Broadway The American Musical:

Instructions: With a minimum of 900 words, write an essay that answers the prompt in depth and in detail. Consider all three Lessons 1, 2, and 3 as you address each part of the question. Make connections between your thesis statement and each paragraph, providing examples from the resources to illustrate your argument.
Please write your name at the top of your essay.
Your essay will be graded on your ability to demonstrate understanding of the course materials through fully developed, concisely-expressed ideas.
There is no text box.  You will need to upload a document to this page.
NOTE: You will be asked to watch the video of Stormy Weather.  This video is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Your essay must describe dances, people, themes and concepts from the course. These must be selected from the Lesson resources. No outside research or quotes are needed and should not be used.
Select two examples from different Lessons. Examples b. and c. (see instructions below) may be switched if your c. example is shown first in the movie followed by your b. example.
Video is accessible below the prompt.
Question (30 points):
This assignment is a cold reading of a dance.  When you see this piece, you should see it with your own eyes and through the lens of your own experience.  Although it may be tempting, do not research this piece outside of course material. With a minimum 900 word essay, please:
a) [5 points] Write an introduction that explains your own personal experience of watching Stormy Weather, describing your expectations before watching the film, your thoughts as you watch it, and providing a thesis about this film.  If you need help with a thesis then you could explain, from your perspective:
how the dances illustrates the American experience and in what ways;
how the movie illustrates the history of American dance.
b)  [10 points] Themes example: Choose a dance scene from Stormy Weather and describe it.  What makes this scene significant for you?  How does it develop your thesis?  As you describe this scene, compare it to themes, concepts, people, and dances from/including:
Broadway themes or Modernist/Puritan themes.  How are these themes represented in the film and/or in the dance scene? Which one(s) is represented and how?
Form, technique and structure involved in this one scene. (consider technique as performing a cultural tradition, not about who taught it.)  What movements and gestures are part of this dance? What technique(s) seem to be present? Who is represented?
How the dance illustrates or contradicts your thoughts on the American identity and how it compares or contrasts to dances from Lessons 1, 2, or 3;
c) [10 points] History of dance example: Choose a second dance scene from Stormy Weather and describe it.  What makes this scene significant for you and your discussion?  How does it further develop your thesis?  As you describe this scene, compare it to themes, concepts, people, and dances from other Lessons including:
Form, technique and structure involved in this one scene.  (consider technique as performing a cultural tradition, not about who taught it.)  What movements and gestures are part of this dance? What technique(s) seem to be present? Who is represented?
Compare it to themes, concepts, people, and dances from Lessons 1, 2, or 3.  For instance, how does this dance mark a certain period of time and portray the culture that surrounds it? How does this dance illustrate cultural fusion or conservation of traditional dances or cultures? How does this dance compare to social dance or performance dance from the lessons?
How the dance illustrates or contradicts your thoughts on the American identity and how it compares or contrasts to dances from Lessons 1, 2, or 3;
d) [5 points] Develop a conclusion that summarizes your thoughts on the film. Develop your thesis further by comparing both of the dance examples (b and c). What does the dance or film illustrate about society for its historical era. Examine these two examples and any other scenes or dance sections from Stormy Weather that stood out to you. Examine the differences between America in the era of the film and the present and what that says about dance and American values.
Grading for Final Essay is based on:
Analysis of the dances.
Development of your thesis within each paragraph (or make a thesis that supports your analysis).
Synthesis of course materials into your explanations.
Use of form, technique, and structure.
Inclusion of themes and concepts found in the Lessons.
How you address the prompt, using only course material to support your interpretation of the dances.
Refer back to the resources a minimum of 3 times for each section B and C (meaning a minimum of 6 times total).
Lesson 2 Study Guide
Broadway The American Musical:
At the start of the 20th century, the popular vaudeville shows that crossed the nation became the training ground and inspiration for the birth of the American musical. As the primary location for the professionalization of American performance art, understanding the complicated negotiation of gendered and racial identities on the Broadway stage provides important background to the development of an American identity in concert dance through the rest of the century. As you watch these videos notice how musicals come to represent American ideals such as abundance, opportunity, pluralism, optimism.
