Dance in US Popular Culture  book cover
1st Edition

Dance in US Popular Culture

Edited By

Jennifer Atkins

  • Available for pre-order on June 9, 2023. Item will ship after June 30, 2023
ISBN 9780367819842
June 30, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
352 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations

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USD $46.95

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Book Description

This innovative textbook applies basic dance history and theory to contemporary popular culture examples in order to examine our own ways of moving in - and through - culture.

By drawing on material relevant to students, Dance in US Popular Culture successfully introduces students to critical thinking around the most personal of terrain: our bodies and our identities. The book asks readers to think about:

  • what embodied knowledge we carry with us and how can we understand history and society through that lens
  • what gender and racialized stereotypes are embedded in performance and what expectations accompany them
  • how are such expectations reinforced, negotiated, challenged, embraced, or rescripted altogether?
  • how readers articulate their own sense of complex identity within the constantly shifting landscape of popular culture, how this shapes an active sense of their everyday lives, and how can this act as a springboard towards dismantling systems of oppression

Through readings, questions, movement analyses, and assignment prompts that take students from computer to nightclub, Dance in US Popular Culture readers develop their own sense of dance and the moving body’s sociopolitical and cultural importance while also determining how dance might be fundamentally applicable to their own sense of identity.

This is the ideal textbook for high school and undergraduate students of dance and dance studies in BA and BfA courses, as well as those studying popular culture from interdisciplinary perspectives including cultural studies, media studies, communication studies, theatre and performance studies.

Table of Contents

PART 1: Popular Dance as Primary Source

1. Locating Popular Dance and Dance in Popular Culture

Jessica Ray Herzogenrath and Bhumi B. Patel

Chapter 1 Case Studies:

The Invented Choreographies of the Tomahawk Chop

Kellen Hoxworth

Popular Dance Cultural Masters

Ariyan Johnson

Do the Hustle: A Saturday Night Reclamation

Abdiel Jacobsen

Bestowing Blessings and Cultivating Community: Lion Dancing in Boston’s Chinatown

Casey Avaunt

"Watching from Another Place": Dara Milovanović and Elena Benthaus Converse about Outside Perceptions of American Pop Culture

2. Describing Dance, Writing Moving Worlds

Dahlia Li

Chapter 2 Case Studies:

In the Interest of Health and Cooperation: Women Dancing "The Most Important College Interests"

Jessica Ray Herzogenrath

Dammn Baby! Janet Jackson Dances Pop Feminism

Elizabeth Bergman

Resistance in Rhythm: The Shim Sham Shimmy

Kat Echevarría Richter

Queerness, Closure, and the Finale Dance in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Miya Shaffer

Part 2: Stereotypes & Spectatorship

3. Interpreting (Multi)racial Movements in Popular Dance

Miya Shaffer

Chapter 3 Case Studies:

From a Black Cinderella and Filipino Prince to a Career in Commercial Dance

Beverly Bautista

Plasticity in Lexus’s Black Panther Commercial: Choreographing Blackness as Other through Visual Echoing

Kelly Bowker

Riverdance: Remaking Race 

Natasha Casey

The Law of the Jungle: A Conversation with Philip Ancheta about Performing for Walt Disney World

4. Male Bodies and Masculinity in Popular Dance

Brandon Calleja Shaw

Chapter 4 Case Studies:

Macho Sensibilities: A Dancer’s Autoethnographic Journey

Yebel Gallegos

The Nicholas Brothers: Dancing Masculinity in Down Argentine Way (1940)

Pamela Krayenbuhl

Manning the Pit: Techniques of White Masculinity in Hardcore Punk Moshing

Emily Kaniuka

Bey-Boy: Channing Tatum, Mimesis, and a Test of Masculinity

Nicholas Richardson

5. Femininity and Female Empowerment in Commercial Dance: Shakira and J. Lo at Super Bowl LIV

Juliet McMains

Chapter 5 Case Studies:

