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Free Content Teaching fundamentals of modern dance in Mali, an on-going learning exchange

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This article addresses the question of the universality of somatic approaches in teaching dance through the author’s experiences in Mali. She describes how context is an important part of the teaching–learning experience in a cross-cultural situation. While it might be said that the body is a constant, the context (the cultural interpretation) is not. A dancer evolves first in a dominant ‘homeland’ cultural context. With somatic-influenced teaching, a dancer can learn what is common to all human bodies and what is unique in his or her own. The author includes an interview with one of the dancers who is part of the programme in Mali. The respect of the individual in somatic approaches opens possibilities for exploration and shared understanding between people of very different backgrounds. In the best of circumstances, somatic work itself continues to evolve in an ever-changing landscape of learning exchanges.
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Keywords: cultural context; dance in Mali; dancing outdoors; learning exchanges; somatic approaches; tradition and democracy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Independent

Publication date: 01 June 2014

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  • This journal focuses on the relationship between dance and somatic practices, and the influence of this body of practice on the wider performing arts. The journal will be aimed at scholars and artists, providing a space for practitioners and theorists to debate the work, to consider the impact and influence of the work on performance, the interventions that somatic practices can have on other disciplines and the implications for research and teaching.
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