Linguistic markers as evidence for cultural awareness : a critical examination of international critiques of a South African dance company

Gortz, Ann-Christin (2011-03)

Thesis (MPhil (General Linguistics))--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Bibliography

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Viewing cross-cultural dance performances on international tours or as part of international dance festivals has become common practice all over the world. For critique writers, choreographers/ dancers and the audience the accessibility of such a diverse variety of dance has both advantages and disadvantages. Cross-cultural differences in these performances challenge strategies of viewing and perception which may lead to aesthetic enrichment but these performances also risk being misunderstood. In dance critique writing, such a misunderstanding may result in a negative critique projecting, in a worst scenario, negative prejudices on the respective cultures. This thesis investigates how attitudes towards, and perceptions of, cultural differences are reflected in cross-cultural dance critiques, through the use of particular linguistic and stylistic devices. Analysis strategies deriving from Critical Discourse Analysis and Text Analysis are used to uncover the critique’s strategies to communicate their evaluation including ways of persuasion and power. I analyse six critiques from three countries on the performance Beautiful Me performed on international tours by the Vuyani Dance Theatre from South Africa. My initial hypothesis is that cultural differences may lead to negative critiques due to intercultural misunderstanding. Since viewing Performance Art is not only influenced by the critique writer’s cultural background but also by their perception attitude towards the performance, the analysis takes perception modes such as a theatre semiotic approach and a phenomenological approach into consideration. Interestingly, different perception modes seem to have a greater impact on the outcome of a critique than cross-cultural differences. This means that most negative evaluations must have their origin in the applied strategy of viewing and perceiving dance. The critic seems to interpret and embed the perceived features of the dance performance into specific cultural or socio-political contexts forming an individual, often complex evaluation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Om te kyk na kruiskulturele dansuitvoerings deur dansgeselskappe op internasionale toere of as deel van internasionale dansfeeste, het wêreldwyd algemene praktyk geword. Vir kritici, choreograwe/dansers en die gehoor hou die toeganklikheid van so ’n diverse verskeidenheid dans sowel voordele as nadele in. Kruiskulturele verskille in hierdie vertonings daag kyk- en waarneem-strategieë uit, wat tot estetiese verryking mag lei. Daar is egter ook ’n moontlikheid dat hierdie vertonings verkeerd geïnterpreteer mag word. Só ’n waninterpretasie in dansresensies mag lei tot negatiewe kritiek wat, in uiterste gevalle, negatiewe vooroordele oor die betrokke kulture projekteer. Hierdie tesis doen ondersoek na die wyse waarop houdings teenoor en persepsies van kultuurverskille in kruiskulturele dansresensies deur middel van spesifieke talige en stilistiese middele gereflekteer word. Analitiese strategieë uit die velde Kritiese Diskoersanalise en Teksanalise word gebruik om kritici se strategieë wat ’n oordeel kommunikeer, bloot te lê. Ek analiseer ses resensies uit drie lande wat handel oor die vertoning Beautiful Me wat deur die Suid-Afrikaanse dansgeselskap Vuyani Dance Theatre tydens internasionale toere opgevoer is. My aanvanklike hipotese is dat kultuurverskille aanleiding mag gee tot negatiewe kritiek vanweë interkulturele misverstande. Aangesien die beoordeling van Uitvoerende Kunste nie slegs deur die kritikus se kulturele agtergrond beïnvloed word nie, maar ook deur hul waarnemingshouding teenoor die vertoning, neem die analise waarnemingsmodusse soos ’n teater-semiotiek-benadering en ’n fenomenologiese benadering in ag. Interessant genoeg, lyk dit asof verskillende waarnemingsmodusse ’n groter impak het op die uitkoms van kritiek as kruiskulturele verskille. Dít beteken dat die meeste negatiewe oordele hul oorsprong moet hê in die toegepaste strategie van dans kyk en waarneem. Dit blyk dat die kritikus die waargenome eienskappe van die dansuitvoering interpreteer en inbed in spesifieke kulturele of sosio-politiese kontekste wat aanleiding gee tot die verskillende, dikwels komplekse maniere van beoordeling.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6840
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