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Visualizing Ethnographic Findings through Dance Film

This paper examines the feasibility of dance film as a method for communicating ethnographic findings, and ultimately proposes a methodology to express ethnography through dance film. Through the need for a more public anthropology, it will build upon the writing culture critique to propose nonlinguistic ways of communicating. While visual ethnographic methods have partially addressed this issue of accessibility, visual ethnography as an image alone fails to create context by situating viewers with cultural themes, and thus remains reliant on text to create responsible ethnographic representations. By experimenting with ethnography situating images of dancers within a research location, a fully visual form of ethnography emerges where the dancer’s movement can communicate representationally in lieu of text. This Dance Film Ethnography method has the potential to represent cultures through a medium devoid of text—creating an ethnography that can be shared across boundaries of nation, language, and class.

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