The Politics of Dancing: issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander


I have copied below the abstract of an AIATSIS seminar given by Alisa Duff on 12th October.

And I have copied the audio link too.

The series can be accessed at

“Dance is commonly portrayed as integral to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s lives and experiences. Marketing and promotion involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders across a range of mediums and platforms frequently includes imagery of costumed dancers at rest or during performance. Romantic assumptions of Indigenous Australians include the Elder in a remote community passing his dance down to another generation, families and communities performing song and dance cycles; and cultural festivals and gatherings where Indigenous Australians collect as they’ve done for thousands of years to enact and remember culture, lore and history. Implicit in these assumptions is the belief that dancing is a “natural” or inherited ability, unconsciously embedded in the dancers psyche, waiting for an occasion or event to be displayed. This seminar will interrogate some of these assumptions and question the value assigned to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural dance.

[Biographical information]

Alisa Duff was born on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, far north Queensland. She traces her descent from Moa Island in the Torres Strait, the Wuthathi and Yadhaigana peoples of North Queensland and the MacDuff clan of Scotland.
A graduate of NAISDA Dance College, she has worked as a professional classical and contemporary dancer in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. She is currently completing a Masters by Research through the Queensland University of Technology where she won the Indigenous Postgraduate Research Award.
In 2009, Alisa was chosen by the British Council Australia as one of three future Indigenous creative leaders in the Arts, and spent five weeks in the United Kingdom on a tailored program which included a secondment to the Cultural Olympics for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
As a current Indigenous Visiting Research Fellow at AIATSIS, Alisa’s research area focuses on Dance and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

This entry was posted in Arts, Culture, Dance, LING466 Blog Posts. Bookmark the permalink.

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