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Oct 23, 2011

Mummy Dearest

I admit, I'm weirdly fascinated by Nathalie Péchalat's and Fabian Bourzat's new Egyptian-themed free dance. It's such a mess of cultural appropriation that I can't quite help but be fixated upon it. I think I understand the general gist of the dance's storyline: it appears that Mr. Bourzat is a sort of Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh-type figure in trousers, while Ms. Péchalat is his strategically-mummified wife/concubine he has reanimated for one last danse macabre. Given that the music is mostly Anglo-American and the movements are more Walk Like an Egyptian than actually Ancient Egyptian...well, I'm sure Edward Said would've had a field day with this free dance.

Of course Ms. Péchalat and Mr. Bourzat are far from the only skaters to engage in dubious cultural approximations of cultures different from their own, but given all the sound and fury over Domnina/Shabalin's 'Aboriginal'-themed original dance from the Olympic season, I wonder if we are more desensitized to programs like Péchalat/Bourzat's because we are already so used to hokey Ancient Egyptian stereotypes?

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