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Choreographing Traditional Dances in the System of Commodifying Practices: The Example of Serbian Clubs in Vienna
Serbian clubs in Vienna are cultural-artistic and sports organizations derived from former Yugoslav clubs founded by Yugoslav guest workers in the 1970s. Initially, clubs expressed their affiliation with the homeland through their work, guided by the ideology of brotherhood and unity and expressing the Yugoslav identity. The disintegration of Yugoslavia and conflicting national ideologies in the home country strongly affected clubs in the diaspora. As a result, clubs were divided according to a national-ethnic basis. Since the 1990s, the clubs in Vienna have been turning to the presentation of national identity and national programs, which is especially evident in the work of folklore sections. This paper aims to present and analyze one aspect of the activities of Serbian clubs in Vienna – the choreographing process, which I will interpret within the system of commodifying practices. I start from the hypothesis that, precisely because of national ideology and strongly present nostalgia among Serbian migrants in Vienna, amateur choreographers from Serbia manage to retain the “market” for their choreographies, presenting them as “authentic” products that “preserve the tradition” of the mother country. The work is divided into two larger units: 1) an ethnographic presentation of the choreographing process and questions of its authenticity; 2) an analysis of the process of commodification of dance and choreography.
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