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K. Meira Goldberg: Tracing Duende: On Digging Our Embodied History

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K. Meira Goldberg: Tracing Duende: On Digging Our Embodied History
K. Meira Goldberg: Tracing Duende: On Digging Our Embodied History

Date & Location

18 nov 2021, 17:00 GMT

Online: Zoom, Facebook

About the Event

How does embodied memory, the essence of dance learning and practice, teach us about our transtemporal, translocational, and (if you will) intertextual selves—as Fred Moten says, how to consent not to be a single being?[1]And what in turn does this teach us about how practice-based dance knowledge fits and can be integrated into our study of history?

Medieval Iberian lyrics are strikingly similar to flamenco verses in incorporating a melodic and rhyming signal into their structure which prompts the audience to join in—today in saying ¡Ole¡—before, in singing the estribillo, or refrain, after each verse. Because the audience sang the estribillo over and over, it was memorized and thus readily transmitted as a portable fragment from song to song and from generation to generation; indeed, the estribillo is central to flamenco today. These deep structural correspondences are the basis upon which I argue that practice-based knowledge of flamenco’s ancestral standards and codes can and should inform our reading of this historical record. The medieval Iberian songbook records the cosmopolitan matrix of the multilingual, multicultural, and multiconfessional Afro-Islamicate society in which it germinated. In postulating flamenco’s embodiment of the structures of the medieval Iberian lyric, then, I am attempting to trace a capillary system that nourishes the Western canon, but whose unique nature and constituent elements are often blanketed by the politics of Whiteness. These questions are urgently pressing right now, not only in light of our present reckoning with the harsh realities of racial violence, but also considering the de-historicizing, unmooring, and disembodying effects of living ever more intensely in the global mediasphere.

[1] Fred Moten, Black and Blur: Consent not to be a Single Being (Durham, Duke University Press, 2017).


K. MEIRA GOLDBERG is a flamenco performer, choreographer, teacher, and scholar. In 1980s Madrid, she performed nightly in flamenco tablaos alongside artists such as Antonio Canales, Arturo Pavón, El Indio Gitano, and Diego Carrasco. In the US, she was first dancer with Carlota Santana, Fred Darsow, and Pasión y Arte. Since going grey, she has instigated and collaborated on 100 Years of Flamenco in NYC (NYPL, 2013), Flamenco on the Global Stage (McFarland, 2015), The Global Reach of the Fandango in Music, Song and Dance (Cambridge Scholars, 2016), and Transatlantic Malagueñas and Zapateados in Music, Song, and Dance (Cambridge Scholars, 2019). Forthcoming projects include the collaborations Flamenco: History, Performance and Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2022), Indígenas, africanos, roma y europeos. Ritmos transatlánticos en música, canto y baile (Música Oral del Sur, 2021), The Body Questions: Celebrating Flamenco’s Tangled Roots (Cambridge Scholars, 2022), and a monograph, Perra Mora: Love and War in the Body of a Woman. She teaches at FIT and is Scholar-in-Residence at the Foundation for Iberian Music (CUNY). Her monograph, Sonidos Negros: On the Blackness of Flamenco (Oxford University Press, 2019), won the Barnard Hewitt Award for best 2019 book in theatre history or cognate disciplines, as well as Honorable Mention for the Sally Banes Publication Award for best exploration of the intersections between theatre and dance/movement, both from the American Society for Theatre Research.

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