1st Generation Dances

As explained on the page “what is a Real Folk Dance“, a 1st Generation dance (1stG, a phrase coined by Don Buskirk)  stems from a 1st Existence (a phrase coined by Joann Kealiinohomoku) situation.  It was originally performed in a “society in which dancing constitutes part of the living tradition” [Kealiinohomoku] (not on a stage) by people who learned the dance informally – by mimicking, or from friends or relatives (not from a teacher in a classroom situation).

By my definition, no matter how “authentic” the steps or music are, their particular combination must arise from a 1st Existence situation to be called a 1st Generation dance.  If later on that same dance is seen on a stage performed by people from another culture (2nd Existence), the dance is still 1stG.

Some 1stG dances are no longer performed in 1st Existence situations, even in their native land.  Nevertheless they’re treasured in their home as part of their culture’s heritage, and are performed on stage by local dance troupes (2nd Existence).   I think of them as museum pieces, but they’re still 1stG dances.

If a 1stG dance can be seen being performed in 1st Existence situations, like weddings, homes, parties, street festivals, etc, by people in their everyday clothing (not tricked-up matching sets of “traditional” costumes), then I call it a Living Dance, a special subset of 1stG dances.   Dancing in modern clothes, not costume is to me a “certificate of authenticity”, meaning that the dance is relevant in the present day.

It is my intention to back up all 1stG dances listed here with YouTubes of their modern performances in native situations.  That includes performances in traditional locations and by expat immigrant groups, but not recreational folk dance groups.

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