By Paul A. Scolieri
Winner, Oscar G. Brockett ebook Prize in Dance learn, 2014
Honorable point out, Sally Banes booklet Prize, American Society for Theatre learn, 2014
de los angeles Torre Bueno® detailed quotation, Society of Dance historical past students, 2013
From Christopher Columbus to “first anthropologist” Friar Bernardino de Sahagún, 15th- and sixteenth-century explorers, conquistadors, clerics, scientists, and tourists wrote in regards to the “Indian” dances they encountered through the New global. This was once very true of Spanish missionaries who intensively studied and documented local dances in an try to establish and get rid of the “idolatrous” behaviors of the Aztec, the biggest indigenous empire in Mesoamerica on the time of its eu discovery.
Dancing the hot World strains the transformation of the Aztec empire right into a Spanish colony via written and visible representations of dance in colonial discourse—the tremendous constellation of chronicles, histories, letters, and shuttle books by way of Europeans in and in regards to the New international. Scolieri analyzes how the chroniclers used the Indian dancing physique to symbolize their very own reviews of ask yourself and terror within the New global, in addition to to justify, lament, and/or deny their position in its political, religious, and actual conquest. He additionally finds that Spaniards and Aztecs shared an knowing that dance performed a huge function within the formation, upkeep, and illustration of imperial energy, and describes how Spaniards forced Indians to accomplish dances that dramatized their very own conquest, thereby reworking them into colonial matters. Scolieri’s pathfinding research of the gigantic colonial “dance archive” conclusively demonstrates that dance performed an important position in a single of the defining moments in smooth history—the ecu colonization of the Americas.
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Additional resources for Dancing the New World: Aztecs, Spaniards, and the Choreography of Conquest
4 Cihuateteo. Codex Borgia, pl. 39. Courtesy of Dover Publications. recall the past and to divine the future; and a type of commemorative performance. Chapter 2 focuses on the writings of Friar Toribio de Benavente “Motolinía,” one of the ﬁrst of the twelve Franciscan missionaries to arrive in New Spain in 1524. Motolinía understood almost every facet of colonization through the lens of mime- sis, for he believed that the Indians’ ability to imitate European language and behavior was a sign that they could conform to Christian practices and beliefs, a necessary step to fulﬁlling his vision of a Christian utopia in America.
It is an invaluable source not only because of the breadth of information it contains, but also because the information is largely derived from natives who had ﬁrsthand access to such privileged knowledge. Chapter 3 focuses on the second book of the Florentine Codex (“The Ceremonies”), one of the earliest texts—and perhaps even the ﬁrst—dedicated to the systematic cross-cultural study of ritual, dance, or performance. Book 2 contains descriptions of the eighteen major rituals of the Aztec calendar as well as the sacred and political spectacles staged in and around the ceremonial precinct of Tenochtitlan, including the confusing and terrifying rites of human sacriﬁce that garnered tremendous scholarly and popular attention.
Indb 25 25 12/19/12 2:17 PM Fig. 1 Vespucci in Paria. Theodor de Bry, America, part 10 (1619). Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. ries about the “other’s other” often involve descriptions of behaviors and rites, including cannibalism, human sacriﬁce, and other barbaric rituals, such as this burial dance. Explorers’ accounts, including Vespucci’s, fueled the European construction of an America ﬁlled with the “noble savages” they encountered and “wild men” they heard about, persuading readers, especially would-be investors, about both the value and the danger of their expeditions.