Staging Ghana:

Artistry and Nationalism in State Dance Ensembles

By Paul Schauert
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Indiana University Press, 2015

ISBN 978-0-253-01742-0

364 Pages


Schauert discusses the history of the Ghana Dance Ensemble and its role in Ghana’s post-independence nation-building strategy and illustrates how the nation’s culture makes its way onto the stage. He argues that as dancers negotiate the terrain of what is or is not authentic, they also find ways to express their personal aspirations, discovering, within the framework of nationalism or collective identity, that there is considerable room to reform national ideals through individual virtuosity.


List of PURL Audio and Video Files
Introduction: Crossing Crocodiles and Staging Ethnography   
1. Beyond Ethnicity, Beyond Ghana: Staging and Embodying African Personality   
2. Dancing Essences: Sensational Staging and the Cosmopolitan Politics of Authentication
3. Soldiers of Culture: Discipline, Artistry, and Alternative Education
4. Speak to the Wind: Staging the State and Performing Indirection
5. “We are the Originals!”: A Tale of Two Troupes and the Birth of Contemporary Dance in Ghana
6. Politics of Personality: Creativity, Competition, and Self-Expression within a Unitary Matrix
Conclusion: Dancing Between Self, State, and Nation
References and Bibliography


Paul Schauert is a lecturer in Ethnomusicology at Oakland University (Michigan).