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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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Revealing the Couple: Concealing and Revealing in the Sousta Dance on Rhodes.

Patricia Riak.

The paper has been developed from work in progress for a postgraduate dissertation with the Department of Anthropology, La Trobe University. The work is an ethnohistorical exploration into the Dodecanesian dance, the sousta performed in the southern Rhodian coastal village of Kattavia. The paper will address how the sousta functions as a process (through the processual anthropology of Victor Turner) in this courtship process. The dance frames four distinct performative stages. The first stage is that of monos where the separation of genders occurs (corresponding to Turner's separation phase). The second stage is that of the omadha where the connection through dance units is established. The third stage is that of kiklos where association between genders occurs (both these stages in the dance equating with Turner's liminal phase). The final stage is that of zevghari where isolation of a courtship couple is established (corresponding to Turner's final phase of re-aggregation). The four stages highlight Turner's tripartite structure. Thus, the paper does not explore the choreological aspect of sousta but a 'processual' reality in the dance which serves to define the choreology of the dance as a socially mediated process of rites de passage in Rhodian culture.


Patricia Riak  (Australia)
Ph.D student
School of Sociology, Politics and Anthropology
La Trobe University

Patricia Riak is Ph.D candidate in Anthropology at La Trobe University. Her research is on dance anthropology with an ethnographic focus on the sousta as practised on the island of Rhodes before Independence (1947). Her other research interest is in Greek island culture with special reference to the Dodecanese.

  • Anthropology of dance
  • Processual anthropology
  • Rhodes Island
  • Gender relations

(30 min Conference Paper, English)