Espritu tasi/ The ocean within: Critical dance revitalization in the Pacific


Work by Teaiwa (2008, 2012), Kaeppler (2004), Alexeyeff (2011), Mazer (2007), Royal (2008), Freeman-Moulin (2011) and Cruz-Banks (2009, 2010) highlights indigenous dance endeavours and predicaments from Aotearoa/New Zealand to Kiribati to Hawaii to Tahiti and the Cook Islands. Scholars examine the complex postcolonial, pan-indigenous, multicultural and diasporic contexts that provide windows into how people construct their identities and worldviews through dance. This paper takes a look at what is happening on Mariana Islands, located in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. Specifically, this study looks at the island of Guåhan/Guam and the 2011 Chamorrro dance competition/Dinana Minagof and also engages in some of the broader questions and challenges relevant to the emerging Pacific Dance Studies field. Furthering the work of Flores (1996, 1999), this study is the first to examine specifically what dance revitalisation efforts reveal about contemporary Chamorro identities. In this preliminary dance ethnography, I explore the challenges of cultural revitalisation, share observations, comments, raise questions, and make some recommendations for (re)conceptualising Chamorro indigenous dance practices.

@ The University of Waikato