In the early 1960s, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was a small, multi-racial company of dancers that performed the works of its founding choreographer and other emerging artists. By the late 1960s, the company had become a well-known African American artistic group closely tied to theCivil Rights struggle. In Dancing Revelations, Thomas DeFrantz chronicles the troupe's journey from a small modern dance company to one of the premier institutions of African American culture. He not only charts this rise to national and international renown, but also contextualizes this progresswithin the civil rights, women's rights, and gay rights struggles of the late 20th century.DeFrantz examines the most celebrated Ailey dances, including Revelations, drawing on video recordings of Ailey's dances, published interviews, oral histories, and his own interviews with former Ailey company dancers. Through vivid descriptions and beautiful illustrations, DeFrantz reveals therelationship between Ailey's works and African American culture as a whole. He illuminates the dual achievement of Ailey as an artist and as an arts activist committed to developing an African American presence in dance. He also addresses concerns about how dance performance is documented, includingissues around spectatorship and the display of sexuality, the relationship of Ailey's dances to civil rights activism, and the establishment and maintenance of a successful, large-scale Black Arts institution.Throughout Dancing Revelations, DeFrantz illustrates how Ailey combined elements of African dance with motifs adapted from blues, jazz, and Broadway to choreograph his dances. By re-interpreting these tropes of black culture in his original and well-received dances, DeFrantz argues that Aileyplayed a significant role in defining the African American cultural canon in the twentieth century. As the first book to examine the cultural sources and cultural impact of Ailey's work, Dancing Revelations is an important contribution to modern dance history and criticism as well asAfrican-American studies.
While dance has always been as demanding as contact sports, intuitive boundaries distinguish the two forms of performance for men. Dance is often regarded as a feminine activity, and men who dance are frequently stereotyped as suspect, gay, or somehow unnatural. But what really happens whenmen dance?When Men Dance offers a progressive vision that boldly articulates double-standards in gender construction within dance and brings hidden histories to light in a globalized debate. A first of its kind, this trenchant look at the stereotypes and realities of male dancing brings together contributionsfrom leading and rising scholars of dance from around the world to explore what happens when men dance. The dancing male body emerges in its many contexts, from the ballet, modern, and popular dance worlds to stages in Georgian and Victorian England, Weimar Germany, India and the Middle East. Themen who dance and those who analyze them tell stories that will be both familiar and surprising for insiders and outsiders alike.