2.1 Give My Regards to Broadway:
2.1.1 Some of the images from the Follies look like the creation of a new Eden. It was said that in America the streets were paved with gold. Describe the ‘abundance’ found in Ziegfeld Follies and how this relates to an image of America.
The wealth found withing the Habits alluded to the way Ziegfeld made everthing in his appears appear over-the-top. This was a common view of American showbusiness at this point in time, everything appeared to be more excessive than the next.
2.1.2 What were the Follies and how did they include the different ethnic minorities present in America.
The incorprate other societies within the appear by performing comedy in connection to ethnic generalizations to the group of onlookers. There was several culture specified within the jokes, such as Irish jokes, Italian jokes, and Jewish jokes. They were included by being made fun of.
2.1.3 A Follies ‘girl’ had to have a ‘regular profile’, and most were six feet tall. If a Follies girl is the ideal American girl, who is excluded from the image of ideal America?
For the most part other races that weren’t white were prohibited from the perfect picture.
2.1.4 Many immigrants left the Old World because the social structures of the time kept them locked in a certain economic class. America held the promise of changing one’s station in life. It was the land of opportunity. How was the opportunity and variety found in Vaudeville representative of this idea of America?
Amid the Vaudeville period, individuals performed anything that included singing, moving or comedy that centered on an person nearness. This was seen as a gurantee of opportunity since it was open to a blend of societies.
2.1.5 Describe the clip from Yankee Doodle Dandy. How is Cagney, playing Cohan, the ideal American? Look at who else is on stage, who is or is not allowed to be in this image of America?
Within the clip from Yankee Doodle Dandy, Cagney is singing in front of a swarm of ladies all dressed exceptionally appropriate with mammoth caps. The storyteller depicts Cohan’s execution as “BRASH AND PUSHY AND AMUSING”. It represents the perfect American by the way he acted, dressed, and looked. The organised thing is set with white people as it were, driving me to accept that any other race did not fit the perfect American generalization.
2.1.6 How does the musical ‘Mythologize’ America?
It mythologizes america through Unused York and its Broadway scene. It makes Broadway appear enthusiastic works as an American generalization.
2.1.7 How did Burt Williams both perpetuate and challenge stereotypes of black Americans? What does it mean for a black man to perform in black face?
Burt Williams performed in dark comfront which suggests he performed with dark paint on his confront and it propagated the generalization of dark Americans since he did the same thing White’s did. He chanlleged the generalizations by talking with legitimate discourse.
2.1.8 Burt Williams claims that he would like to do both the ‘pathos’ (drama) and the fun, but he is known for comedy and if he did the pathos, he would no longer be Burt Williams. Is Burt Williams, then, an actual man, or just a character?
When he alludes to doing both the poignancy and the fun, he implies he would or maybe be emotional as well. In this sense, he is alluding to Burt Williams the character.
2.1.9 Form/technique: Describe blackface performance through its origins, its popularity and performances by Burt Williams and Al Jolson.
The blackface execution was speedy and unsteady and included a parcel of organize development. Much of it had comedian subjects. It took the distinction and extemporization topic from its root and made it into a broadway topic.
2.1.10 How did Fanny Brice break the expected image of the Ziegfeld girl?
Fanny Brice was not the anticipated picture since she didn’t meet the physical qualities. She was a Jewish comedian and was exceptionally effective at what she did, but did not fit the generalization.
2.1.11 How did World War I change Broadway?
Broadway got to be all almost American propoganda and patriotism.
2.1.12 Show Boat was a marriage of what two traditions?
Appear Vessel was a combination of acting and singing to make a melodic.
2.1.13 Why was Show Boat so influential? In terms of subject matter? In terms of who was included on stage?
Appear Vessel was compelling since of its combination of music with the appear. Individuals of all sorts were included and this changed much of the broadway scene, Appear Vessel was a story which revolutionized how broadway was done.
2.1.14 Based on what you have seen, how was Broadway ‘uniquely American’?
Broadway empowered the appear and execution portion of America to be within the highlight. It got to be the generalization and due to its ubiquity, it was unique to America.
