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A compelling ethnography of traditional dance and bodily knowledge
Winner of the 2008 Alan Merriam Prize, given by the Society of Ethnomusicology
How do music and dance reveal the ways in which a community interacts with the world? How are the senses used in communicating cultural knowledge? In Sensational Knowledge, ethnomusicologist and dancer Tomie Hahn uncovers the process and nuances of learning nihon buyo, a traditional Japanese dance form. She uses case studies of dancers at all levels, as well as her own firsthand experiences, to investigate the complex language of bodies, especially across cultural divides. Paying particular attention to the effect of body-to-body transmission, and how culturally constructed processes of transmission influence our sense of self, Hahn argues that the senses facilitate the construction of "boundaries of existence" that define our physical and social worlds. In this flowing and personal text, Hahn reveals the ways in which culture shapes our attendance to various sensoria, and how our interpretation of sensory information shapes our individual realities. An online companion provides visual examples.
About the Author
TOMIE HAHN is an associate professor in the department of the arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. A performer and student of Japanese dance since the age of four, she has been awarded natori-- the professional stage title of Samie Tachibana--from the Tachibana School in Tokyo.