Vol. 23 No. 1-2, 2002


Kristin Harris

La danse carrée, une forme de danse traditionnelle à Terre-Neuve, a surtout été pratiquée dans les maisons et lors d'événements communautaires. Il s'agit d'un type de danse en voie de disparition, et un mouvement est né au sein de la communauté des arts folkloriques à St. John's qui vise à la raviver et à la perpétuer. Sur une base individuelle, le mouvement s'est concrétisé de diverses façons. Cet article portera sur les efforts déployés par Tonya Kearley, ambassadrice culturelle autoproclamée, dans le but de perpétuer la tradition de la danse carrée à Terre-Neuve. «Kearley's Dance Up» est un événement touristique dont l'objectif est d'enseigner la danse carrée à tous ceux qui s'y intéressent. Une telle approche a servi à estomper la division entre le danseur et son public, ainsi que la frontière sépare les éléments performatifs et participatifs de cette forme de danse. Ainsi, la danse carrée est investie d'une théâtralité qui diffère grandement à la fois de son contexte traditionnel et des notions classiques de performance. Cette communication se veut un examen ethnographique de l'événement, axé sur la recontextualisation de la danse carrée qui passe d'un emplacement ésotérique (la cuisine terre-neuvienne) à une situation exotérique (en tant que produit culturel), et les changements qui en découlent.

Tradition is a bastion of the culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. Especially in the post-moratorium economic climate of 2001, ideas of tradition and revival were a large part of the booming tourist industry. As tourism increasingly becomes the mainstay of Newfoundland's economy, examining heritage and the role it plays in contemporary society is critical. The line between promoting culture to its benefit and selling culture to its detriment is indeed a fine one. While some applaud the heightened cultural awareness that increased tourism has brought to the province, others are wary that the trend towards cultural tourism will mean the demise of Newfoundland heritage and will lead to the province becoming simply a backdrop for its visitors.

This struggle is certainly not unique to Newfoundland; a wealth of literature addresses this very issue. Diane Tye's study on Cavendish, Prince Edward Island is particularly relevant here. Tye's article, "Multiple Meanings Called Cavendish: The Interaction of Tourism with Traditional Culture," illustrates the search for meaning in terms of the impact of tourism on the local culture within the boundaries of an island culture. As Newfoundland, too, ventures down the path of cultural tourism, its ambassadors must be cognizant of the image they are portraying of the province, its heritage, culture and people. However, many of those involved in this industry see the increase in visitors to the island as an opportunity to showcase the traditions that are near and dear to their hearts. Tonya Kearley is one such selflabelled cultural ambassador. Through her Dance Up event, Kearley has moved towards amassing knowledge and increasing awareness of set dance forms indigenous to Newfoundland.1 Rather than worry about preservation and revival, she teaches dances as she herself learned them, and combines this with new choreography in a similar style. She is willing to teach these dances to anyone who wants to learn them, visitor or local, and sees that as her main goal as a member of the Newfoundland arts community. Where some might be fearful of change, Kearley looks at her event as an opportunity to educate and to entertain. Dance Up can be examined ethnographically in its own context, as well as in the larger realm of tradition, tourism and culture. In this paper I do not intend to argue for or against Dance Up, or indeed any aspect of cultural tourism as it stands today in Newfoundland and Labrador; rather, I wish to problematize and contextualize the issues at hand through my case study of Kearley's Dance Up event.2

Tourism is on the rise in Newfoundland and Labrador. The riches of the now defunct cod fishery have given way to the pursuit of outside dollars. The push towards tourism is indeed problematic, as those in the heritage industry find the line between promoting and exploiting culture to be a fine one.Brochures and other literature aimed at tourists exemplify the folklorism that is so thoroughly documented by numerous folklorists. The Newfoundland and Labrador 2001 Travel Guide lists an endless number of folk festivals and other cultural events, in particular the provincially sponsored Soirees and Times. It proclaims, "we'll sweep you off your feet. With jigs and reels and festivals and the world's most friendly folk. Dance away your cares at a Newfoundland Soiree[...]. Sit yourself to the table for a scoff, then hit the dance floor for a scuff "(30).While some may lament the demise of the traditional scuff in the kitchen, I. Sheldon Posen asserts that the move from kitchen to stage is a valid recontextualization of the group to which these community members belong (128). By aiming Dance Up at both local and visiting populations, Kearley aims for that happy medium that recontextualizes the event to another time and venue.Audience participation, which she sees as so integral to the event, seems to be key in that respect.