2.2 Syncopated City
“In the ‘20s everyone had permission to visit each other’s land and see what they were doing.”
2.2.1 Alcohol was outlawed during Prohibition, but was not strictly enforced in NY. This meant that people of all social classes were breaking the law and thus normal rules about crossing the lines of gender, class, and ethnicity were blurred. What affect did this have on music, theater and dance?
Since Modern York had the slightest strict liquor laws, individuals were drawn there. Ladies were changing quick, and broadway got to be much more well known since of the underground party scene in these “speakeasy” bars.
2.2.2 What musical style epitomizes this mingling of cultures?
Jazz music epitomized the mingling of the cultures during the 1920s. Broadway and musical theater allowed for an avenue for cultures to mix. Classes began to mingle because everyone was breaking the law in order to attend Speakeasys when alcohol was outlawed.
2.2.3 How does the image of the American woman change in the 1920s?
They became more wild, and partied more. Shorter skirts, more skin, and started smoking.
2.2.4 How does Broadway reflect the American culture of optimism?
Broadway had permitted American culture to be apparently stereotyped as a really glitzy side of america, permitting people to think that life may well be that way for everybody.
2.2.5 How was the musical ‘Review’ a reflection of the pluralism of American life?
The ‘review’ captured a small bit of everthing. Subsequently permitting pluarlism to be enormous portion of it.
2.2.6 It is claimed that when Jolson performed in black face it was not demeaning to black people. Do you agree?
I accept that back at that point he did not accept it was hostile, and it was’t taken as a belittling way at that point, he was said to be able to encounter a sense of ‘defenselessness”. These days, be that as it may, I’m beypnd any doubt things would be diverse.
2.2.7 Why was Shuffle Along an important show? How did it change perceptions of black identity? Consider the writers, performers and audience.
It highlighted a really wealthy score, highlighting the music. The scholars and entertainers were both dark and the gathering of people was blended. This was vital for the discernment of dark character since it appeared society that blacks may ended up fruitful in broadway as well.
2.2.8 George White claims to have invented dances such as the Charleston and the Black Bottom? Is this true? What are the implications on race and power in his claim, consider the idea of confiscation?
It is unlikely that George White invented the Charleston and the Black Bottom. Both of these dances were very popular and spread quickly. It is more likely that he made them popular for the main stream media. This was also unlikely because both have very strong African American ties. Considering George White was white, he likely confiscated much of the dance moves for his own. It became popular to the mainstream because White was in fact white.
2.2.9 How does the rhythm of Syncopated City capture the essence of New York?
It was considered a fascinating rhythm. This captured the energy of the Jazz age, and the feel of New York.
2.2.10 There is a long clip from “The Varsity Drag,” the dancing looks a lot like Lindy Hop, which we learned grew about of the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. Does this show represent that heritage, it draws from black culture but what “American” activities does it glorify?
The Varsity Drag dancing definited draws from black culture in its similarities to Lindy Hop, but it glorifies American activities such as high school dances and sports.
2.2.11 What two events brought an end to the Broadway fever of the 1920’s?
Rioting and a giant drop in the stock market.
2.2.12 Why does NYC and Broadway remain the subject matter of many Hollywood films? How does Broadway continue to be a myth maker for a America?
In Broadway it was believed that anything can happen, which was considered the broadway myth. It promised “creative freedom” and brought writers to New York.
2.2.13 Briefly explain how each theme below is an American theme and offer an example of each from the documentaries you have just watched:
Abundance: Abundance describes the way American showbusiness was seen to those from the outside looking in. In Ziegfeld’s Follies, it appeared to have an abundance of every aspect of the show, in order to dazzle the audience.
Opportunity: Opportunity was also an important American ideal that was displayed through the dance culture. This was especially present during the beginning of the Vaudeville era and stayed prevelant long after that. Showbusiness became a route for a mixture of cultures to become involved, giving most anyone an opportunity.
