restricted access Global Modernities
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Global Modernities
Mark Franko, Editor

This issue of DRJ explores how dance in transnational perspective alters our perspective on modernity. Dance participates in what Arjun Appadurai has called "diasporic public spheres" that are "one special diacritic of the global modern" (1996, 11). One's view of modernity derives at least in part from one's position on the global map. But, contemporary realities of deterritorialization complicate the very notion of positionality. Contributors to this issue reveal what we might call an alternative modernity of dance—or dance as an alternative modernity—composed within the crucible of diverse forms of migration, complex patterns of cultural heterogeneity at specific local sites, unexpected conglomerations of homogeneity and/or hybridity, and pressured reconfigurations of modernity in the media (particularly in television, which plays a role in several of these articles). All these variables have been broadly qualified by Appadurai as the contemporary "ethnoscape," and are addressed in this issue of DRJ from within the "cultural economy" of dance as movement.1 How dance moves through the world is a question not only of how dance is presented, mobilized, funded, or improvised under difficult circumstances, but how dance constitutes the global public sphere itself. For our authors, danced movement is not merely an abstract figure of relations in the global context, but rather sets of specific practices that beckon us to reformulate what we mean by modernity in and as movement, which also entails interpreting the political, social, and aesthetic roles choreographic performance has played since the 1970s and continues to play today.

Ananya Chatterjea's "On the Value of Mistranslations and Contaminations: The Category of 'Contemporary Choreography' in Asian Dance" examines the field of contemporary Asian dance in international fora, the mediascape, to speak like Appadurai whom Chatterjea cites, through which Asian dance circulates globally. Sensitive to the translation of South Asian cultural particularism driving the choreography of contemporary Asian artists into the modern/postmodern look fostered by international festivals, Chatterjea places contemporary Asian choreographic production within the context of global capitalism, according to which the work of Asian choreographers must "translate" into postmodern koiné. While encouraging the dissemination of work stemming from local dance traditions, Chatterjea argues for mistranslation and contamination on the global stage. Her article speaks to the global migration of dance as performative capital, and to how tradition should or should not be translated to establish an intercultural encounter within contemporary creativity and production. Chatterjea attests to translations of particular Asian movement traditions into a universalized "contemporary" vernacular, but, also, to translations of the universal "contemporary" vernacular back into indigenous styles. Hence, it is difficult to read exclusion into inclusion, or to politicize and historicize what Chatterjea calls "the flattened plane of global circulation" (10). We are left with a "domesticated diversity" (11).

Clare Croft's "Dance Returns to American Cultural Diplomacy: The U.S. State Department's 2003 Dance Residency Program and Its After Effects" explores the international context through an intercultural collaboration rather than—as in Chatterjea's piece—as an issue of translation. Croft focuses on the creation and presentation of A Slipping Glimpse, involving Indian and American artists Tansuree Shankar and Margaret Jenkins that was part of a post-9/11 initiative of American state-sponsored cultural diplomacy. Croft explores how such programs actually engender [End Page 1] relationships, and how the artists involved are creative in coping with programmatic insufficiencies. She also calls attention to structural inequalities between the U.S. and South Asian participants that transpire in the process of artistic composition, including authorship and choreographic choices, actual participation of Indian dancers in rehearsals and performances, etc. The framework of diplomacy is radically reconsidered in light of the necessity to form long-term creative and cooperative relationships.

Rachel Fensham's "'Breakin' the Rules': Eleo Pomare and the Transcultural Choreographies of Black Modernity" turns our attention to the well known yet largely misrecognized and widely misunderstood dancer and choreographer Eleo Pomare. De-emphasizing Pomare's career in New York as the angry young man of the Black Arts Movement, Fensham focuses instead on Pomare's work in the early 1960s in Amsterdam and in the early 1970s in Melbourne. Drawing upon Fred Moten's theory...