Dancing Jewish: Jewish Identity in American Modern and Postmodern Dance

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While Jews are commonly referred to as the "people of the book," American Jewish choreographers have consistently turned to dance as a means to articulate personal and collective identities; tangle with stereotypes; advance social and political agendas; and imagine new possibilities for themselves as individuals, artists, and Jews. Dancing Jewish delineates this rich history, demonstrating that Jewish choreographers have not only been vital contributors to American modern and postmodern dance, but that they have also played a critical and unacknowledged role in the history of Jews in the United States.

A dancer and choreographer, as well as an historian, author Rebecca Rossen offers evocative analyses of dances while asserting the importance of embodied methodologies to academic research. Featuring over fifty images, a companion website, and key works from 1930 to 2005 by a wide range of artists – including David Dorfman, Dan Froot, David Gordon, Hadassah, Margaret Jenkins, Pauline Koner, Dvora Lapson, Liz Lerman, Sophie Maslow, Anna Sokolow, and Benjamin Zemach – Dancing Jewish offers a comprehensive framework for interpreting performance and establishes dance as a crucial site in which American Jews have grappled with cultural belonging, personal and collective histories, and the values that bind and pull them apart.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (June 3, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199791775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199791774
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.1 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces

Customer Reviews

A Sublime Read

One person found this helpful.
 on October 20, 2015
By George Russell
I thought this book would be interesting, but I didn’t expect it to be jam-packed with surprises and page-turningly well written and timely. This book is sublime. If you know anything about modern dance, you’ll appreciate knowing the who’s who of Jewish modernism and you’ll get a lot of new information (and clips of dance) that will fill it in for you. If you’re Jewish, or, like me, a Jew wannabe, you’ll love the many ways, from the folkloric to the philosophical, that Rebecca Rossen connects Judaism to dance and dance to jews. Every page has a sentence I want to sew into a sampler. A really juicy and full read.

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