Pluralism: Pluralism was shown through dance as a way for two or more different types of people to coexist on stage. This was made popular additionally during the beginning of the era of the Snycopated city. As Alochol was outlawed, people were doing whatever they could to gain entrance into speakeasys and this brought a mixture of all cultures to the jazz scene that evolved into broadway.
Optimist: Broadway itself became a symbol of optimism. Many musicals envoked a cinderella theme in the show, allowing the audience to feel optimistic that they could have a similar life. This was a huge aspect of American culture during the 1920s and epitomized the American dream.
American Modern Dance: Tradition and Technique
Lesson 1 dealt with social and communal dance forms and Resource 2.1 and 2.2 discussed the early history of Broadway and American musical theater. Both forms are often typified as ‘vernacular’ dance, considered a “basic style”, informal, casual, or highly commercial. Modern Dance, also referred to as theatrical concert dance, is a more formal and self-conscious art form. The rest of Lesson 2 will discuss the establishment of Modern Dance in America.
2.3.00 This list identifies key concepts that will reoccur throughout the Lesson resources. You can use this section to define these concepts from other sources (dictionary, etc.) or use it to summarize these concepts after reading/viewing resources.
Vernacular culture: “Is the cultural forms made and organised by ordinary, often indigenous people, as distinct from the high culture of an elite.” It is very informal. Exoticism: “Is a trend in European art and design, influenced by some ethnic groups or civilizations from the late 19th-century”
Modernism/Modernist aesthetics: A term to describe modern art, in this sense, as dance. Modern dance: An expressive style of dancing that started in the early 20th century as a reaction to classical ballet. It allowed for more American themes to be expressed.
Functionalism: Refers to how functional dance is in terms of what forces are implemented into the dance. Delsartism: Excessive adherence to prescribed forms.
2.3 The People Have Never Stopped Dancing:
2.3.1 Who was Colonel William Cody and what was the huge appeal of “Wild West” performances?
An enthusiastic proponent of American Expansionism.
2.3.2 List the paradoxes at the core of William Cody’s presentation of “real” Indians and Indian dances and what made the show popular.
Cody Understood theatricality of the Wild West Arena.
It was theatrical, and not a reality.
It was displayed as theatrical, but the performers were real Indian dancers.
2.3.3 Form & Technique: What did Mackaye transform the Wild West show into? How did Mackaye coach the actors?
Mackaye turned the wild west show into a pageant named the “Drama of Civlization. Both the indians and Cowboys had parts in patomime which he coached through.
2.3.4 “It codifies and prescribes a performance of ‘indian’ (which in the Wild West meant Plains Indian, complete with headdress and horses) as a universalized prototypical American Indian, despite native people from the continent. And it plays with the tension between presumtion of the indian real and the theatrical performance of indianness—codified as a choreographed theatrical performance, yet presented and understood as itself real.”
2.3.5 In “The Agency in Acting Indian” section, what ”opportunities” did the Native American performers find in performing in the Wild West show?
The oppurtunity to make the public see their point of view, and make a name for themselves. It destroyed stereotypes.
2.3.6 Did Native peoples participate willingly in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West? Yes
2.3.7 Did Black Elk see himself as a victim in this stage act (Buffalo Bill Wild West Show)? What do Black Elk’s comments regarding his performance for the Queen of England acknowledge?
2.3.8 Form: How does Tara Browner describe the “Omaha” or “War Dance”?
The Omaha move was depicted as what happened some time recently most of the men’s powwow moves.”The characteristic highlights are the concentrated utilize of the head and the shoulders, the complete introduction of the confront an the chest, proposing a sense of self-importance and pride, and small concern with footwork other than keeping time to the music, the complete upper middle moves, the confront is lively with expresson, an express mindfulness of enjoying the move.”
2.3.9 What are a couple of reasons why late 19th century Buffalo Bill show Indian performers wanted to perform?
The Indans wanted to make money, in order to take care of their families. They also wanted to assimilate into the white man’s world.
2.3.10 Who led the opposition to Indian performance in Wild West Shows? Why were they opposed to Wild West shows/acts?
Those who led the oppossition included Christian reformers and American government officials. They believed it was dehumanizing and ruined their cultural heritage.
