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Creolization as balancing act in the transoceanic quadrille: Choreogenesis, incorporation, memory, market

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-157
Number of pages23
JournalAtlantic Studies : Global Currents
Issue number1
Early online date31 Jan 2020
E-pub ahead of print31 Jan 2020
Published31 Jan 2020


King's Authors


This essay examines quadrille dancing in the Caribbean and the Mascarene archipelagos to theorize creolization as cultural process. Through close reading of French, Creole, and English sources, fieldwork, and attentiveness to the pleasures of social dance, I analyze the creolized quadrille as a balancing act between choreogenesis, or the emergence of new segments within the quadrille’s multi-part structure, and their fractal incorporation within that structure. An incompatibility with the logic of the market results, which, over the longue durée, is balanced by the creolized quadrille’s postcolonial memorialization within a festival economy, even as the commercialization of creolized partner dances became its circum-Atlantic legacy. The transoceanic frame of my argumentation reveals convergences as well as divergences between the Indian and Atlantic Ocean worlds that connect Europe and its (post)colonies. The creolized quadrille then emerges as a transoceanic leisure form that demonstrates creolization as an economic and cultural force within global modernity.

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