Dancing on earth
the healing dance of Kalahari bushmen and the native American ghost dance religion
This chapter examines two cases in which practices of ecstatic or transformative dance, though caught in the crosshairs of Christian colonialism, refused to die: the healing dance of the Kalahari Bushmen and the North American Native American Ghost Dance. Representatives of these two traditions regularly describe their dancing in religious terms. This chapter argues that this use of religious vocabulary challenges modern western interpretations of the dances by revealing the ways in which dancing generates values, including what counts as quality of life. Introducing an ecokinetic approach, I show how these two dances provide participants with effective means for navigating coloniality in ways that not only assert ethnic or cultural identity, but cultivate life-enabling relationships with the natural world. Dancing, these cultures teach, plays a vital role in the process by which people affirm their humanity in the face of forces that would otherwise deny it; dance is essential to one's quality of life.
LaMothe, K. L. (2019)., Dancing on earth: the healing dance of Kalahari bushmen and the native American ghost dance religion, in K. Bond (ed.), Dance and the quality of life, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 117-133.
This document is unfortunately not available for download at the moment.