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BALLROOM DANCING AS A CULTURAL REPRESENTATION AS REFLECTED IN

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					WCA 2007 Conference, Brisbane, July 2007                                                                      1


              BALLROOM DANCING AS A CULTURAL REPRESENTATION AS REFLECTED IN
           THE COMMUNICATION BEHAVIOR OF A BALLROOM GROUP IN QUEZON CITY


                                              Dr. Carmencita Del Villar
                                             University of the Philippines
                                           Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines


Abstract


Ballroom dancing has been in the Philippines entertainment scene for decades. To date there has been a
dearth of information about it, much less studies on it. The present study investigates this phenomenon of
ballroom dancing in the hope of filling in the gap, and of understanding what and why it is, and how it is
related to the bigger picture of the Philippine society.


This study is an attempt to answer the general question: What is the ballroom dancing culture as reflected in
the communication behavior of enthusiasts at a ballroom in Quezon City ?


Specifically, it aims to answer the following:
1.      What is the social organization of the place for ballroom dancing?
     a. Who are the ballroom dancers?
     b. What motivates them to dance?
     c. What are the requirements of ballroom dancing?
2.      What are the norms and practices in the ballroom scene?
     a. What are the dynamics on the dance floor and in the ballroom scene?
     b. How did the norms and practices come about?
     c. What are the observable communication behavior in the ballroom scene?
3.      To what extent are the norms and practices in the ballroom a reflection of society‟s socio-cultural
     environment?
4.      To what extent are the communication behavior in the ballroom scene a reflection of the
     communication practices in the larger society?


Theoretical Framework:




WCA: Communication in the 21st Century: Exploring Roots; Expanding Visions
WCA 2007 Conference, Brisbane, July 2007                                                                          2


This study uses the Social Construction of Identity Theory of Anthony Giddins as its framework. The theory
says that „self identity is an inescapable issue‟.    People are bound to make important choices throughout their
lives, from mundane everyday tasks to vital and weighty ones that impact their being. Modern society, by its
very nature, forces man to „work out‟ their roles for themselves. As Giddins argues “What to do? How to act?
Who to be? These are focal questions of late modernity – and ones which, on some level or another, all of us
answer, either discursively or through day to day social behavior”


Thse questions of identity are both a cause and effect of transformations that occur at the institutional level.
There are links between the „micro aspects of society‟ or the „individual‟s internal sense of identity‟ and the
„macro picture‟ of society. These levels have reciprocal influence upon each other and „cannot really be
understood in isolation‟.


Looking at the focus of the present study, it is predicted that the micro picture of the ballroom dancing
culture and the macro picture of society itself are both a cause and effect of the dynamic transformations
that happen to both – a web of both „micro and macro forces‟.          They cannot be understood apart from each
other.


Methodology:


In Depth Interview


Working within the framework of Giddins, the present study will be relying heavily on the method of In
Depth Interview/Story Telling. What stories do individuals tell? A total of 20 male and female ballroom
dancers to be taken from a ballroom group in Quezon City will be the subject of this study. The nature of the
interview with them will be unstructured, as in an informal story telling, to allow for a more spontaneous
sharing. The researcher will build friendship with the chosen individuals, frequent the ballroom scene, and
extract information during casual conversations. Notes will surreptitiously be recorded (in writing or by tape
recording) in between conversations.


Questionnaire


Another method of collecting data will be by Questionnaire. This method will use a semi structured form.
The purpose of this method is to gather more information from a bigger sample. No friendship needs to be
developed in administering the questionnaire. The researcher will simply ask fellow dancers in the ballroom


WCA: Communication in the 21st Century: Exploring Roots; Expanding Visions
WCA 2007 Conference, Brisbane, July 2007                                                                       3


to fill out the instrument in between their dances. A total of 100 questionnaires will be distributed in the
ballroom.


Participant Observation


In addition to the In Depth Interview and Questionnaire, the researcher will record all her observation during
her visits to the ballroom. Covertly, she will record, through writing and tape recording, all her observations
as to communication behaviors, norms, and practices in the ballroom.




WCA: Communication in the 21st Century: Exploring Roots; Expanding Visions

				
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