In this blog i will reinforce the necessity to think about the International ballroom dance colonization as a political discussion. One of my aims is to educate about the technical richness of Brazilian dances, recovering our confidence to speak for ourselves and for our own culture. This way i can contribute to the latin-american dance studies that still do not exist, but that is necessary to set us free from the discursive imperialism of the international community.
+sloane16 No, they're in the European ballroom school destroys Latin/African heritage school of thought. They don't consider dances like Rumba and Samba danced by ballroom dancers as legitimate since it's not authentic way of dancing.
Which is stupid since things evolve, if I had to get angry every time polka gets wrongly used...
+Yolanee Hi sloane. you are not being fair. What is not legit about this is not the fact that "evolved" but the fact that it didn`t evolved from actual "samba" and "rumba". Now, what is funny is that the argument against us is that we are blind little savages that do not know how to learn from the development of art. The irony! It is actually European ballroom community that steal and adulterate other cultures rather then listen and learn from them.
If i want to understand the samba and rumba universe, you have to learn it from that universe, and not arrogantly creating your own thing, and making your own rules. The "ballroom colonization" of south american dances is one of the most scandalous types of eurocentric blindness in recent times. And the fact that people still act like someone hurt their feelings just because someone says "it isnt samba", shows that european still have to mature this side of their personalities. They still think hey are the center of the world, and do not tolerate nobody saying: "hey, you have to learn from us"
+Latino M. I think most rational people don't say that the original dances are not correct or anything...but the truth of the matter is that ballroom dances are a long standing culture of their own and most of us have nothing to do with their roots and creation. But they're part of our culture and education now.
Ballroom colonization...ok. I think this says the most. Whoever calls you a savage is a xenophobic small minded person but dismissing dancing and going out of your way to attack it for it being different is not that great either.
+Yolanee Yolane, i see you are open to rational discussion. I think its very disturbing the fact that now Europeans fell entitled to portrait themselves as the victims in this issue, like you tried to say in your post (if i am understanding you correctly). You were saying that i`m attacking "YOUR" culture. In sum, what i learned with your argument is that it`s not enough for international community to colonize and spread a fake-steriotyped version of authentic south-american traditions, mixing mexican with puerto-rico, confusing brazil with colombia, etc. They also have the need of colonizing and of owning the outrage and indignation when someone calls them out: poor europeans! If you not even realize the grotesque character of this situation, there is not much else i can say.
Actually it is impressive that some Ballroom dancers think about samba as a poor culture open to arbitrary interpretation. In Brazil we never did that with Ballet and Waltz (we learned from europe and still respect its european roots). I`m talking about a structural culture - samba - that is part of the maturation of the personalities and identity of most brazilians, and of brazil as a nation also. To study the hard and complex samba culture is part of the demands of every brazilian studies around the world. There are very rich musical elements related to it, that you cannot find in any other type of music in the world. So, looks to me baffling when someone thinks that they can arbitrarily call whatever they want samba, and then feel entitled to feel like the oppressed victims when someone calls them out.
"Colonization" is a good word to be used here. European Ballroom in fact never learned more than few steriotypes about samba and them submit it to their own styles, their own body expression and finally, reduced samba music to a very poor imitation of african batucadas - when they are not dancing to jennifer lopez, of course.
Finnally, about changing and development of dances and cultures, i`m very open to it. But that`s something that comes after hard study and listening to the ones that have their experience linked to it. So, its to that experience that we should recur when we want to understand them. If someone calls himself a "professor" and are not interesting in learning, he is just a charlatan. To make a version or a new interpretation of a deep rooted culture like samba demands study, hard work, humbleness, and a lot of desire to learn with the roots of these cultures. Its not something that you simply do arbitrariness out of the arrogant feeling that "im a european and I can reduce samba to fox trot, and im actually doing a favour to that brazilians".