Dance narration and feminine mimesis in Ob-Ugrian women's dances

  • Inka Juslin


This article is based on revitalized performances of Ob-Ugrian village rituals as well as interviews with female Khanty and Mansi dancers. It enhances two notions, that of the dance narration and the concept of feminine mimesis in women’s dances. The dance narration refers to the interpretation of dances, to the local notion of personal rhythm. It also denotes the lore narrated by dance songs. The dance lore not only points to the context of the bear feast, but illustrates with various attributes how women dance. These narrative elements form the feminine mimesis of the bear feast. The feminine mimesis evolves together with the dances, as women perform their gender. It is a space bringing together different aspects of life, education of youngsters, mothers’ role in the performance and people’s respect for nature. My analysis reveals that dancing corresponds to ethnomimesis of the bear feast. The experiencing of the bear lore and its epics, which connect people’s present to that of their ancestry, accomplishes multiple desires. The lived experiences acquire their meaning within the framework of heritage. Various fragments, stories, and individual desires constitute today’s bear lore.
Juslin, I. (2007). Dance narration and feminine mimesis in Ob-Ugrian women’s dances. Elore, 14(2).