This study focuses on dance as an activist practice in and of itself, across geographical locations and over the course of a century, from 1920 to 2020. Through doing so, it considers how dance has been an empowering agent for political action throughout civilisation.
Dance and Activism offers a glimpse of different strategies of mobilizing the human body for good and justice for all, and captures the increasing political activism epitomized by bodies moving on the streets in some of the most turbulent political situations. This has, most recently, undoubtedly been partly owing to the rise of the far-right internationally, which has marked an increase in direct action on the streets.
Offering a survey of key events across the century, such as the fall of President Zuma in South Africa; pro-reproductive rights action in Poland and Argentina; and the recent women’s marches against Donald Trump’s presidency, you will see how dance has become an urgent field of study. Key geographical locations are explored as sites of radical dance – the Lower East Side of New York; Gaza; Syria; Cairo, Iran; Iraq; Johannesburg – to name but a few – and get insights into some of the major figures in the history of dance, including Pearl Primus, Martha Graham, Anna Sokolow and Ahmad Joudah. Crucially, lesser or unknown dancers, who have in some way influenced politics, all over the world are brought into the limelight (the Syrian ballerinas and Hussein Smko, for example).
Dance and Activism troubles the boundary between theory and practice, while presenting concrete case studies as a site for robust theoretical analysis.
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