1st Edition

Dance in US Popular Culture

Edited By Jennifer Atkins Copyright 2023
    386 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    386 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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 we can understand history and society through that lens
    • what stereotypes and accompanying expectations are embedded in performance, related to gender and/or race, for instance
    • how such expectations are reinforced, negotiated, challenged, embraced, or rescripted by performers and audiences
    • 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 this can act as a springboard towards dismantling systems of oppression

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

    Chapter 11 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF at http://www.taylorfrancis.com under a Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY 4.0 license.


    Jennifer Atkins and Carlee Sachs-Krook

    PART I: 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: Outside Perceptions of American Popular Culture

    Elena Benthaus and Dara Milovanović

    Chapter 1: Next Steps and Your Move!


    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

    Chapter 2: Next Steps and Your Move!

    PART II: Stereotypes and 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

    Chapter 3: Next Steps and Your Move!

    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

    Chapter 4: Next Steps and Your Move!

    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

    Chapter 5: Next Steps and Your Move!

    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

    Chapter 6: Next Steps and Your Move!

    PART III: Recognitions and 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 Queens"

    Bhumi B. Patel


    Resistance, Resilience, Overcoming a Lot: Talking with NaTonia Monét about Performing in the Broadway Musical Tina

    Chapter 7: Next Steps and Your Move!

    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 and TikTok Meme-ography: Pointing Toward Female Health Access

    Amanda Gabaldon


    Everybody has a Dream: Talking with Taz Loft about Filming In the Heights (2021).

    Chapter 8: Next Steps and Your Move!

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

    Rachel Carrico and Latanya D. Tigner

    Chapter 9 Case Studies:

    Is He… You Know…

    Aaron C. 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

    Chapter 9: Next Steps and Your Move!

    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

    Chapter 10: Next Steps and Your Move!

    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

    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

    Chapter 11: Next Steps and Your Move!


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