2.3.11 Government officials saw the life of the theater as threatening to their efforts of assimilation and Christianization, buy why did they see them as less threatening than life off the stage?
Since it was entirely on arrange, and was run by white individuals and seen by the whites, that the discernment of the locals would be seen inaccurately savage.
2.4 Dance, modernity and culture (ch. 3 and ch.5 excerpts)
Dance in America has often been a series of developments in social dances whether in the dance hall or as a ceremonial or folk dance. At the turn of the twentieth century, dance as a performance art was still synonymous with the ‘low art’ of musical comedy or the ‘high art’ of European ballet. Ballet was “utterly foreign” both geographically and philosophically. In this chapter you will read about the dominant trends in American culture that began to define dance and movement for America.
Chapter 3: Transitions
2.4.1 According to John Martin, Puritanism promoted: individualism, democracy, functionalism, anti-authoritarianism (list of four). Based on these four characteristics, briefly explain why Martin believes “ballet could not have captured the imaginations of American people.”
its form and content were antithetical to the American way of life
2.4.2 “To enable dance to become an occupation in which ‘respectable’ American middle-class women could engage, traditional attitudes towards the body – particularly the female body – had to be broken down.” What were traditional attitudes towards the body and female body in mid-1800s? Information can be found here [Health and Medicine in the 19th Century-first paragraph], here [Wikipedia-Cultural taboos surrounding the female body], or here [].
disease was common and hard to treat, The ideal Victorian woman was pure, chaste, refined, and modest, etiquette and manners were important, never acknowledge undergarments (“unmentionables”) to avoid the conversation leading to other details…, women were expected to have sex with only one man (their husband)
2.4.3 Technique: What was Delsartism? How did the middle-class focus on spirituality and health influence the development of dance in America?
Priciples of movement based on relaxation, easy balance, natural flow of breath. It worked its way into american culture through training of actors, middle class (mostly women and protestants) by connecting the christian trinity into his exercises, and developed its high art and spiritual performance.
2.4.4 List four people associated with Delsartism:
Francois Delsart,Ted shawn,Steele Mackaye,Genevieve Stebbins
Chapter 5: Iconoclasts from Denishawn
2.4.5 Although American modern dance was soon defined by the various styles and individual concerns of its leaders, the early modern dancers shared many ideas in common. List the two paramount ideas that early modern dance leaders shared:
dance mirrors its own social environment, it comes out of the life and circumstances of its immediate time and space.
2.4.6 What was the difference between the era in which Ruth St. Denis began her career and the era of Martha Graham?
Ruth St. Denis began in the era of progressivism when almost everything conspired to make anything seem possible. Martha Graham began in the “jazz era” after the first world war, during the Great Depression.
2.4.7 A surge of nationalism around World War I was voiced in terms of fears for national security. What effects did these fears have on American society?
curbing of civil liberties, “hate the enemy” campaign, thousands arrested
2.4.8 “In this era of cultural isolationism and disillusion with Europe, American historians began to look for what was unique about American history and the specifically American… The modern dancers rejected the formalism of ballet and the exoticism of Denishawn as the basis for their American dance because both drew their inspiration from former epochs and foreign places. Instead, they sought to return to basics, to their own bodies, to experiment with movement, and analyze its cause and effect.”
2.4.9 Modernism, as defined by Clement Greenberg, is to uncover the nature of the artistic medium and to work in terms of its specificity. Ruth St. Denis and Isadora Duncan laid a foundation for American dance. But the next generation sought to redefine this. Describe the next generation’s beliefs regarding the relationship of music and movement and how it was different from Isadora Duncan’s and Ruth St. Denis’.
They did not believe that music should serve as the inspiration to release the stuff of dance (unlike Duncan), and they didn’t think that the dance should be a visual representation of the musical structures (unlike St. Denis). They emphasized the primacy of movement over the music and all other aspects of performance.
