Meaning in Motion: New Cultural Studies of Dance / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 28%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $15.11
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 43%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (15) from $15.11   
  • New (5) from $20.78   
  • Used (10) from $15.09   


Dance, whether considered as an art form or embodied social practice, as product or process, is a prime subject for cultural analysis. Yet only recently have studies of dance become concerned with the ideological, theoretical, and social meanings of dance practices, performances, and institutions. In Meaning in Motion, Jane C. Desmond brings together the work of critics who have ventured into the boundaries between dance and cultural studies, and thus maps a little-known and rarely explored critical site.
Writing from a broad range of perspectives, contributors from disciplines as varied as art history and anthropology, dance history and political science, philosophy and women’s studies chart the questions and challenges that mark this site. How does dance enact or rework social categories of identity? How do meanings change as dance styles cross borders of race, nationality, or class? How do we talk about materiality and motion, sensation and expressivity, kinesthetics and ideology? The authors engage these issues in a variety of contexts: from popular social dances to the experimentation of the avant-garde; from nineteenth-century ballet and contemporary Afro-Brazilian Carnival dance to hip hop, the dance hall, and film; from the nationalist politics of folk dances to the feminist philosophies of modern dance. Giving definition to a new field of study, Meaning in Motion broadens the scope of dance analysis and extends to cultural studies new ways of approaching matters of embodiment, identity, and representation.

Contributors. Ann Cooper Albright, Evan Alderson, Norman Bryson, Cynthia Cohen Bull, Ann Daly, Brenda Dixon Gottschild, Susan Foster, Mark Franko, Marianne Goldberg, Amy Koritz, Susan Kozel, Susan Manning, Randy Martin, Angela McRobbie, Kate Ramsey, Anna Scott, Janet Wolff

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Excellent! Meaning in Motion will make it much easier for scholars concerned primarily with cultural studies to consider the challenges dance poses in ‘rethinking the body.’”— Peggy Phelan, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
Contains 18 essays exploring issues in dance such as ideology, subjectivity, social categorization, representation, and the disciplining of the body. Representative paper topics include feminism and body politics, strategies of mimesis in the work of Irigaray and Bausch, the female dancer and the male gaze, the staging of folklore in mid-20th-century Haiti, homogenized ballerinas, and dance ethnography and the limits of representation. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822319429
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books
  • Publication date: 4/28/1997
  • Series: Post-Contemporary Interventions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 408
  • Sales rank: 743,592
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane C. Desmond is Associate Professor of American Studies and Women’s Studies at the University of Iowa.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
I Dance and Cultural Studies
1 Embodying Difference: Issues in Dance and Cultural Studies 29
2 Cultural Studies and Dance History 55
II Social Lives, Social Bodies
3 Reinstating Corporeality: Feminism and Body Politics 81
4 "The Story Is Told as a History of the Body": Strategies of Mimesis in the Work of Irigaray and Bausch 101
5 Classical Ballet: A Discourse of Difference 111
6 Ballet as Ideology: Giselle, Act 2 121
7 Dancing the Orient for England: Maud Allan's The Vision of Salome 133
8 The Female Dancer and the Male Gaze: Feminist Critiques of Early Modern Dance 153
9 Some Thoughts on Choreographing History 167
10 Auto-Body Stories: Blondell Cummings and Autobiography in Dance 179
11 Dance Narratives and Fantasies of Achievement 207
III Expanding Agendas for Critical Thinking
12 Dancing Bodies 235
13 Spectacle and Dancing Bodies That Matter: Or, If It Don't Fit, Don't Force It 259
14 Sense, Meaning, and Perception in Three Dance Cultures 269
15 Some Notes on Yvonne Rainer, Modernism, Politics, Emotion, Performance, and the Aftermath 289
16 Homogenized Ballerinas 305
17 Dance Ethnography and the Limits of Representation 321
18 Vodou, Nationalism, and Performance: The Staging of Folklore in Mid-Twentieth-Century Haiti 345
Notes on Contributors 379
Permissions 383
Index 385
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2000

    An Outstanding Collection of Essays in Feminist Dance Scholarship

    Editor Jane C. Desmond brings together a collection of provocative essays analyzing ballet, modern, and post-modern dance from feminist and multi-cultural perspectives. Some prominent topics include: 1) The male gaze and dance performance; 2) Objective versus subjective performance; 3) Michel Foucault's Docile Body Theory and Dance; 4) Gender difference and aesthetic virtues; 5) Nationalism versus the racial 'other'; 6) Combining the universal and the personal through autobiographical performance.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)