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date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

In July 1936, Boris Volkoff, a respected Toronto dance teacher and choreographer, and some of his students represented Canada at the Internationale Tanzwettspiele, one of the arts events staged in conjunction with the infamous Nazi Olympics. To depict Canada and its heritage in dance, Volkoff choreographed Mon-Ka-Ta and Mala, two works inspired by indigenous cultures. Accessing archival documents, this chapter argues that Volkoff’s choreography was aligned with the attitudes underpinning English-Canadian ethnocentricity, particularly regarding salvage ethnography, aesthetic primitivism, and the appropriation of indigenous iconography for nationalist narratives.

Keywords: Boris Volkoff, Berlin Olympics, ethnocentricity, salvage ethnography, aesthetic primitivism, cultural appropriation

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