chapter  5
14 Pages

Dancing on the Fissures

Alternative Senses of Crisis in the Faroe Islands
WithKimberly Cannady

The 18-island archipelago of the Faroe Islands stretches across the North Atlantic roughly halfway between Iceland and Norway. The populations, almost 50,000 inhabitants, are governed by the Danish constitutional monarchy and, for the most part, enjoy a uniformly high quality of life. In the Faroe Islands there is a lingering sense of dependency on Denmark, culturally, economically and politically, after centuries of hegemonic relations. The cultivation of uniquely Faroese modes of expression continue to play a major role in forging senses of cohesion within the Faroe Islands. Richard Wolfram, among others, has written about the pan-European nature of chain dancing dating back to the Bronze Age. The dance is steeped in the rhetoric of cultural heritage and the priority placed on 'having roots' in efforts to legitimize marginalized practices and people. The role of performance art in crisis situations also has implications outside of the Nordic context.