2.4.10 List the differences between ballet and Martha Graham’s technique and dancers.
Ballet and corps de ballet Graham and the Group
a. dancers built like “sylphs” a. dancers were solidly built
b. emphasized turnout of the legs and thighs b. kept legs in parellel
c. strove to defy gravity c. celebrated gravity, grounded
d. conceals energy d. energetic
e. focus on lines e. focus on the whole body (torso in particular)
2.4.11 Briefly describe the movement principle “contraction and release.” How was female anatomy a central feature of her technique?
Contraction squeezes out breath- starts sharply in pelvis and goes through whole body. Release happens with an intake of breath and starts in spine, returning body to “normal” position. Breathing began in pelvic region (where vagina and womb are located).
2.5 Martha Graham: The Dancer Revealed
This video goes into greater detail about Martha Graham, showing her dances and technique. Use this video excerpt in conjunction with resource 2.4.
2.5.1 What was Graham’s “first lesson in dance”? “Movement never lies. You will always reveal what you feel in your heart through what you do in your movements.”
2.5.2 What was Graham’s relationship to the Greenwich Village Follies? How was she viewed there?
She was very popular, and joined at slightly a late age. She was viewed as a princess.
2.5.3 What was “serious dance” to most Americans in the 1920s? How was Graham’s different? Describe the dance Heretic. Beyond the form and movements, what relationships between dancers onstage (structure) are important to the meaning of this dance?
European Ballet was very serious in American in the 20s. Graham’s was different because Heretic dance was a very outlanding style. Many people liked it, but she also had a lot of criticism for her revolutionairy ways. Most of this dancing was snyched.
2.5.5 Technique: According to Anna Kisselgoff, why is the Graham technique a major contribution to 20th century dance?
She recreated and invented her own movements. It became the only other technique of a major dancing style that related to ballet.
2.5.6 Form: Following Kisselgoff’s statement is a video showing some of Graham’s technique. How is it described by Agnes DeMille? How would you describe it?
It is described as beginning with contraction in the pelvis and strong movements, almost resembling an animal. The movements are unique, and i would say that they appeared to be impulse movements, almost clearly not planned. I would describe it as deep and sudden.
2.5.7 How was Graham part of the performing, theater and movie community?
She was a mentor to many actors and singers.
2.5.8 Form: Describe Lamentation. How does the movement form fit the title?
Lamentation is a word to describe the way a dancer feels grief in his/her performance and how it is shown. It is clear that the movements were very emotional.
2.6 Frontier (1935), choreography Martha Graham
There are many elements to consider when watching any dance piece. Space is an important element of dance. There are different kinds of space including performance space and viewing space (stage and audience), physical space (the stage area or architecture), social space (dancers relationships), and metaphorical space (the stage setting, symbolic space). Frontier was an archival film of a dance on a stage. There was much less camera movement including close-ups. This may have a different impact on your viewing of these pieces.
2.6.1 What stood out for you? Try to describe forms in terms of verbs and actions and structures in term of relationships on stage. If there is only one person, what else is on stage.
What stood out most is the dancing and leaning that she did. It is very unique to this style, how she is using the prop, and reminds me of a ballet bar in a dance studio.
2.6.2 In an interview, Martha Graham described Frontier as “the appetite for space.” How is this conveyed through the movement and setting? How does America have an “appetite for space?”
The space on the stage is more than I’m used to seeing. The fence creates a barrier between the middle and it makes it feel even more open. This is shown in how popular it was for Americans to view it in this way.
2.6.3 Modern dancers were trying to create an American art form by defining what was integral to American people and the American landscape and by rejecting European conventions of dance, namely ballet. Do you think Frontier is uniquely American or is it similar to European conventions? Explain.
Yes. The drums appear to show classic colonial american ideals. Her clothing appears very colonial as well, and her dancing is very soft and not wild.
Lesson 2.2 Study Guide
2.7 Free to Dance: What Do You Dance
This video examines how African-Americans influenced the development of American Modern Dance.
2.7.1 What is meant by “What Do You Dance?”
This phrase expresses the meaning of individualism as it encourages self-taught movements and form.
2.7.2 Form: What does it mean to “Keep the knee bone bent?” What three bodily shapes are named as new for white Americans?
move knees, bend elbow, plant feet flat.
