into question. When concert dancers incorporate "modern" references into their choreographies, they build on "traditional" dance movement. Paradoxically, although female dancers set aesthetic trends seen even in church settings, they are stigmatized on a moral level for assuming "vulgar" roles. It is precisely this marginality that dancers in their concerts, perform and re-affirm.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Braun, Lesley N
Pagination:ix, 117 leaves : ill., maps ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:School of Graduate Studies
Date:2010
Thesis Supervisor(s):Howes, David
ID Code:979358
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:09 Dec 2014 17:57
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:49
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