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Body, Movement, and Culture
Kinesthetic and Visual Symbolism in a Philippine Community

Sally Ann Ness

312 pages | 6 x 9 | 23 illus.
Paper 1992 | ISBN 9780812213836 | $24.95s | Add to cart || Outside USA | £20.99
Ebook 2016 | ISBN 9781512818222 | $24.95s | £16.50 | Add to cart || About
A volume in the series Contemporary Ethnography

Winner of the 1995 Book Prize of the Congress of Research in Dance

In Body, Movement, and Culture, Sally Ann Ness provides an original interpretive account of three forms of sinulog dancing practiced in Cebu City in the Philippines: a healing ritual, a dance drama, and a "cultural" exhibition dance. Ness's examination of these dance forms yields rich insights into the cultural predicament of this Philippine city and the way in which kinesthetic and visual symbols interact to create meaning.

Ness scrutinizes the patterns of movement, the use of the body and of objects, and the shaping of space common to all three versions of the sinulog. She then relates these elements to the fundamental ways the culture bearers of Cebu City experience their world. For example, she shows how each of the dance forms functions to reinforce class distinctions and to establish a code of authenticated "cultural" action. At the same time, Ness demonstrates, the dances manifest and actualize widely applied notions about the nature of "devotion," "sincerity," "naturalness," and "beauty."

Throughout the text, Ness provides a close analysis of movement that is all too often missing from anthropological studies of dance. Most significantly, she works to relate the movements used in dance to everyday movement and to interpret the attitudes and values that are embodied in both choreographed and quotidian movement.

Important and illuminating, Body, Movement, and Culture is of particular interest to students and scholars of anthropology, folklore, dance, and Asian studies.

Sally A. Ness is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside. She is the author of Where Asia Smiles: An Ethnography of Philippine Tourism, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

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