As Elke Dettmer discusses, Newfoundland has increasingly turned towards tourism as a means of economic diversification. This is evidenced through performances as the manifestation of "known traditional material" in the social context of the festival and other public display events (Hymes 13). Not only is there an ideological return to past cultural riches, as illustrated by the resurgence of traditional music and dance, but the indigenous characteristics of Newfoundland and Newfoundlanders are being marketed as part of the tourist literature (Dettmer 173). This cultural revival has developed from a predominant notion that Newfoundland has its own distinct culture that needs preservation (Overton 56). McKay argues that the impact of our postmodern reality

[...] intensifies and multiplies the demand for Folk Images, for rustic hideaways, for rural authenticity. Postmodernity intensifies what Lears called the crisis of selfhood and jeopardizes the very concept of authenticity; it induces a kind of cultural panic and enhances the attraction of old, traditional forms. (278)

From a glance at what is offered to visitors, it is immediately apparent that the authors of these tourist documents play upon these fears of losing culture in an increasingly technological and impersonal society. Yet, when it comes to an art form such as dance, abstract notions such as authenticity and tradition become extremely difficult to define and validate. Anything that is passed on through oral (or on this case, kinesthetic) transmission will be altered, simply through the different personalities, bodies, and memories involved. The case study of Tonya Kearley illustrates that there may be more than one way to utilize folklore as a means of attracting attention to one's culture.By using a traditional form, and approaching it in a contemporary way, she is making new meaning of culture and tradition.As she put it, she is transitioning tradition (Personal interview).

In his text on Canadian culture, Tom Henighan asserts that "culture is the most inspiring, the most provocative and creative form of national defense that one can imagine" (91). On a more localized scale, the same can be said for Newfoundland heritage and culture. Heritage studies have expanded from examining museums and other cultural institutions to including intangible forums, such as festivals and other events. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett proposes five ideas relevant to heritage in her article, "Theorizing Heritage":

Heritage is a mode of cultural production in the present that has recourse to the past; heritage is a "value added" industry; heritage produces the local for export; a hallmark of heritage is the problematic relationship of its objects to its instruments; and a key to heritage is its virtuality, whether in the presence or absence of actualities . (369)

This argument provokes a number of ideas that lead towards rethinking precisely what heritage is and, therefore, how it can be presented. Heritage industry products are not simply "survivals" from the past. By looking at a dance tradition as simply a relic of the past, there is no room for the dynamic elements that naturally exist in dance as an art form. Kearley asserts that it is important to recognize that the present plays a role in looking to the past, which she contrasts with other folk dance groups who look simply towards preservation as their mandate.

As a "value added" industry, heritage sites and events take cultural elements that are dying out, or that are being ignored, and place emphasis on them, thereby giving them a value that may not have been in place before. In the same way that certain old homes are declared "heritage buildings" so that they will be restored and not torn down, so does the declaration of set dancing as part of Newfoundland heritage place this new value upon it. As opposed to a dance form that is practiced in the privacy of one's home, it has now been placed squarely in the public realm.3 And by placing an emphasis on teaching and dancing this particular form, set dance has become more valuable in the eyes of local and tourist alike. It becomes a product for sale and export, which some Newfoundlanders applaud and others dislike. Regardless of personal opinion, the teaching of this dance style to both local and foreign populations does disseminate the knowledge and appreciation of Newfoundland dancing to an increasingly large group of people. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett's fourth element of heritage highlights the conflict between an object and its instrument. There is a tendency to emphasize the importance of the object, and ignore the instrument that promotes it.4 However, Dance Up reflects the interface between the two, and in fact promotes the instrument itself through its posters and other ways of creating its own meaning. Finally, the virtuality of Dance Up as a heritage event is evident through its rethinking of authenticity, heritage, and tradition. It navigates the virtual and actual in terms of its representation of the dance form in its teaching and execution.

