Abstract Mats

Abstract Nofod 2017


The theme Dance and Democracy is a great challenge. It seems as democracy is used in two main ways. One is how decisions are made and the other is more about the content, values and results of these decisions. On the other hand, with dance nearly everybody mean something that has to do with movements and the human body, even if we can disagree about what movements are dance and which are not. The limits and boarders for what we want to call dance are cultural constructions, and so are the naming of a lot of dance genres. I will not go into some sort of definitions, but rather connect to and use democratic values when discussing dance.

My empirical field is dance, often with the prefix of popular or folk. So I am studying prefix-dance. But which dance is the no-prefix one? Why do I use prefix, while others not always use any? Folk and popular dances, whatever that is, are used both on the floor for social dancing and on the stage as theatre art performances.

Dance is both contemporary and traditional, because any dance used today is contemporary, and all dancing has its traditions. Over a period of around 100 years of time it is also possible to see a change from communities that dance to dancing communities.

In my presentation I will partly use popular and folk dancing history to discuss and go more into the above mentioned phenomena and concepts and link them to dance and democracy.

Mats Nilsson
Associate professor in Ethnology
Dept. of Cultural Sciences
University of Gothenburg