Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: A Social and Popular Dance Reader
This dynamic collection documents the rich and varied history of social dance and the multiple styles it has generated, while drawing on some of the most current forms of critical and theoretical inquiry. The essays cover different historical periods and styles; encompass regional influences from North and South America, Britain, Europe, and Africa; and emphasize a variety of methodological approaches, including ethnography, anthropology, gender studies, and critical race theory. While social dance is defined primarily as dance performed by the public in ballrooms, clubs, dance halls, and other meeting spots, contributors also examine social dance’s symbiotic relationship with popular, theatrical stage dance forms.
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With too few works on social and popular dances, this collection demonstrates the potential for this area of study to grow. Moreover, the range of works in this collection is a wonderful first step. While US-centric, it lays the groundwork for a stronger understanding of what social and popular dances are doing and how that impacts how we understand other types of dance. This is a regularly referenced text in my library.