2.7.3 What does vernacular mean?
Dance in its own environment.
2.7.4 Technique: What is the result of black foot-shuffling and Irish jigs? What synthesis is this example representative of?
They result in the combination of different cultures dancing and expressing themselves.
2.7.5 During World War I many African Americans moved to the big cities to take industrial jobs, what did they bring with them? What needed to adapt in the movement to become relevant to the new location (moving from the rural South to cities)?
African American who happened to move into big cities brought their dance movements and cultural influences in the form of tradition.
2.7.6 How does black dance become a ‘liberating vehicle’ for white culture? Is this a part of the concert stage? Explain.
Black dance has become a liberating vehicle for white culture because elements of European dancing were removed by the black dance from America.
2.7.7 Technique: What was the new ‘aesthetic’ dance and how did it attempt to distinguish itself from Ballet? How did it also try to distinguish itself from social dance?
This new aesthetic dance attempt was distinguishe from ballet by it’s use of the human body and movements involved in it. This form of dancing mainly was directed at middle-class woman.
2.7.8 Who was Ruth St. Denis and what was Denishawn?
She was an Amercian modern dance pioneer who founded the Denishawn school. Denishawn was the first dance academy in the US to produce a professional dance company.
2.7.9 What is the Negro or Harlem Renaissance?
The Harlem Renaissance is the time period when black culture identity grew incredibly.
2.7.10 Focusing on African movement, Asadata Dafora created a synthesis of what two elements that had not been combined before?
Asadata Dafora synthesizes African dance with Western staging.
2.7.11 Form: What three movement forms come out of the African tradition in dance
a. articulation of the pelvis
b. moving body parts seperately
c. articulation of the shoulders
2.7.12 Who is Katherine Dunham? How did anthropology impact her dance?
Catherine Dunham blened these two interests by using her knowledge gained through anthropological connections in her company.
2.7.13 Technique: Why were Jamaica and Haiti important countries to study the roots of African culture in the new world? Why was this different than studying African roots in the United States?
Haiti is an important country to study the roots of African culture because you were able to consistantly see the African American culture. Rather than read about it, you are able to see it first hand.
2.7.14 Synthesis: One of the interviewees claims that American dance would not be what it is today if not for the influence of African dance and culture. Is this true? Explain why.
Yes, American dance would not be what it is today without influene of African dance and culture because it has influenced American dance in regads to body movement, musical style and the relation between the dancers on the stage.
2.8 Free to Dance: Steps of the Gods
2.8.1 Technique: What principle is the Dunham technique based on? Describe it.
The Dunham technique is based on the principle of isolation. This principle focus on each dancer expressing themselves individually and at their own time.
2.8.2 Dunham uses dance as a means to express the history, beauty and complexity of African descended peoples. She does this so audiences can better understand the rich cultural heritage of African Americans. Provide a brief description of each Dunham dance and explain how each dance presented African or African-American culture in a way different than what was described as “Negro Dance.”
L’Ag’Ya Ag’Ya is the fighting dance. This dance develops in Martinique because it fused the African and European dance movements and structure.
Barrelhouse Blues Dunham had a goal to develop respect for African American culture performance on stage. She did this by combining authenticity with art. She also highlighted the spiritual ideal and jazz ideal through her idea of expression.
Stormy Weather Slow-paced, sexual, graceful, interactive, and energetic would be the 5 adjectives I would choose to describe the short clip of the dance. Dunham is saying that the African experience has been very consensual and experiential.
2.8.3 Primus uses dance as a more direct challenge to the racism of the first half of the 20th century. What is Strange Fruit about? Describe how this work is different from that of Dunham’s.
Strange Fruit is about hate, sadness and murder. In contrast, Dunhams work is much more light and care-free.
2.8.4 What was the mission of the New Dance Group? What was unique about it?
The mission of the New Dance Group was to incorporate all dances for all types of people. “Dance is a weapon for social justice”.
2.8.5 Within a year of Primus debut, she stops performing. Why? Briefly explain what she does, where she goes and what dance is created.
