Event Title

Hybrid or Happenstance?: Vernacular Dance Traditions in Mexico and Appalachia

Location

Panel 08: Kearney 308

Start Date

27-10-2012 8:30 AM

End Date

27-10-2012 10:00 AM

Description

As an American percussive dancer specializing in tap dance and Appalachian clogging, I was delighted by the opportunity to engage with traditional Mexican percussive dance on a recent trip to Puebla, Mexico. Through observation of and participation in a variety of traditional dances, I was struck by the similarities between the footwork of traditional Mexican folkloric dance and Appalachian clogging. While these similarities make sense as we share a continent and related cultural lineage, this experience has inspired questions about our shared cultural roots and their contributions to our traditional dances.

Many traditional folk dances have percussive components. Caught up in my own traditional percussive dance, I had not given much thought to those dances outside of my country. I had learned that Appalachian clogging grew out of Native American, African, and Irish dance traditions and that as these traditions moved into the city and collided with jazz music, tap dance was born. As far as I was concerned, those three cultures were the roots of American percussive dance; I had never previously considered correlations between percussive dance in the U.S. and dance in other North American countries. However, by examining American percussive dance alongside Mexican folkloric dance I have revealed exciting cultural connections.

This paper will specifically investigate the flat-footed nature of Mexican folkloric dance and Appalachian clogging and the use of heel and toe accents in both. Questions such as the following will be addressed: Which dance traditions contributed this flat-footed dance style to each of these North American folk dances? Is our mutual connection to Native American dancing the primary source? How do elements of European folk dance manifest themselves in these North American folk dances? What influence has African culture had on this footwork? Is this similarity in footwork a result of hybridization of cultural traditions or is it merely happenstance?

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Oct 27th, 8:30 AM Oct 27th, 10:00 AM

Hybrid or Happenstance?: Vernacular Dance Traditions in Mexico and Appalachia

Panel 08: Kearney 308

As an American percussive dancer specializing in tap dance and Appalachian clogging, I was delighted by the opportunity to engage with traditional Mexican percussive dance on a recent trip to Puebla, Mexico. Through observation of and participation in a variety of traditional dances, I was struck by the similarities between the footwork of traditional Mexican folkloric dance and Appalachian clogging. While these similarities make sense as we share a continent and related cultural lineage, this experience has inspired questions about our shared cultural roots and their contributions to our traditional dances.

Many traditional folk dances have percussive components. Caught up in my own traditional percussive dance, I had not given much thought to those dances outside of my country. I had learned that Appalachian clogging grew out of Native American, African, and Irish dance traditions and that as these traditions moved into the city and collided with jazz music, tap dance was born. As far as I was concerned, those three cultures were the roots of American percussive dance; I had never previously considered correlations between percussive dance in the U.S. and dance in other North American countries. However, by examining American percussive dance alongside Mexican folkloric dance I have revealed exciting cultural connections.

This paper will specifically investigate the flat-footed nature of Mexican folkloric dance and Appalachian clogging and the use of heel and toe accents in both. Questions such as the following will be addressed: Which dance traditions contributed this flat-footed dance style to each of these North American folk dances? Is our mutual connection to Native American dancing the primary source? How do elements of European folk dance manifest themselves in these North American folk dances? What influence has African culture had on this footwork? Is this similarity in footwork a result of hybridization of cultural traditions or is it merely happenstance?