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Choreographing Identities: Ethnicity, Folk Dance, and Festival in North America
Pomona Faculty Books
  • Anthony Shay, Pomona College
Throughout its history, the United States has become a new home for thousands of immigrants, all of whom have brought their own traditions and expressions of ethnicity. Not least among these customs are folk dances, which over time have become visual representations of cultural identity. Naturally, however, these dances have not existed in a vacuum. They have changed--in part as a response to ever-changing social identities, and in part as a reaction to deliberate manipulations by those within as well as outside of a particular culture. Compiled in great part from the author’s own personal dance experience, this volume looks at how various cultures use dance as a visual representation of their identity, and how "traditional" dances change over time. It discusses several "parallel layers" of dance: dances performed at intra-cultural social occasions, dances used for representation or presentation, and folk dance performances. Individual chapters center on various immigrant cultures. Chiefly the work focuses on cultural representation and how it is sometimes manipulated. Key folk dance festivals in the United States and Canada are reviewed. Interviews with dancers, teachers, and others offer a first-hand perspective. An extensive bibliography encompasses concert programs and reviews as well as broader scholarly sources.
Publication Date
McFarland & Co.
  • dance,
  • culture,
  • ethnicity
Citation Information
Shay, Anthony. Choreographing Identities: Ethnicity, Folk Dance, and Festival in North America. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2006.