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date: 18 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter analyzes the processes of transporting community-based dance practices to the stage, and argues that previously dominant formulations of “appropriation” are not complex enough to theorize this “political economy” of dance practices, practitioners, and audiences as dance forms move across cultural communities and onto the stage. Taking three disparate case studies as a way of thinking through these issues, this chapter investigates works by Twyla Tharp on Broadway, by Chuck Davis and his African American Dance Ensemble on stages in New York or Durham, NC, and Hawaiian hula performances in tourist venues and local halaus, or studios, to suggest that a more complex goal and sharper theoretical practice would be to literally track the political economy of dance practices, the accrual of monetary and cultural capital, and the ways that meanings change for performers and audience when dances move across cultural and commercial/non-commercial boundaries.

Keywords: political economy, hula, Twyla Tharp, Chuck Davis, appropriation, dance

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