Tradition is an extremely problematic notion.5 In their canonical text, The Invention of Tradition, Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger coin the term "invented tradition," defining it as something that, "includes both 'traditions' actually invented, constructed and formally instituted and those emerging in a less easily traceable manner within a brief and dateable period—a matter of a few years, perhaps—and establishing themselves with great rapidity" (1). Dance Up falls into the latter part of this description. While it does rely chiefly on traditional Newfoundland set dancing, it has become a recognizable event in its own right, particularly in the last six or seven years. With the term "invented tradition," Hobsbawm and Ranger have labeled a new kind of cultural tourist event that falls somewhere between what was conventionally considered folklore and "fakelore," which can be defined as "a synthetic product claiming to be authentic oral tradition but actually tailored for mass edification" (Davey 45). They created a new category of analysis, one that allows for the problematizing of culture in a way that was not previously possible. Davey's notion of "formalization and ritualization" of the past accurately describes the impetus behind the creation of Dance Up (4). Kearley has taken the traditional kitchen dances of "old time" Newfoundland and created a means for formal instruction in a new context.

While Kearley does participate in this notion of invented tradition, the question then is, why? When there are so many square dances that already exist in the canon, why bother to create new ones, particularly if that may be to the detriment of your place in a relatively small arts community? Bendix argues the following:

Appeal to a touristic audience constitutes only a surface rationale for inventing traditions. Economic motivations are one part of the story, perhaps an important rhetorical argument in the process of creating display events. But wished-for economic benefits do not sufficiently explain why such events are continued for decades or even centuries. A close examination of the motivations and choices of originators, performers, and audiences of new, traditionalized displays points instead towards an affirmation of local and national cultural identity in the face of seasonal mass foreign invasion. ("Tourism" 132)

Reflecting Bendix's arguments, Kearley does not state that she creates new dances solely for the benefit of participants. In fact, she realizes that this may alienate more "hard core" square dancing enthusiasts, leaving her with a smaller base from which to attract participants. Kearley states that she creates new dances for several reasons. First of all, she enjoys choreography, and loves being able to put existing steps together into new figures, and to combine these figures into new dances. Also, she does stress the need to appeal to a younger generation of potential dancers, and has shifted her focus to attract that market to her event. Finally, she runs this as a business. The economic gains, while not the primary motivation behind the creation of new dances, are a factor here. Kearley is in the cultural tourism business, and therefore wants to attract as many people as possible to Dance Up. If she cannot make money, then she cannot afford to continue running it and spreading her knowledge and enthusiasm about Newfoundland set dancing. She sees this new form of set dancing as her primary way of doing so.

Dance Up originated from Kearley's own experiences with local dances in downtown St. John's. Kearley attributes the beginning of the set dance revival to the efforts of John and Ken (pseudonyms), who used the music of well-known Newfoundland fiddlers as the basis for these dances.6 Kearley's personal involvement with the St. John's Folk Arts Council led her one night to The Loft, a facility located at Haymarket Square in St. John's. Kearley describes her first encounter with set dancing, in 1989, as one that had a profound effect on her:

The place was packed, with a capital "P."[...] Towards the end of the night we were getting ready to leave, and John announced, "we're going to do one more dance." He had a hard time getting people up on the floor for this one more dance. Connor and I were almost at the door, when someone said "Tonya and Connor, come up, we need another couple." So we went up and John was calling the Harbour Deep dance, Running the Goat, and it was if someone had injected me with my first shot of crack. That was all it took. [...] I've always been someone who's been really self-conscious about movement and rhythm; I'm a really clumsy person. [...] But when I got up and danced in a group of eight people, I felt part of a puzzle, and it fit and I could manoeuvre my limbs successfully and it looked really good and I did really well. And I went to many more dances that year. (Personal Interview)

This was the beginning of her passion for set dance. As theorized in Judith Lynne Hanna's writing, Kearley experienced the strong connection between dance and emotion, so common among dancers (182). As she continued participating in John's dances, Kearley became more adept at performance and more involved in bringing dances to various communities:

