Dance as indigenous response-ability: Jacqueline Shea Murphy, ‘Mitimiti Reciprocities of indigenized dance’, in Gabriele Brandstetter, Gerko Egert, Holger Hartung (eds), Movements of Interweaving Dance and Corporeality in Times of Travel and Migration, Routledge, 2018


Abstract: This chapter discusses Mitimiti by Māori (Ngati Porou/Ngati Kahungunu and Te Rarawa/Nga Puhi) choreographer Jack Gray, as presented in October, 2015 by Atamira Dance Company in Auckland, Aotearoa (New Zealand). It engages with the activations of reciprocity this dance work embodies, focusing on how it enacts connective, respectful, response-able—as well as playful and loving—relationality, activated in Indigenous-to-Indigenous contexts and open to all. The chapter describes (with description unfolding in layers, much like the dance itself) ways this work counters familiar absorptive (or distanced or exotified) settler-colonial practices of (attempted) incorporation of Indigenous peoples and knowledges; Mitimiti, it suggests, is not a celebration of the interweaving of Western and Indigenous movement structures, and the possibilities in these interwoven patterns for moving beyond an ongoing settler colonialism that is hardly “post.” Rather, it looks at how Mitimiti refuses the interwoven fabric of various “Western” structures, worldviews, and practices (even as this activation happens, necessarily, in adaptive relation to the weight of its mantel) to assert, through loving, embodied practices—where love is defined through reverberating calls for Indigenous-to-Indigenous self-recognition and self-love—the interwoven fabric of its own multiple and complex continuums of past, present, and future.

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