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Catalog Archive / Spring 2022

Dancing Spirit, Love, and War
Performing the Translocal Realities of Contemporary Fiji

Studies in Dance History
Published under the auspices of the Dance Studies Association

“Evadne Kelly’s research into meke explores shifting identities of Fijians through time and space. A gift of loloma (love) for the Fijian people, this landmark study is layered, self-reflective, and ultimately a rare gem of scholarship that integrates intellectual and emotional intelligence. My life has been enriched because I read it.”
—Vilsoni Hereniko, University of Hawai‘i

Meke, a traditional rhythmic dance accompanied by singing, signifies an important piece of identity for Fijians. Despite its complicated history of colonialism, racism, censorship, and religious conflict, meke remained a vital part of artistic expression and culture. Evadne Kelly performs close readings of the dance in relation to an evolving landscape, following the postcolonial reclamation that provided dancers with political agency and a strong sense of community that connected and fractured Fijians worldwide.

Through extensive archival and ethnographic fieldwork in both Fiji and Canada, Kelly offers key insights into an underrepresented dance form, region, and culture. Her perceptive analysis of meke will be of interest in dance studies, postcolonial and Indigenous studies, anthropology and performance ethnography, and Pacific Island studies


Evadne Kelly is an independent artist-scholar. Her research focuses on the political and social dimensions of dance traditions and her publications appear in Pacific Arts Journal, The Dance Current, Performance Matters, and Fiji Times.




“Skillfully theorized and graciously written, Dancing Spirit, Love, and War explores the multifarious makings, unmakings, and remakings of meke, both in Fiji and across the Pacific to Canada. This is an evocative and complicated study, critical of the power relations it analyzes yet tempered productively by the family ties that at moments cut across and between them.”
—Sally Ann Ness, University of California, Riverside


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Dancing Spirit, Love, and War: cover with a dark background showing four golden people dancing with confident stances.

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New in Paperback!
June 2022
256 pp. 6 x 9
24 b/w photos

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Paper $26.95 S
ISBN 9780299322045
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Casebound $42.95 S
ISBN 9780299322007
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