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Dance History Midterm 1

Cartesian Dualism

mind and body distinct and separate from each other


lasting a short time, fleeting, impermanent

5 Africanist aesthetics

1.embracing the conflict
2.polycentrism/ polyrhythm
3.high affect juxtaposition
5.aesthetic of the cool

embracing the conflict

embraces conflict, difference, and the pairing of opposites

polycentrism/ polyrhythm

movement that originates from multiple center, multiple rhythms in the body

high affect juxtaposition

jarring contrasts-like a white suit and black stairs


youth, power, vitality, flexibility, drive and attack

aesthetic of the cool

combination of composure with vitality


the systematic denial of African influences on American culture caused by ongoing racial segregation and discrimination

Earl "Snake Hips" Tucker

danced in Crazy House
danced with a lot of hip motion that looked like a snake

George Balanchine/The Four Temperaments (1946)

●Russian born ballet choreographer
●pioneer of American ballet
●borrowed from African American dances
●bent legged, smooth transitions, use of spine (Africanist)

What are the legacies of Cartesian Dualism?

Dance is negatvely associated w/ non-dominant groups, sexuality, trangression, pleasure, entertainment, past time

What are the different modes of cultural transmission?

Mimicry: cakewalk
Temporary Transgression


Mode of cultrual appropriation. making it more suitable for another social context, shifting values. ex. New Kids on Bloch & hip-hop


Mode of cultural appropriation. Softens image of a hyper sexual dance ex. Bill cosby black doc. making fun of whites


Mode of cultural appropriation. Cakewalk

Temporary transgression

Mode of cultural appropriation. whites attempting hot sexy latin dances


Mode of cultural appropriation. White version of Brazilian Carmen Miranda


Mode of cultural appropriation. Chinese ballet.

What are the five ways of reading dance?

5.modes of representation


5 ways of reading dance. The way dance setts itself apart as a unique event. Ex. announcement, set, lighting, beginning/ending.


5 ways of reading dance. The basic units or moves from which the dance is made. Ex. dance terms: chaine turns, plea, pirouette, twirling


5 ways of reading dance. The way the dance achieves an individual identity in the world and its genre. Ex. use of body parts, dancers orientation, quality of movements


5 ways of reading dance. the rules governing the selection and combination of moves. Ex. repetition, narrative, variation, contrast

What are the differences between European Aesthetics and African Aesthetics?

Euro: vertical alignment of torso. movement emanates from upper torso. symmetrical and curvilinear. smooth transitions. Afri: privleges "get down" stance- flexible, bent legged posture.movement emanates from multiple centers. asymmetrical and angular. sharp contrasts.

European Aestheics

vertical alignment of torso.
movement emanates from upper torso. symmetrical and curvilinear.
smooth transitions.

African Aesthetics

privleges "get down" stance- flexible, bent legged posture.
movement emanates from multiple centers. asymmetrical and angular.
sharp contrasts.

New Woman

Icon of changing gender norms in the early 20th c. through:
-Increased presence in the public arena
-the right to vote
-greater sexual independence
-represented changes in fashion

Pioneering Women Early Modern Dancers. Strategies for resisting objectificaton

-avoid overt sexuality
-take on serious subjects
-appeal to female spectators


●"a political vision of reality whose structure promoted the difference between the familiar (Europe, U.S.) and the strange (Orient, West)" (Said, 1978. pg 43)
●The Oriental is seen as the exotic Other

Choreographic Score

generated instructions or parameters that serve as guidelines for improvised movement and form


Having the characteristics or movements of a woman, unmanly movements; mostly refers to males.
■Gestures that signal Effeminacy
-broken wrist
-fluttering hands
-legs crossed at the knee instead of the ankle
-curled arms instead of straight arms
-fingers outstretched instead of held inward

Modern Dance-history/characteristics

●pioneered by white women in the early 20th century
●rejected ballet
●emphasis on individualism and personal expression through dance
●portrayed dance and women as natural and pure

Post-Modern Dance-history/characteristics

●post WWII
●abstract body
●embraced the everyday and the unpredictable
●challenged traditional gender roles
●method of inquiry through improvisation and citation, deconstruction, and pastiche

Isadora Duncan

●Mother of Modern Dance
●stressed "natural freedom" of the body
●Style- upward movement originating from solar plexus, performed with relaxation and grace
●Vocab- basic human movements (walking, running, skipping, lying down, turning, jumping)

Duncan's Strategies of Legitimation

1. Opposition:defines her dancing against jazz, ballet, and European ballroom dancing
2. Affiliation: aligns herself first with Greek imagery and then with American imagery

Ruth St. Denis/ Radha

●Mother of Modern Dance
●started Denishawn school of dance in 1915 (LA, CA)
●inspired by 'other' dance styles- Native American, Japanese, Egyptian, and Indian
●Style- emotional, spiritual, sensual, exotic, mystical
●Vocab- whirls, spirals, curves, poses
●Radha (1906)
-marked St. Denis' way into the dancing world
-no strong narrative, very decorative, simple choreography

Martha Graham/ Frontier

●explored conflicts of the human psyche
●Style- tense, grounded, angular movement, focus on torso
●Vocab- contraction and release
●borrowed from African culture
●Frontier (1935);
-frame- lots of space, shows prairie
-style- dramatic
-vocab- prancing, arms waving and sweeping, leg kicks
-syntax- repetitive
-modes of rep.- freedom

