This paper considers the ideas of ‘improvisation’ and ‘variability’ in the context of group dances where uniformity and community dominate, in contrast to more common discussion of improvisation considering the ‘individual’ and ‘creativity’. As a case study, this paper considers the chain dances of the Banat region which are notable for synchrony and uniformity. This paper puts forward the idea of ‘initiators’ that take the focus from the ‘individual’ to the group when considering communal improvisation. Three alternative logical constructions for ‘improvisation’ are presented; that of a relative observation between two opposing forms where one is more planned or fixed than the other; the pushing of the boundaries of the dance either consciously and ‘creative’, or natural unconscious change; using the space within the theme for variations, such that ‘improvisation’ is just the perception of the less frequent products of the variation.
Green, Nick (2016). “Community chain dances in Banat: uniformity or variability, is this about the group or the individual?” Liz Mellish; Nick Green; Mirjana Zakić (editors), Music and dance in Southeastern Europe : new scopes of research and action, Fourth symposium of the ICTM Study group on music and dance in Southeastern Europe: pages 8–15. Belgrade: Faculty of music. ISBN 978–86–88619–71–4.