By Kalissa Alexeyeff

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Additional info for Dancing from the Heart: Movement, Gender, and Cook Islands Globalization

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Rather than attempting to create a study about a geographically bounded group—and in the process incarcerating local residents (see DeLoughrey 2007, 197)—this book foregrounds the mobility of people’s lives to give a sense of how expressive culture, and dance in particular, travels through local, national, and international milieus. As well as observing and participating in various dance contexts, I conducted and recorded around sixty informal interviews with dancers, choreographers, and musicians.

The second theme is the central role that discourses about Cook Islands femininity—expressed through idioms of morality, respectability, and containment—play in the evaluation of both tradition and modernity. an introduction  In chapter 1, I discuss the role of dance and other expressive forms in precolonial and colonial social life to show the complex historical processes that inform contemporary dance practice. My primary focus is on the way forms of entertainment, tārekareka, have been transformed and renegotiated since European invasion.

Furthermore, the ways in which these changes were negotiated by Cook Islanders also reflect tradition—a distinctive style of local response to outside forces. This chapter provides a historical account of Cook Islands expressive culture, paying particular attention to the way dance and gender ideals are related in the precolonial, missionary, and colonial periods. Two key themes emerge from this examination: the connection between geographical and aesthetic movement, and the role of expressive forms in shaping relationships with outsiders.

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