John started to use some of us keen dancers as pinch hitters. After about a year or so of going to the dances, myself and Frank, and Jane, the three of us started doing occasional dance calling. And then John and I, for a short time about ten years ago, hit a couple of communities with myself and himself and a couple of other dancers. [...] We would arrive, and do workshops and he would provide the music and we'd take it from there. And then I hooked up with Kelly [...] and by that time I knew half a dozen or more dances really well to call them and instruct them. And that was something that came automatic, was the ability to translate the dances into movement, from theory to movement. (Personal Interview)

It was at this point that Kearley began to realize her own potential in terms of taking these dances and teaching them herself.After a period of "apprenticeship," she began to venture out on her own:

Kelly had the music and I had quite a number of dances. This was the beginning of Dance Up. We would go from community to community, and we did quite a lot in one year.We billed it as "traditional Newfoundland dancing." It wasn't called Dance Up at that time; it was called Close to the Floor, and was a concert with Newfoundland dance and fiddle music. (Personal Interview)

They would arrive at a community, arrange a location, put up notices, and enlist local musicians to play along with Kelly on the fiddle, with Kearley calling the dances. The importance of community involvement became paramount to Kearley. These events were extremely successful, which Kearley partly attributes to the fact that she not only taught dances, but also welcomed others in the community to come up and share their dances with her. In her words, that gesture broke the ice, as "we weren't coming out and saying, 'this is your tradition and we're gonna teach it to you'" (Personal Interview). She was well aware of her role as an outsider, using that to her advantage to earn the support of the participants as well as learn new dances from them. She and Kelly travelled around for about a year in 1994, visiting a number of outport communities and building their cultural tourism business. They then established Dance Up as a regular event in both Trinity Bay, where they own and operate a Bed & Breakfast, and in St. John's, where they currently live and base their cultural consultant business.7 They also sell the Dance Up event to conventions and conferences. It is largely successful in this realm, as audience members enjoy the participation aspect of the event.

The multifunctionality of Dance Up is evident, as the event itself combines elements of education and entertainment in teaching participants how to dance and then providing them with the opportunity to perform these dances.8 In Kearley's words, "my goal is to teach them a dance in under twenty minutes, then get them to perform it in under ten minutes. So, in less than half an hour, they'll be dance masters of one dance. That's my personal guarantee" (Personal Interview). She, then, has a deliberate objective to ensure that each and every participant leaves the dance venue feeling as though they have achieved something concrete: the ability to perform at least one Newfoundland set dance.

Josey Petford argues that, "interactivity is the buzzword of the 1990s, and the battle lines have been drawn in the war to woo the consumer with claims of total participation and experience" (14). Indeed, Kearley stressed several times that just watching set dancing is not adequate. The purpose of Dance Up is to have participants learn dances and acquire a skill and, therefore, appreciate the cultural background from which set dancing derives. When performing a Dance Up for a convention or conference, Kearley refuses to start until everyone is up and ready to try the dances, ensuring that everyone understands that the key to the event is participation. This approach addresses contemporary tourist expectations of having an "authentic" Newfoundland experience. By learning the dances, the visitor can take home something intangible yet achievable—the knowledge of how to teach a dance or the memory of mastering the steps to a dance—and, perhaps, the more tangible photograph or video of him or herself performing a dance. Kearley's idea that "the audience becomes the performer" is one that is well-suited to the interests of today's tourist.

For the 2001 tourist season, Dance Up took place in two locations: the Masonic Temple in St. John's and Rocky's Lounge in Trinity Bay. Scheduling has become a problem in St. John's; with such a boom in the hospitality industry, tourists are faced with an wide array of activities from which to choose.However, Dance Up is held once a week in Trinity, and occurs up to three times a week in St. John's. Participants range in ages, and everyone is welcome. Kearley has taught dances to children as young as three years old, and readily promotes Dance Up as a family event. The only challenge, as she sees it, is the height difference between children and adults, but that is an obstacle that is easily enough overcome.9 This attitude differs from Kearley's involvement as choreographer and dancer for performance groups, and she does see a clear distinction between the two, even though they are in the same dance style.

