I See America Dancing

I See America Dancing : Selected Readings, 1685-2000

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Representing dancers, scholars, admirers, and critics, "I See America Dancing" is a diverse collection of primary documents and articles about the place and shape of dance in the United States from colonial times to the present. This volume offers a lively counterpoint between observers of the dance and dancers' views of what they do when they dance. Dance traditions represented include the Native American pow-wow; tribal music and dance activities on Sunday afternoons in New Orlean's Congo Square; the colonial Playford Balls and their modern offspring, country line dancing; and the Buddhist-inspired Japanese Bon dances in Hawaii. Anti-dance perspectives include government injunctions against Native American dancing and essays from a range of speakers who have declared the waltz, the twist, or the senior prom to be a careless quick-step away from hell or the brothel. "I See America Dancing" examines the styles that have marked theatrical dance in America, from French ballet to minstrel shows, and presents the views of influential dancers, choreographers, and the pioneers of early modern dance in America. Specific pieces examined include George Ballanchine's ballet Stars and Stripes, Yvonne Rainer's protest piece "Flag Dance, 1970," and Sonj Mayo's "Naked in America." Covering historical social attitudes toward the dance as well as the performers and their works, "I See America Dancing" is a comprehensive, scholarly sourcebook that captures the energy and passion of this vital artform.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 264 pages
  • 152.4 x 223.52 x 20.32mm | 340.19g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0252069994
  • 9780252069994

Review quote

"Needham has assembled an array of essays and librettos as colorful and diverse as the history of dance in America. Dance as religious ritual, theatrical presentation, and social function are among the topics addressed in this rich sourcebook for dance and social historians... Extensive notes and a wealth of appended material round out the work. Dance scholars will revel in these primary sources." -- Library Journal "Needham provides the community of serious dance scholars with a marvelously diverse view of dance. The readings range from Increase Mather's 'An Arrow against Profane and Promiscuous Dancing Drawn Out of the Quiver of the Scriptures' (1685) to Bill Jones's 'Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land' (1990)... Fascinating both for the inherent interest of each of the selections and for the succinct, thorough, thoughtful introduction Needham has provided for each of the five parts... This gem of a book should be in all performing arts collections." -- Choice "Backed up by listings of suggested books and films, this is a lively and enlightening American dance history primer... The indelible section on Native American dance includes an 1890 account of the Ghost Dance... Elsewhere Needham and her expert contributors discuss country dancing, ballet, 'anti-dance moralists,' theatrical dance, swing, high school dances, and even the twist." -- Booklist "Qualifies as both a comprehensive, analytical treatment and an exuberant fan's labor of love... Readers needn't be either great dancers or ardent fans to appreciate the quality and scope of I See America Dancing. It is an important addition to the ranks of both cultural history and arts appreciation/assessment works, and should be closely ready by everyone who cares about music, dance and their importance on the American landscape." -- Nashville City Paper ADVANCE COMMENTS "Maureen Needham has judiciously selected a collection of original writings that testify to the richness, breadth, and scope of U.S. dance heritage. This book is a must for understanding the artistic and cultural ebbs and flows of U.S. dance history." -- Emma Lewis Thomas, professor emerita of dance history and former associate dean of the School of the Arts and Architecture, University of California, Los Angeles "This is a valuable collection of writings, some of which the young dance historian might not think to consult." -- Selma Jeanne Cohen, founding editor of the International Encyclopedia of Danceshow more