Drawing from interviews with key personnel from two Manila-based performing arts ensembles that regularly tour Western Europe, the USA, and East and Southeast Asia, I show how the mobilities of performing for foreign audiences and peers inevitably activate discourses around the meaning, worth and place of non-Western performers and their works as they represent their national-cultural identities. The groups’ agency in negotiating the narratives of difference and authenticity as ‘Filipino’ loops back from their reception abroad to significantly influence their situation at home, notably through their professional reputations and the broader genre communities of practice to which they belong. I contend that analyzing creativity as enacted and embodied through the mobilities of non-Western artistic performance reveals the contradictory ways in which the entrenched cultural politics of difference configure the labour processes of making and circulating art. Understanding creativity through transnational mobility in this way likewise provides a useful angle from which to critique the implicit ethnocentric biases which undergird the basic assumptions of cultural and creative industries (CCI) research.
- creative work, performance, music, dance, Philippines