The popularity of vernacular dance is due, in part, to the fact that it is within reach of most people. While dance is indeed a skill to be learned, as well as an art, set dancing is something that anyone can learn, as epitomized through Kearley's approach. As Linda Tomko has suggested:

Folk dancing's populism inhered in its accessibility, its availability to nearly every moving body. [...] Dance was the art activity most capable of execution by the great number of "normal" people, and it met the needs of [...] society as a whole in its search for aesthetic expression. (Tomko 209)

In adhering to this philosophy, Dance Up maintains an approach that helps Kearley achieve her goal of including all interested parties in the learning and performance of set dance.

The Dance Up evening begins with an introduction and the invitation for participants to venture out on the floor. Kearley, the self-styled "dance dominatrix," begins at once, organizing participants into pairs and appropriate figures, and begins teaching the dances immediately. She has little interest in relaying the history of the dances to participants, as she perceives their primary interest in the actual execution of the sets, rather than in learning the background and variants of them:

These are people who want to come out for an entertaining time. Most lingo I give out is the vernacular names of the figures, and the alternate names I've collected from other communities.10 So that's the lingo I give out, because it's not a lecture series, it's entertainment, where they pay to be the entertainers. (Personal Interview)

As part of the teaching of the dances, Kearley assumes a character, which she attributes to her theatrical training and natural inclinations towards acting. As the event starts, she senses a shift in herself, corresponding with Dell Hymes's notion of "breakthrough into performance" (11-14). As she begins to explain the dances and demonstrate them to her participants, Kearley speaks and acts closer and closer, as she puts it,"to the edge."11 She is careful not to go overboard, but she sees the dance dominatrix persona as a way of putting a contemporary and unusual slant on what may be seen as a staid and traditional art form:

I say some crude, rude things these days when I'm calling dances. You either love her or you hate her. I don't care which, as long as you learn the dance. [...] It ties in with reaching a different audience. I know that I've got the square dancing set because [when] they hear anything [about] square dancing, [they say] "oh, we've got to consume that;we've got to show them we know how to dance a quadrille." I've got them [...]. So I figure once I got them in the door, then I can manipulate them in a way that shows them that this is new, it's not just revival, it's transitioning tradition. (Personal Interview)

Therefore, this mode of expression that comes out through the dance dominatrix is Kearley's way of conveying to her dance audience that she is doing something out of the ordinary. It is used not only to attract a younger participant, but also to give the seasoned square dancer a new perspective on a traditional aspect of culture. She uses her persona to send the message that this is not a typical set dance experience, thereby putting an edge on the expected convention of a square dance.

As a heritage-based event, Dance Up is mimetic in form. It relies on what Kirshenblatt-Gimblett refers to as in situ; "[T]he object is a part that stands in a contiguous relation to an absent whole that may or may not be re-created" (Destination 19). While Kirshenblatt-Gimblett here is referring specifically to museum pieces, the same idea may be applied to an intangible heritage event. An in situ installation piece in a museum may include replicas of what would have existed in and around the object in question, prior to the object being taken out of its normative context and placed in the museum. By adding these contextual pieces, the installation tries to complete the whole picture as much as possible, attempting a high level of mimesis. As a public display event, Dance Up takes the idea of Newfoundland set dancing in situ and recontextualizes it. Kearley does not mimetically attempt to re-create a kitchen scene in order to replicate the setting in which these dances originally occurred. However, she does provide context to participants, so they are aware of the history of the dances, and so that they understand how their movements will somewhat differ due to the alternate locale.12 There is a certain level of mimesis present; however, a full re-creation is not the intention in this particular event.

Mimesis, a term often used in theatre and performance studies, refers to imitative practices that we all perform.This can most commonly be seen in a stylized form on the stage or in other performance venues. Robert Cantwell uses the term "ethnomimesis"to apply this concept to ethnographic theory.He breaks down the word into two parts. Ethno refers to groups and the forces that constitute them. Mimesis is imitation, the learning that arises between, among, of, and by people in social relations. It is through unconscious mimicry that we recognize influence, tradition, and culture with others (5).He argues that this impersonation is mostly unconscious, spontaneous, and ubiquitous as a vital medium of social and cultural communication. Cantwell equates ethnomimesis with all culture. This is because ethnomimesis informs both our conscious and unconscious life, is essentially imaginative, and is found in social practices and products (5-7). It is a term that can easily be applied to an ethnographic situation, as it is so deeply embedded in any cultural norm. While a distinction should be made between conscious mimesis in performance and less deliberate ethnomimesis, both may be found in an event such as Dance Up that both intentionally incorporates Newfoundland set dance in a new way and instinctively includes elements of traditional Newfoundland culture at the same time.