Subverting Body Ideals: Abject, Tactile Film Style in John Waters’s Hairspray

Roxanne Hearn

Dancing Girls and Dance Moms: Performing Femininity on the Dance Competition Stage

Karen Schupp

#Burberry and the Utility of Black Femininity

Ronya-Lee Anderson

Toying with Chauvinism: Parody in Anna Nikki’s Pole Classique Routine  

Carlee Sachs-Krook

6. Spectacle, the Gaze, and Agency in Popular Dance

Colleen T. Dunagan

Chapter 6 Case Studies:

"Fosse Meets Fetish:" When Fosse Goes (Really) Kinky

Dara Milovanović

Spectacular Choreographies of Epic Proportions: Ricki Starr the Ballet-Dancing Wrestler

Laura Katz Rizzo

Sparkling Subversion

Catherine Cabeen

Belly Dance as Restaurant Entertainment

Somya Jatwani

"Far Across the Distance": A Competition Judge’s Perspective from behind the Table

Madeline Kurtz

Part 3: Recognitions & Revisions

7. Popular Dance and Intersectionality

Jeremy Guyton and Celeste Landeros

Chapter 7 Case Studies:

Naomi Osaka’s Hafuness and Polycultural Dance Moves

Maïko Le Lay

"Como La Flor": Selena’s Animation of Intersectional Identity

Anabel Bordelon

Gender is a Drag: Performing Hybridity on RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Maxi Challenge "Prancing with the Stars"

Bhumi B. Patel

Perseverance, Resistance, Persistence…and a Lot of Shaking: A Conversation with NaTonia Monét about Performing in the Broadway Musical Tina

8. Mass Media and Social Circulations of Popular Dance

Laura H. C. Robinson

Chapter 8 Case Studies:

"They’re the Same Picture": Repetition as Political Critique in Instagram Dance Memes

Miya Shaffer

Legitimization and Circulation of Hip-Hop Dance in "Real Talk: Hip-Hop Education for Social Justice"

Maïko Le Lay

"Just Stick to the Flamenco": Flamenco on NBC’s World of Dance

Amy Schofield

Dancing Doctors & TikTok Meme-ography: Pointing Towards Female Health Access

Amanda Sieradzki 

Everybody has a Dream: A Conversation with Taz Loft about Filming In the Heights

9. Close Up: Step-touch in New Orleans Popular Dance

Rachel Carrico & Latanya d. Tigner

Chapter 9 Case Studies:

"Is He… You Know…"

Aaron Thomas

Meghan Trainor’s "All About That Bass": A White Girl’s Booty Anthem

Colleen T. Dunagan

B-Girl Sunny and the Performativity of the Gaze

Sherril Dodds

Varsity Spirit’s Propertied, White Settler Femininity

Sammy Roth

10. The Politics of Popular Movements

Irvin Manuel Gonzalez

Chapter 10 Case Studies:

New Deal Rhythm: Hollywood Chorus Girls Get Political

Anna Waller

"To exist is to survive unfair choices:" The OA and Queer Acts of Protest

Bhumi B. Patel

Orderly Chaos: Moshing in SLC Punk!
Adrian S. A. Manning

Asserting Indigenous Agency Beyond Colonial Spatialities through RainbowGlitz’s Burlesque Love Medicine

Evangelina Macias

11. Popularizing "American-ness"

Tria Blu Wakpa

Chapter 11 Case Studies:

Ballet at the Movies or Dancing on the Limits of American-ness: Thalia Zanou (1490)

Anna Leon

Romanticizing the Old South in the Confederate Pageant

Teresa Simone

Experimenting with Lady J: A Trans Take on Drag

J. Davenport, PhD

Welcome to America: Reassigning Appropriation through Choreography in Soft Power

Laura London Waringer

closet disco: a meditation

Jeremy Guyton


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Jennifer Atkins is an associate professor of dance at Florida State University.