30. Januar 2024
A Conversation Between Ananya Jahanara Kabir and Magna Gopal
„Alegropolitics Of Connection: Reaching Out On The Dance Floor”
A Conversation Between Ananya Jahanara Kabir (Professor of English Literature at King’s College London) and Magna Gopal
Ananya Jahanara Kabir (internationally recognized empowerment coach)
Event in the frameworks of virtual inReach seminars at the The Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH)/University of Cambridge
Colonialism, enslavement, dispossession, and displacement: modernity’s foundational traumas also catalysed unexpected new cultural forms, including globally popular social dances that combine the European-derived partner-hold with African- derived rhythmic elements. Unequal and violent encounters generated dances based on the shared exhilaration of partnership, which now circulate transnationally through semi-formal leisure industries based on classes, parties, and festivals. Professor Ananya Jahanara Kabir’s research has mobilised this paradox to articulate a relationship between trauma, resistance, survival, and the market that she calls ‘alegropolitics’, or the politics of collective joy through connection—the title of the book she is currently completing, that draws on over ten years of multilingual, multi-sited, archival and field research on transnational spread of African-heritage partner dances such as salsa, tango, lindy hop, zouk, bachata, and kizomba.
Research on dance involves embodied and participatory methods. Simply put, it means dancing socially (a lot) and thinking about how the dance floor transforms us and what it can teach us. One of Ananya’s longstanding collaborators from the dance scenes she studies and participates in is the renowned salsa personality Magna Gopal. Their relationship exemplifies the deep connections between social dancers, teachers, and instructors that these scenes enable. Over the years Ananya and Magna have used their conversations to understand the inner logic of how partner dancing involves sociability, improvisation, musicality, and skill, to transform cultural appropriation to intersubjective connection. In this seminar they will conduct a conversation in the spirit of improvised partner dancing. They will talk about the ways in which reaching out to partners on the dance floor is also about reaching out across the barriers of class, ethnicity, religion, race, and profession to present live possibilities for connecting with each other through an alegropolitical legacy the dance carries with it as its own embodied history.
Watch a *PREVIEW* of Magna Gopal Leading Selene Tovar
inReach – /ɪn riːtʃ/ Seminar Series. A seminar series convened by Kelly Fagan Robinson (Department of Social Anthropology)
Registration via Eventbrite