As Kearley explains the dances, she employs a "hands-on" teaching approach, thus enabling participants to incorporate mimetic learning techniques along with verbal instruction. She breaks down the metaphoric wall that stands between performer and audience, moving away from her post at the front of the room and venturing onto the floor to demonstrate a move or correct a figure. In this way, she does not simply call the dance. Her role constantly shifts, yet she maintains authority over what transpires on the floor. The pace is brisk, and participants move fairly quickly towards the mastery of the first dance. Kearley stresses that anyone can learn these dances. She starts the evening off with what she calls an "introductory dance,"which usually involves an intricate chorus, a promenade, another chorus, and finally thread the needle. This last move is fairly simple to execute yet looks far more complicated to the observer.13 At the end of the explanation and practice, Kearley immediately sets the musicians to work.14 As soon as they begin playing, Kearley starts to call the dance. Rather than using a "singsong" style, which she attributes to the American and mainland Canadian square dance style, Kearley calls the dance by using simple keywords and phrases that she shouts out in a "clipped"fashion (Personal Interview). This periodically reminds the dancers what moves should be executed throughout the dance and reduces the need for participants to memorize the order of the dance steps.

The practice of calling a dance is at odds with traditional Newfoundland set dancing. As Colin Quigley states in his seminal work on set dancing in Newfoundland, "as long as dancers knew what to do, and the musicians knew what to play, which was usually learned primarily by observation and imitation, there was little need for a descriptive systematic terminology" (19). Kearley describes the more traditional way of learning square dancing:

In the traditional context there would be no calling.We'd just get up; you'd probably dance with someone who wasn't a novice. It would be the community dance. By the end of the night, you were able to teach somebody else. I've learned a number of dances through that method. (Personal Interview)

However, she doesn't see that as a feasible method for teaching these dances to those who may be unfamiliar with the conventions. Kearley feels that if she is to teach a number of dances to strangers in a short period of time, it is simply not acceptable to "throw them to the wolves," so to speak, and let them figure it out on their own. She feels that her instructional approach "makes the locals feel some sense of pride, that, 'oh yeah, that's my tradition and I don't mind her teaching me, even though I know some of it,' and the CFA's15 feel comfortable too that they're going to get the instruction they need and not look like idiots when they're doing it" (Personal Interview). She feels that this method, while breaking with custom, is a far more effective way to teach the dances and has aided her greatly in her own development as a dance caller. By calling the dances, she sees them as being more accessible to a wider audience.

In terms of integrating her own personal style with that of traditional dances, Kearley sees a negative moment in her own life as a dancer to have been the impetus for a personal shift in philosophy. Her desire to broaden her dance repertoire and teach it to a wide audience created conflict with a local square dance revival group, which preferred a more limited and performance-based repertoire. Kearley states that when her intentions were made known to this group, friction ensued and she was excluded from its functions. She sees her mandate as that of learning and creating many new dances in order to further disseminate the Newfoundland set dance style. While this break from the group was a blow to Kearley personally and professionally as a dancer, she took advantage of this split from strict tradition and began to choreograph her own dances. This is in direct contrast to the belief of many practitioners of traditional art forms that in order to keep a traditional art form alive, you must preserve it as much as possible. The ephemerality of dance especially contributes to this belief. Kearley's assertion that altering traditional dance keeps it vital and popular is one that put her at odds with her peers in this area. She is quite proud of her own choreography, and sees no problem with inserting her own creativity into what others see as something that needs to be so carefully guarded:

