Clare CroftDancers as Diplomats: American Choreography in Cultural Exchange

Oxford University Press, 2015

by Takiyah Amin on October 27, 2015

Clare Croft

View on Amazon

What's missing from our understanding of the role of dancers in the context of American Cultural Diplomacy? Clare Croft's first book, Dancers as Diplomats: American Choreography in Cultural Exchange (Oxford University Press, 2015) provides a range of thoughtful, well-researched responses to this question. By exploring the ways in which dancer's bodies were operationalized and "deployed" on behalf of the US State Department during the Cold War as well as at the dawn of the 21st century, Dancers as Diplomats centers the work of dancers and choreographers as ambassadors, provocateurs and global leaders. Including more than 70 interviews with dancers who traveled on these international tours, the book centers the voices of artists actively engaged in this very particular kind of cultural work.

Clare Croft is a historian, theorist, and dramaturg, working at the intersection of dance studies and performance studies. She specializes in 20th and 21st century American dance, cultural policy, feminist and queer theory, and critical race theory. Professor Croft holds a PhD in theatre history and criticism with an emphasis in Performance as Public Practice from the University of Texas-Austin and an MA in performance studies from New York University. Dr. Croft is Assistant Professor of Dance in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance at the University of Michigan.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Leonard CassutoThe Graduate School Mess: What Caused It and How We Can Fix It

September 22, 2015

The discontented graduate student is something of a cultural fixture in the U.S. Indeed theirs is a sorry lot. They work very hard, earn very little, and have very poor prospects. Nearly all of them want to become professors, but most of them won't. Indeed a disturbingly large minority of them won't even finish their degrees. It's little […]

Read the full article →

Felicia McCarrenFrench Moves: The Cultural Politics of le hip hop

June 10, 2015

Felicia McCarren's latest book, French Moves: The Cultural Politics of le hip hop (Oxford University Press, 2013) explores the fascinating evolution of this urban dance form in the French context. Following the choreography and performances of key figures from the hip hop world in France, McCarren's is a history that pays close attention to dancers and their moves, […]

Read the full article →

Bill T. JonesStory/Time: The Life of An Idea

March 17, 2015

When does a dance become a book? How does choreography lend itself to the page? What discontents exist in theorizing performance that are best explored through the written word? And how does one distill the hours of embodied practice into 100 or so pages of a tightly packaged and beautifully rendered text? It was the […]

Read the full article →

Wendy Oliver and Lindsay Guarino, eds.Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches

March 10, 2015

Contested and complicated histories create the best books. This is true for many volumes and is certainly so for Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches (University Press of Florida, 2014), a recent work edited by Wendy Oliver and Lindsay Guarino. Picking up where Marshall and Jean Stearns left off over two decades […]

Read the full article →

Sherrie TuckerDance Floor Democracy: The Social Geography of Memory at the Hollywood Canteen

January 8, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in Pop Music] Cultural memory of World War II frequently draws on swing music and the USO dance floor as symbols of how the country came together in support of the war effort. Frequently, the term “the Greatest Generation” is used to exemplify patriotism and self-sacrifice. Digging beyond nostalgic remembrances, Sherrie Tucker’s Dance Floor Democracy: The […]

Read the full article →

Rebecca RossenDancing Jewish: Jewish Identity in American Modern and Postmodern Dance

September 13, 2014

How does an author craft a work that speaks across the boundaries of dance studies, Jewish studies and gender studies? What does it mean for dance to function as a site for probing complex questions of racial, ethnic and cultural identity? How do choreographers respond to the prompt, “make a Jewish dance?” What does all […]

Read the full article →

Caitlin McDonald and Barbara Sellers-Young, eds.Belly Dance Around the World: New Communities, Performance and Identity

March 19, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Anthropology] When you think about research that contributes to understanding others (or maybe even yourself more), dance is not often the first thought that comes to mind. But the collection of essays in Belly Dance Around the World: New Communities, Performance and Identity (McFarland, 2013) bring the expression of self through dance to life. […]

Read the full article →

Joshua LeggIntroduction to Modern Dance Techniques

August 27, 2013

I can still remember being an undergraduate student, going from dance class to dance class and working as hard as I could each day. In the midst of all of that sweat and hard work, I was often curious about the techniques I was required to study. Sure, we had courses in dance history – […]

Read the full article →

Alexis WilsonNot So Black and White

June 3, 2013

When I think of the name “Billy Wilson” certain things come to mind immediately. I think of his sparkling career as director and choreographer of “Bubbling Brown Sugar” on Broadway. I am still stunned by his ability to shift from Broadway and back again so readily into making master works for the concert dance stage […]

Read the full article →