Anthropology was created
2.8.6 Why is Primus called before the House Un-American Activity Committee (HUAC)?
her dance was a fight against racism, celebrated african culture.
2.8.7 What is the “African cultural continuum?” How is dance representative of the African American philosophy of honoring and respecting a ‘lived tradition”?
Dance is a representative of this because it is the center of keeping traditions and culture.
2.9 African-American Concert Dance: Pearl Primus
We will be watching three short solo dances choreographed by Pearl Primus. In order to better understand the elements of those dances and how they relate to Primus’ identity as an American, this chapter provides a brief history of her creative and academic work.
2.9.1 How was Primus unique among her contemporary black concert artists?
Primus was unique because she was a solo performist.
2.9.2 How was Primus’ work similar to and different from Dunham’s?
Primus’ work was similar because they both used European and African dance. The difference was in the visuals and connections of the dance.
2.9.3 For Strange Fruit and Hard Time Blues, what year did they premiere and what was the inspiration for each piece?
Strange Fruit and Hard Time Blues both premiered in February 1943. The inspiration of Strange Fruit was the lyniching that occurred during that time. The inspirtation of Hard Time Blues was the Southern sharecroppers and how this hurt black Southerners.
2.9.4 How are these inspirations representative of the African-American experience?
These inspirations are representative because they are influenced by the predicament of African Americans in the 20th century America. These dances highlight the struggles that the African Americans endured.
2.9.5. In the description of the dance The Negro Speaks of River three references are made to the color of Primus’ skin. What are they?
a. dark fingers
b. pale sole
c. brown toes
2.9.6 When white writers describe white dancers, the color of the skin is often unimportant. When white writers describe black dancers, as is the case above, the color of the skin takes on greater significance. Taken further, it is often assumed that white dancers create dances about the human experience, or the American experience, whereas black dancers create dances about black experience, or the African American experience. Martha Graham danced the human dance, Primus danced the black dance. Why can’t Primus’ dance be the human dance? How is this related to Burt Williams and his reticence to perform pathos?
Primus’ dance cannot be a the human dance because since he is black, it is not seen as universal. Her persona of the problems that African Americans face is portrayed throughout her dance. Burt Williams can’t change his on stage persona to pathos because his audience relates to his humor and identifies with it.
2.9.7 What experience “added new dimensions to works like Strange Fruit and Hard Time Blues?”
Pearl Primus’ experience of visiting churches in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina affected her work due to the religious aspects of it.
2.9.8 What three dance influences were dismissed by Balcom and why?
a. jazz influenced dances
b. black protest dances
c. african dances
2.9.9 What is the difference between Negro dancing and Modern dancing?
Negro dancing is contrasting to modern dance because of it undisciplined structure. It does not express the emotional elements of the culture.
2.9.10 Critics often complained that her African inspired dances were inauthentic; did she find this to be true when she went to Africa? How was she received by different African communities?
She did not find this to be true because the people of Africa were amazed by the similarities in her dancing styles. She was received well by different African communities.
2.9.11 On Pg. 175, Primus explains the role of dance in her life: “My career has been a quest…” In your own words, based on this quote and the chapter in general, describe how dance was a way for her to express her identity.
Dance was a way for Primus to express her identity because she grew and learned a lot from her dancing career. It built on her as an individual. Her views were often challenged by people that criticized her work, but she manged to stay true to herself and her passion while growing.
2.10 Performance Viewing: Pearl Primus’ Strange Fruit
2.10.1 Describe the Form elements of the solo Strange Fruit: colorful costume, big skirt that moves a lot as the dancer moves, no music, dancer moves to the sound of a powerful male narration, you can hear her body make noise against the stage
2.10.2 Technique: Based on the earlier video and article, where did Primus’ technique come from?
has European and African influence
2.10.3 How does the solo reject earlier themes of ‘exoticism’ (compare to Ruth St. Denis work)? How does it compare to Martha Graham’s Frontier? How does it compare to the African dances she and Dunham studied? What other themes do you see present in these solo?
it utilizes the “contraction and release” technique, a lot of grounded movements and floorwork

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