Perhaps I am an upstart. What I do know is a shitload of dances. And I know how to teach them to people and I know how to share them. And that's what I want to do. And I know how to make up dances but it seems to me a natural, I have a natural aesthetic for picking and choosing figures that go well together and then making something new. And there are moves that are entirely brand new in Newfoundland but probably exist somewhere else, I don't know.Who cares, really? I'm not telling people that I own them, that they owe me royalty fees to do them. (Personal Interview)

Kearley sees this creative input as part of her contribution to an art form that she feels should be dynamic and innovative in order to attract new enthusiasts as well as retain those who are already involved: "Revival still has, for me, the idea of dredging something up from the bottom of the dormant, sludgy pond. And I don't think that dance is being revived. I think it has been kept going in a lot of communities" (Personal Interview). This attitude is illustrated through the smallest of details, including the 2001 Dance Up poster. Her self-styling as a dance dominatrix, as well as the billing of the musicians as "Kelly Russell and Fiends,"16 assists in this effort:

So the whole mandate was to move the Dance Up into a juxtaposition with old fashioned Newfoundland square dancing, which is what our poster used to say, to Dance Up, Newfoundland set dancing. Just concise, nothing old-fashioned about it, here it is, this is the tradition, come do it. (Personal Interview)

However, Kearley has not created new dances within a vacuum. Aside from her personal experience in set dancing, she has also benefited from the knowledge of her husband, Kelly Russell, and she has conducted research on English and Irish dance styles in order to familiarize herself with the forerunners of Newfoundland set dancing as she knows it. This idea of creation within the boundaries of a traditional style corresponds to Regina Bendix's discussion about Moser's definition of folklorism (Authenticity 177). Kearley here uses elements of folklorism in Dance Up in a very deliberate way; her integration of folk motifs (in the form of traditional dance steps) into new dance pieces, as well as taking the set dance style out of the kitchen and placing it in a bar or a hall, is her way of altering and revitalizing a traditional art.

This, of course, leads to the notion of authenticity. Today's tourists are increasingly savvy. They arrive with heavy itineraries, and the current trend towards cultural tourism makes them inclined to select the most "authentic" and "representative" activities possible. Of course, this is fostered by available tourist literature, which practically assures visitors that they will see happy, smiling Newfoundlanders playing the accordion and jigging fish everywhere they turn. While pinpointing what is authentic is highly problematic, the issue of authenticity comes into play when merging the new with the traditional.17 The discussion of what is authentic relates to Dorson's coining of the term fakelore. While fakelore does seem to be prevalent in many tourist attractions all over the world, Dance Up is not one of these. It makes no claims to be anything other than a means by which people can learn to dance. While it does bill itself as a way of participating in a Newfoundland tradition, it certainly makes no claims that it represents something that has been unaltered. While Kearley asserts that the dances date back at least three hundred years in Newfoundland, she openly acknowledges that each community may have its own version of a particular dance: i.e., the Portugal Cove lancers may be different from the Peter's River lancers. Additionally, Kearley has altered some of these dances herself and has also created new ones.

Although tourists are often in search of an authentic event, "no matter how far into the everyday domain a tourist is allowed to peek, the authenticity remains staged by the very fact that the tourist is looking at it" (Bendix "Tourism" 133). Rather than try to convince participants that the dance form they are learning is authentic, Kearley simply teaches it as it is. She explains what aspects of the dances are traditional and what elements are new, and allows participants to make up their own minds. Through this approach, Kearley subverts E.Cohen's "Four Cell Model of Tourist Situations." Philip L. Pearce and Gianna M. Moscardo outline this structural approach to authenticity and tourism by describing the impression of tourists to various real and staged scenes (124).18 While Cohen's theory draws distinct lines between what is acceptable and unacceptable in terms of tourism and authenticity, he fails to acknowledge the recontextualization that exists in numerous tourist activities, including Dance Up. Kearly's event blurs the lines between these dichotomies. By including the audience as part of the tourist spectacle, as well as mixing the old and the new, she challenges the notion that there are distinctions between elements of a tourist event that are revealed to the tourist, and others that are concealed.

