Dance of the Sleepwalkers: The Dance Marathon Fad

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Popular Press, 1993 - Performing Arts - 215 pages
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The colorful, if bizarre, story of this unusual form of amusement is told here for the first time. Despite the condemnation of vocal critics who regarded this entertainment as unsavory, if not immoral, dance marathons held a peculiar fascination for Americans since they projected traits and values pervasive in America then and now. Dance marathons mirrored the sham side of American culture, its commercialism and opportunism. Operated by paternalistic, often authoritarian, show promoters, dance marathons became for professional and amateur contestants "An Innocent Jail." Two person teams - a female and male - were virtually incarcerated for weeks or months at a time; they were segregated in living quarters, deprived of normal sleep, and required to compete daily in arduous walking and running contests. Spontaneity and freedom were sacrificed for routine and regulation.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Chapter Three The Walkathons
17
How Long Can They Last?
53
Chapter Six Natural Heat Working Heat
76
The Palace of Wasted Footsteps
121
Chapter Nine Danse Macabre
139
Chapter Eleven Dance of Death
153
Chapter Thirteen The Depressive Thirties
173
The Dance Marathon Craze
189
Notes
203
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