Seize the Dance

Seize the Dance

"Pygmy music" has captivated students and scholars of anthropology and music for decades if not centuries, but until now this aspect of their culture has never been described in a work that is at once vividly engaging, intellectually rigorous, and self-consciously aware of the ironies of representation. Seize the Dance! is an ethnomusical study focused on the music and dance of BaAka forest people, who live in the Lobaye region of the Central African Republic. Based on ethnographic research that Michelle Kisliuk conducted from 1986 through 1995, this book describes BaAka songs, drum rhythms, and dance movements--along with their contexts of social interaction--in an elegant narrative that is enhanced by many photographs, musical illustrations, and field recordings on two compact discs.

"I found this work to be tremendously exhilarating, precisely because it provides such a clear window on another culture, and on the entire process by which 'we' and 'they' mutually construct our identities in the modern world."--Scott DeVeaux, University of Virginia

"In my view, the book offers a terrific amount of new ethnographic material on 'pygmy' culture. It is a wonderful example of a new type of ethnographic research that is very significant for musical studies."--David Locke, Tufts University

"The writing strategy is such that [readers are] realistically led through Kisliuk's fieldwork, and we learn about the BaAka slowly, as she does....Kisliuk succeeds in presenting the BaAka people she met as real, complex, multifaceted individuals."--Thomas Turino, University of Illinois

Michelle Kisliuk is Associate Profeessor of Music at the University of Virginia.

Media Files

The following audio and video files are from the Seize the Dance! by Michelle Kisliuk.

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