It is evident, therefore, that Dance Up is a mélange of forms. It is a celebration of Newfoundland heritage, it is the result of a unique artistic vision, it is a tourist event, and it is also a means by which locals can rediscover something familiar to them. This may lead to the impression that Dance Up is intended to satisfy too many different audiences, an effort which often produces the opposite result.However, conversation with Kearley leaves the distinct impression that this is not the case. She follows her head and her heart; as a folklorist by education and a cultural ambassador by trade, she has created an event that satisfies her own cravings. She has found that Dance Up also satisfies the cravings of others. If we use Heidegger's definition of authenticity as "meaning to be most appropriately what one is," then there can be no hesitation in viewing Kearley's Dance Up event as possessing its own authenticity (Pearce and Moscardo 124). As for the future of Dance Up, Kearley envisions it moving forward towards its roots. She anticipates eventually revisioning it as a travelling event, where she can bring herself and musicians to small communities and hold the Dance Up locally in various outports. The strength of Dance Up, as Kearley sees it, is evidenced through its success in Trinity, which has far outweighed the response it has received in the urban setting of St. John's. In Trinity she is seen as the one "who has got our dancing back,"and she has increased her integration into the community itself (Personal Interview).And she hopes that she will be able to take her knowledge and enthusiasm on the road again.



1 Throughout this paper, the terms set and square dance will be used interchangeably. While there are some differences, they essentially fall under the same dance genre.
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2 This research is part of a larger study of set dance in the St. John's region. Shorter versions of this article were presented at the Association of Canadian Theatre Research conference at Dalhousie University in 2003, and published as "Tradition, Tourism and Revival and the Dance Up Event: Or, How Running the Goat Changed Set Dancing in Newfoundland" in Canadian Dance Studies Quarterly 2.3 (May 2002).Online/CD ROM publication.
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3 In Newfoundland, set dances were typically performed in the home, and then shifted from private to public space. However, the home remained the domain of the family, essentially retaining its elements of privacy.
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4 In this case, the object would be the dances themselves, and the instrument would be the Dance Up event, where people learn the dances.
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5 I am not going to attempt in this paper to debate the merit and relevance of terms such as tradition, heritage, and authenticity. I simply aim to address them in this particular context, largely through the eyes of my informant.
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6 Aside from Tonya Kearley and Kelly Russell, all names used in this paper are pseudonyms.
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7 Shortly prior to publishing this article, Tonya Kearley and Kelly Russell sold their B&B in St. John's, and are now based in Trinity.
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8 Information on the structure of the Dance Up event itself comes from my interview with Kearley, as well as two occasions in the summer of 2001, when I acted as participant observer at Dance Up.
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9 On one of the nights I attended, there was a six year old who came to dance with her grandmother. It was a delight to see all ages included and successfully learning the dances.
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10 For example, through the woods, hand over hand, chain, and grand chain are the same move, with variants in terminology originating from different communities.
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11 To demonstrate the dynamics of this character, Kearley brought out a tressage whip during our interview, which she sometimes uses to playfully prod a dancer into the right stance or floor position.
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12 For example, by dancing in a large hall, there is much more room. Therefore, participants may dance further apart, and use space in a less efficient way than those who were forced to dance in a small room in someone's home.
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13 Thread the needle is a move where participants form a line in a circular shape, and duck and weave under each others' joined hands, thereby creating a continually moving spiral.
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14 Regular fiddle accompaniment is provided by Kearley's husband, Kelly Russell, who often invites other musicians to play along with him. There may be other fiddlers, as well as musicians playing the accordion, bodhran, and other instruments conventionally used in Newfoundland music.
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15 CFA means "come from away," and is an emic, or insider, term used for tourists or other non-Newfoundlanders living in Newfoundland.
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16 This is in contrast to the more conventional terming of the musicians as "Kelly Russell and Friends."
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17 Kearley does not hide the fact that she does this. At one point during the Dance Up events I attended, she announced that she had created and workshopped one of the dances a few months ago.No one seemed to object.
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18 Cohen's model classifies four types of "tourist scenes" that differentiate between authentic and inauthentic people and environments, which are also delineated as "frontstage" and "backstage" people and regions. Frontstage refers to people and things consciously creating a display for tourism purposes, and backstage refers to people and things not in the "tourist spotlight" (125).
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