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Journal
2011 | 49 | 7-34
Article title

Kujutledes kogukondi: traditsioonist ja improvisatsioonist tanapaeva parimustantsus

Authors
Title variants
EN
IMAGINING COMMUNITIES: TRADITION AND IMPROVISATION IN TRADITIONAL DANCING TODAY
Languages of publication
ET
Abstracts
EN
The aim of this article is to show what is the living dance tradition in Estonia like, by whom and how traditional elements are used in spontaneous amusement dance situations. The main data have been collected by observant participation in 2010 at Viljandi Folk Music Festival where contemporarily arranged folk music was played and the audience was encouraged to dance. Today, traditional dancing is very much influenced by conscious learning through more or less organised, regular or irregular activities like dance clubs, stage folk dance groups, and festival workshops. Professional dance teachers and some musicians, especially interested in traditional dancing have taken an important role in disseminating the dance repertoire as well as performance styles. In dancers’ movement their dance learning past and background reveals. Historically, traditional dancing in its entertainment function has been rather international, but the imagined community of Estonian folk dancers is distinguished by their rather conservative attitude, expressed in quite clear ideas about “our own” and “foreign” elements in dancing while dance club people or active audience do not prefer dances with longer local history. The identity of “folk dancers” seems to be more connected with an ideal culture, based on archival data about Estonians’ dancing (deriving mainly from in the end of 19th century) while the dancing behaviour of “dance club people” could be described as intended culture which is more flexible and open. This way, comparing the dancing of both communities, a reflection of continuous balance seeking of overall Estonian culture can be seen. Nowadays, in most dancing events the improvisation is used but the level of improvisation – conservative, innovative or free – depends on individual values and decisions of dancers as well as the music, companions, place and space. Creative use of older traditions is the domain of small number of devoted enthusiasts. Generally, older traditions are unknown and their limits are not adhered to, because of the very tolerant overall cultural environment
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References
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Publication order reference
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