Referencing or Reproducing? Dancing about South Asia..

While seeming to fuse with this spontaneity/wildness, Dadawa’s lyrics (chants) and her dance (mimicking the upper-body sway of a cobra) are always orderly, and pace-persistent. Indeed, it is that fixity of beat that allows the insertion of the mood of (cool) jazz in the last phrases: all are locked into finger-snapping play-along, oversung by babble-talk. The digression is finally and overwhelmingly reversed by the last sequence, the kalbelia, the most seductive of the implementations of graceful unpredictability.

Given the contrast with the penultimate “coolness” and stability of Dadawa’s imaginary snake dance, one senses a non-closure: what she (elsewhere) labels a “drawing of ideas”, as opposed to copying (learning/empathizing with) non-Sinitic dance and song. This is not really fusion….it is a claim of proximity and good will.

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