La Danza Bugabita: The History and Performance of Los Moros y Cristianos from Spain to the Municipality of Bugaba, Panamá
Paudler, Heather Jean (author)
Gunderson, Frank D. (professor directing dissertation)
Uzendoski, Michael (university representative)
Seaton, Douglass (committee member)
Brewer, Charles E. (Charles Everett) (committee member)
Von Glahn, Denise, 1950- (committee member)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
College of Music (degree granting college)
This dissertation centers on la danza Bugabita, a rural Panamanian dance-drama expression of los moros y cristianos. It documents, analyzes, and contextualizes the music, text, choreography, and history of the festival, bringing together various types of investigation in an attempt to unpack the complex, dynamic meanings intertwined in its performance. In order to facilitate a theoretical and methodological approach that accounts for the multifaceted avenues of inquiry undertaken in the investigation of this dance-drama, I apply Renée Jacqueline Alexander's concept of "prism." In her study, Alexander applies the trope of prism to the polyvalent Panamanian identity formation that allows for the "malleability, hybridity and fluidity within their plural identities." Her model can be applied to la danza Bugabita, as it is a protean tradition that is in flux and can also be described as hybrid and malleable, both historically and contemporarily. To view la danza Bugabita through a prism, each chapter is positioned to function as a distinct refraction of the transmedial dance-drama, marking a specific framework that has impacted the tradition as it currently exists. All chapters refract each other and the overall topic, individually bringing into focus different facets and angles that allow for interplay among its themes through time and space. This approach brings the past into the present and builds connections between the diversity of perspectives as they reveal the history and performance of la danza Bugabita. As such, there is necessarily a lot of movement of chronological timeframe, geographical place, and themes between the chapters. The movements and intersections of these concepts throughout this study are organized in such a way as to ease the tension between chronology and theme, and, in many ways, reflect the way in which I became familiar with the material. In observance of the trope of prism, each chapter has a sharply focused perspective with defined frameworks to address the questions and issues that it explores. The opening chapter establishes a historical precedent and foundation of los moros y cristianos and its study, further explaining the various contemporary critical theory frameworks and diverse methodologies used in each facet of the "Bugabita prism." The second chapter reframes the historiography of the "New World" and its use of this dance-drama, which confounds the distinction between center and periphery, as I contend that peripheral areas are not marginal to the stories that matter in the larger global projections of history. The third chapter presents an ethnographic exploration of the festival that weaves together various source materials to build an integrated narrative of the dialogue, music, and choreography that is attentive to long-term processes of change. The fourth chapter corrects a misconception that conflates the local version with the Chanson de Roland. I place it in a new literary framework by tracing its textual source, and then illuminating the cultural implications that arise from this literature chain that deal with emergent ideas of race, ethnicity, religion, and identity, and its dissemination and propagation throughout the Iberian colonies. The fifth chapter brings together themes from the preceding chapters in a case study of one particular piece of material culture, la pollera, in order to contribute to the understanding of the place of la danza Bugabita within its specific historical conjecture. I disentangle themes of gender, sexuality, and race found within the tension between representations of the body and the live body in performance to demonstrate how music, dancing, and performance bring prior constructions of race and gender roles into question. The final chapter synthesizes conclusions about the history and performance of los moros y cristianos and traces its trajectory from Spain to the municipality of Bugaba, Panamá.
dance-drama, La Danza Bugabita, Los Moros y Cristianos, Panamanian folklore
April 13, 2015.
A Dissertation submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Frank Gunderson, Professor Directing Dissertation; Michael Uzendoski, University Representative; Douglass Seaton, Committee Member; Charles E. Brewer, Committee Member; Denise Von Glahn, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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