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Dancing in the Blood
Modern Dance and European Culture on the Eve of the First World War


  • Date Published: July 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107196223

£ 62.99

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About the Authors
  • This is a remarkable account of the revolutionary impact of modern dance on European cultural life in the early twentieth century. Edward Ross Dickinson uncovers modern dance's place in the emerging 'mass' culture of the modern metropolis, sufficiently ubiquitous and high-profile to spark media storms, parliamentary debates, and exasperated denunciations even from progressive art critics. He shows how modern dance spoke in multiple registers - as religious and as scientific; as redemptively chaste and scandalously sensual; as elitist and popular. He reveals the connections between modern dance and changing gender relations and family dynamics, imperialism, racism, and cultural exchanges with the wider non-European world, and new conceptions of selfhood. Ultimately the book finds in these complex and often contradictory connections a new way of understanding the power of modernism and modernity and their capacity to revolutionize and transform the modern world in the momentous, creative, violent middle decades of the twentieth century.

    • Proposes a new understanding of the development and meaning of modern dance in its early years before World War I, appealing to anyone interested in the history of dance
    • Explores a new understanding of the way modern societies work, which will be of interest to readers interested in modernity and modern European history
    • Covers a vast range of cultural studies in relation to dance and modern society, with a broad appeal to students and academics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Edward Ross Dickinson brilliantly demonstrates that aesthetic modernism danced a neat double-two-step in the early decades of the twentieth century, combining the tense oppositions of global modernity into a harmonious new language. With its nimble prose and adroit research, Dancing in the Blood is itself a delightfully artful and informative cultural history.' Michael Saler, University of California, Davis

    'Dancing in the Blood makes a major new contribution to the scholarship of early twentieth-century dance. Edward Ross Dickinson brings a fresh historical perspective to dance and asks us to reconsider the formative early years of modern dance with new readings of modernism and modernity. An exhilarating read.' Michael Huxley, De Montfort University

    'Dancing in the Blood is extremely readable and packed full of solid historical detail, offering a brilliant resource every scholar working in the field should turn to.' Lucia Ruprecht, The Journal of Modern History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107196223
    • length: 306 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.57kg
    • contains: 25 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: modern dance and the birth of the twentieth century
    1. Modern dance and the business of popular culture
    2. Art, women, liberation
    3. Blood and make believe: race, identity, and performance
    4. Embodied revelation: dance, religion, and knowledge
    5. Legacies: dance as profession, spectacle, therapy, politics
    Conclusion: coherent contradictions in modernism and modernity.

  • Author

    Edward Ross Dickinson, University of California, Davis
    Edward Ross Dickinson is Professor and Chair of the History Department at the University of California, Davis. His areas of research and expertise include the history of imperialism, terrorism, sexuality and gender, crime, social policy, social reform, women's movements, modern dance, and racial theory. He is the author of a number of books including Sex, Freedom, and Power in Imperial Germany, 1880–1914 (Cambridge, 2014).

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