Avec Sydney Hutchihnson*
From the 1950s through the 1970s, East German choreographers, dance teachers, composers, and ballroom enthusiasts worked to provide their socialist comrades with new dances that would express and encourage joy in the “new life” socialism provided. Drawing ideas from US, Latin American, and Eastern Bloc trends and employing their own creativity, committees regularly put out dance ideas, premiered them in festivals, and encouraged “dance circles” at businesses, villages, and neighborhoods to take them up. Mgazines published dozens of these new choreographies and scores to allow for amateur recreation, and they spanned “Modetänze” (dance trends or social partner dances), new folk dances, and imported international dances reworked in East German style. Only a few became popular; others were performed only on a single occasion.
Understanding how these dances were created and used, as well as what they meant in their historical context, is one part of my larger project entitled “Second World Music: Latin America, East Germany, and the Sonic Circuitry of Socialism.” I will speak about how the social dances fit into my larger investigation into the performance of socialist internationalism. I will also discuss the methodology I am employing to reconstruct and perform the dances and their music as a form of participant-observation in a no-longer-existing dance culture. Together we will explore these new creations, their choreomusical successes and failures, by doing the dances ourselves and considering our own bodily experiences of the material.
Sydney Hutchinson is a research associate at Humboldt University's Institute for Musicology and Media Studies in Berlin, Germany. Formerly, she was associate professor of ethnomusicology at Syracuse University, visiting professor at Goethe University Frankfurt, and a Humboldt fellow at the Ethnological Museum Berlin. Hutchinson has published four books on Latin American music and dance and a translation of Dominican singer-songwriter Rita Indiana's latest novel. Her most recent publications include articles on choreomusicology, gender and the body in Mexican norteño music videos, and merengue dancing. Earlier works have won awards from the Society for Ethnomusicology, Society of Dance History Scholars, and American Folklore Society as well as the Samuel Claro Valdés prize for Latin American musicology.
Le séminaire du CREM (Centre de recherche en ethnomusicologie) a lieu deux lundis par mois, de 10h à 12h. Les chercheurs (doctorants compris) membres du CREM ou invités de passage y présentent leurs travaux en cours. Les présentations durent 50 minutes, et sont suivies d’une pause café et d’une heure de discussion.
Occasionnellement, le séminaire prend la forme d’un atelier rassemblant plusieurs chercheurs autour d’un thème commun. Il dure alors un après-midi ou bien une journée complète.
La participation au séminaire est ouverte à tous. Il fait par ailleurs partie du cursus des Master d’ethnomusicologie des universités Paris Nanterre et Paris 8 Saint-Denis.