Embodied Politics reveals new perspectives of dance in four case studies that centre on social issues and identity politics in the USA and Britain. Counter-hegemonic and celebratory activities that shape the dance ecologies of their time and place are analysed, revealing intriguing points of connection and divergence between the two nations. America’s left-wing dance roots are traced through Edith Segal’s work in 1920s summer camps and her union activism in Detroit in the late 1930s. In Britain, dancer-choreographer Margaret Barr and the composer Alan Bush emerge as catalysts behind 1930s leftist modern dance in pageant and left-wing theatre performances. In analysis of contemporary dance, San Francisco’s dance community activism contributes to a zeitgeist transforming the personal into the political in innovative collaborative productions. Britain’s influential South Asian dance presence is explored through its practitioners’ grassroots efforts linked to dance education and training. Concepts of place and space, politics of representation and protest, institution and creative imperatives are explored, analysed through the activities of passionate artists whose work is seen in picket lines, mass pageants, in street and aerial performances, heritage sites and in public festivals such as the Cultural Olympiad.
Stacey Prickett is a Principal Lecturer in Dance Studies at the University of Roehampton, London. Drawing on her American and British dance training and education experience, she has published numerous journal articles, chapters in the books Dance and Politics and Dance in the City, and contributed entries to Fifty Contemporary Choreographers.