Frontier (1935)

frame- lots of empty space, shows prairie, fence
style- stiff, dramatic
vocab- prancing, arms waving and sweeping, leg kicks
syntax- repetitive, sweeping to small mvmnts
modes of rep.- costume not sexual, serious emotional, freedom

Judson Dance Theatre (1962-64)

●Greenwich Village, NY
●postmodern dancers
-Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton
●cooperative methods
●rejection of ballet and modern dance

Yvonne Rainer/ Trio A

●studied with Judson Dance Theater
●style- eclectic, surrealistic
●vocab- pedestrian movements
●syntax- alogical, repetitive

Steve Paxton/ contact improvisation

●founder of 'Contact Improvisation' (early 1966)
●vocab- everyday movements, gymnastics, aikido, capoeira, touch, balance
●style- physical, athletic, fluid, playful
●challenged the definition of what is dance

Joe Goode/ 29 Effeminate Gestures (1987)

●Effeminate: democracy term to describe men who are "not-male"
Does not refer to women, but use to label men .
Gender is a performance
Effeminacy/Camp as a political strategy

What were the strategies modern dancers used for resisting objectification?

●Avoid overt sexuality: sexual references, sexual mov. represent lower sexuality masculinity
●Take on serious subjects: made dances to address conflict, humanity
-women were the protagonists
●Appeal to female spectators: dancing for small private showings to wealthy and acculturated by having private dances
-women began taking movement classes
-Really modern dances transformed the meaning of Martha Graham (she didn't want to entertain)

Modern dancers both complicated and reinforced ideas about women and bodies. Discuss and give examples.

●dance was a natural artistic realm for women to be part of
-female modern dancers: accepted as a serious art form
-body: dance was above other genres
-pure natural and thoughtful

Modern dancers both rejected and appropriated the dance styles of racial others. Discuss and give examples


What are some of the critiques of post modern dance?

-Who get to perform and who doesn't
-Who gets the credit and who doesn't
●Erase History of appropriation
-Erase the natural way of dancing
-dance movement is read by sexual gender and race
Ex. being gay or straight; ethnic background


Mixture of indigenous, African and European people/practices in the Caribbean

Blackface Minstrelsy history/characteristics

●a defensive stage practice in which white male entertainers darkened their face and performed impressions of black music and dance
●most popular entertainment in the 19th Century
-performed mainly by Irish Immigrant
-was not considered white until the 1900s
-lasted from 1830s to 1930s
-Mockery of African American gave Irish their identity
●African American Performers barred until 1860s
-was forced to imitate white's identity of how blacks are view being performed by African American
●Raised complex questions of authenticity


Emerged from Minstrelsy.
Promenade coupled done involving high stepping and kicking in mockery of white high society
-a mockery that was created by black slaves of white's ballroom dancing

Buck and wing

Emerged from Minstrelsy.
Combination of shuffles and jigs


Emerged from Minstrelsy.
Hybrid dance from African and Irish Culture; rhythmic footwork

Jazz dance

Emerged from Minstrelsy.
Fusion of European and African movement traditions performed to rhythms of jazz music
-attract mixed audience, for it shows genuine African dance

Thomas "Daddy" Rice-Jump Jim Crow

●first to create black face minstrelsy
-Not African, but white
●white version of the black, later known as segregation
●created shuffle

William Henry Lane (Master Juba)-tapdance

●Tap Dance
-a free black slave
-Juba - an actually African dance that involved hand clapping and feet stomping

Bert Williams-Cakewalk

●In Dahomey (1903): the first all black musical on Broadway
●a black-Indian
●darken his dark skin, so that he was allowed to go on stage and do whatever he wants
●a wise man, but acts like a fool

Darktown Follies (1913)

●begin trend of white producers going to Harlem to borrow black jazz dance
-makes the music unique with black jazz and dance

Shuffle Along (1921)

●features chorus girls performing fast, rhythmic dancing; cracked open Broadway's door to black talent
-First musical that allow love story between blacks
■African love was seen as a taboo on stage
-was given permission to borrow from other culture

Josephine Baker/ Danse Sauvage-history/characteristics:

-Independent, feminine, masculine, and challenged race and gender
-Jazz age 1920's: Broadway Jazz Dancer
-Made her career in France
-Played up "primitivism" and black female sexuality
-Defied categorization, "Dance Savage"

Katherine Dunham/ L'Ag'Ya-history/characteristics

●Pioneer of Black concert dance
●Studied ballet, modern dance, and African and Caribbean dances
●Founded first all-black dance contemporary in the U.S.
●L'Ag'Ya (1943-1944) in the U.S...
-martinic fighting dance and ballet
-elaborate head dress

Alvin Ailey/ Revelations-history/characteristics

●Founded Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958
Drew on African American history/experiences
●vocab: Jazz dance, ballet, modern dance, Brazilian ,West African dance, Duhham technique
●Choreography: encoded aspects of African american, black masculinity
●Long unbroken neckline
-Ballet bottom
-Modern upper torso—"Chinese political stance"
●Avoided any reference to homosexuality in his choreography
-He avoided any contact between men in his dances
●Was critiqued for not challenging norms of gender roles

Alvin Ailey Revelations

-Ailey most popular work
-combined African American social dances, spirituals ballet and modern dance
-depicted slavery to freedom
-Africanist and Europeanist aesthetics(ballet and spirituals)

What are the lasting effects of blackface minstrelsy?

●Authenticity issue
●White borrowing of black culture
●Limits Placed on black dance
-Sex, but vest issue of what is black culture
-Love and theft of black culture by whites
-provide black to the entertainment, but only with minstrelsy
■genuine African culture instead of mockery

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