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This study describes and analyzes the phenomenal popularity of exotic dance forms in America. Throughout the twentieth century and especially since 1950, millions have begun learning and performing various Balkan dances, the tango, and other Latin American dances, along with the classical dances of India, Japan, and Indonesia.
Most studies in dance ethnography and anthropology have focused specifically on "dancing in the field," or the dancing that native dancers do. This study, by contrast, examines the ways in which ethnic dancing has allowed many Americans to create more exciting, "exotic" and romantic identities. The author describes the uniquely American enthusiasm for exotic dances, and cites specific deficiencies in the U.S. cultural identity that have led many people to seek new feelings and experiences through exotic dance genres.
Pt. I Gateways
1 "I Nearly Swooned": Empowering Encounters of the Exotic Kind 41
2 The Early Exotic Dancers 53
3 The Recreational International Folk Dance Movement 73
4 Ethnomusicology and Dance Ethnology 92
Pt. II Genres
5 Kolomania: Balkan Dance as American Expression 109
6 Belly Dance: Embodied Orientalism 124
7 Classical Asian Dance: The Arduous Journey 148
8 Latin American Dances: Sin and Sex Made Safe 169