“Accessible and well researched, [combines] practical and theoretical perspectives on ways that dance shapes the American experience. . . . Highly recommended.”—Choice “Moves beyond established subject matter in dance scholarship. . . . A satisfying read that inspired deep reflection on what it means for dance makers and observers to produce and study dance and choreography in the new millennium.”—Journal of Dance Education
“Unpredictable. Counterintuitive. Stunningly conceived. So you think you know dance history? These anthologies are full of revelations.”—Mindy Aloff, editor of Leaps in the Dark: Art and the World
“This is a picture of American dance—and a picture of America through dance—as we have not conceived of it before, advancing the bold and capacious idea that movement can illuminate who Americans are and who they want to be. A startlingly original compilation that includes stops in the unlikeliest places, it makes the case that following the moving body into every byway of life reveals an America that has been hiding in plain sight. It will be impossible to think of this subject in the same way again.?”—Suzanne Carbonneau, George Mason University and scholar in residence, Jacob’s Pillow
Dancing embodies cultural history and beliefs, and each dance carries with it features of the place where it originated. Influenced by different social, political, and environmental circumstances, dances change and adapt. American dance evolved in large part through combinations of multiple styles and forms that arrived with each new group of immigrants. Perspectives on American Dance is the first anthology in over twenty-five years to focus exclusively on American dance practices across a wide span of American culture. This volume and its companion show how social experience, courtship, sexualities, and other aspects of life in America are translated through dancing into spatial patterns, gestures, and partner relationships.
This volume of Perspectives on American Dance features essays by a young generation of authors who write with familiarity about their own era, exploring new parameters of identity and evaluating a wide variety of movement practices being performed in spaces beyond traditional proscenium stages. Topics include "dorky dancing" on YouTube; same-sex competitors on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance; racial politics in NFL touchdown dances; the commercialization of flash mobs; the connections between striptease and corporate branding; how 9/11 affected dance; the criminalization of New York City club dancing; and the joyous ironies of hipster dance. This volume emphasizes how dancing is becoming more social and interactive as technology opens up new ways to create and distribute dance.
The accessible essays use a combination of movement analysis, thematic interpretation, and historical context to convey the vitality and variety of American dance. They offer new insights on American dance practices while simultaneously illustrating how dancing functions as an essential template for American culture and identity.
Jennifer Atkins is associate professor of dance at Florida State University. Sally R. Sommer is professor of dance and director of the ARTS in NYC program at Florida State University. Tricia Henry Young is professor emerita of dance history and former director of the American Dance Studies program at Florida State University.
Contributors: Jennifer Atkins | Jessica Berson | J. Ellen Gainor | Patsy Gay | Ansley Jones | Kate Mattingly | Hannah Schwadron | Sally Sommer, Ph.D. | Ina Sotirova | Dawn Springer | Michelle T. Summers | Latika L. Young | Tricia Henry Young