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date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

For many people, “folk dance” and “ethnic dance” are roughly synonymous, used vaguely to identify colorful but marginal dance traditions. Old stereotypes and biases persist, hindering our understanding of these important spheres of dance activity. This chapter explores this conceptual terrain and proposes definitions that differentiate between the two terms and can be cross-culturally useful. The chapter reviews a number of traditions for conceptualizing “folk dance” and argues that it is sometimes desirable to associate the term specifically with dances of the peasantry (people in rural agricultural societies around the world), as well as those inspired by peasant dancing. It proposes that “ethnic dance” be used to denote any dance in which cultural boundaries are actively engaged. Three Ukrainian dance examples—hutsulka, Hopak, and The Match—illustrate the implications of these suggestions.

Keywords: dance, folk, ethnic, peasantry, Ukrainian, hopak

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