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21M.670 / SP.591J Traditions in American Concert Dance: Gender and Autobiography

21M.670 / SP.591J Traditions in American Concert Dance: Gender and Autobiography

This course explores the forms, contents, and context of world traditions in dance that played a crucial role in shaping American concert dance. For example, we will identify dances from an African American vernacular tradition that were transferred from the social space to the concert stage. We will explore the artistic lives of such American dance artists as Katherine Dunham, Pearl Primus, and Alvin Ailey along with Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, George Balanchine, and Merce Cunningham as American dance innovators. Of particular importance to our investigation will be the construction of gender and autobiography that lie at the heart of concert dance practice, and the ways in which these qualities have been choreographed by American artists.
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