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National Competitive Festivals: Formatting Dance Products and Forging Identities in Kenya

Abstract : n the process of dance heritage creation in contemporary Kenya, an essential and until now underestimated role is played by competitive festivals organized by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture. Due to their accessibility, visibility, recurrence and national distribution, these events facilitate the dissemination and the adaptation of a specific repertoire\textemdashthat of cultural dances of Kenya. They build on old local customs and reveal continuity with the colonial era during which the repression of "native" dances led to a particular use of choreography and folklore. Inspired by several aesthetic systems, stage products in competitive festivals are directed by elaborated evaluation criteria, which over the years have been exported outside of that context. This article attests to a circulation of actors and products, as well as a circulation of heritage categories and corporalities. It aims at understanding the effect competitive festivals have on the institutionalization of dances in Kenya, but also on the modes of their existence.
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Submitted on : Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 6:39:57 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, March 5, 2020 - 3:39:44 PM

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  • HAL Id : hal-01632109, version 1

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Kahithe Kiiru. National Competitive Festivals: Formatting Dance Products and Forging Identities in Kenya. Cultural Analysis, University of California, Berkeley, 2017, 15 (2), pp.1--28. ⟨hal-01632109⟩

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