An Auto-Ethnography of Engagement Through Dance
This paper proposes a reflection on collaboration through dance. Drawing on ten years of fieldwork within the Swiss contemporary dance scene, the author, an anthropologist, dance scholar, and dancer, discusses her ethnographic practice, method, and writing inspired by collaborative anthropology. The first part of the paper advocates for dance as a practice-based research method, and for auto-ethnography to convey anthropological knowledge in a more accessible way. Research-creation is claimed to particularly suit sensorial topics, tending toward symmetrical relationships between anthropologists and fieldwork interlocutors. Drawing on an applied anthropological project using djembe dances for better social cohesion, the second part of the paper shows one possible engagement with society through dance practice. Generating intimacy and misconceptions, the project Kunda emphasizes how dance can become a laboratory to learn and negotiate intercultural differences.
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