Dance and Its Music in America, 1528-1789

Synopsis

"Beginning with Toya Indian dances in Florida and the Matachines dance-drama in the Southwest, and moving to ordination balls, pantomimes, Black election celebrations and country dances called "Burgoyne's Surrender" and "Washington's Resignation," this study presents dance in the North American lands that would become the United States of America as a powerful yet ephemeral medium of communication and social dynamics. It integrates the history of dance and its music into cultural, commercial, and aesthetic aspects of life in the New World, both for established native societies and newcomers. Special topics include dance as a metaphor and preparation for battle, Yankee peddlers of dance and their publications, French connections, Spanish influences, dance on board ships, in religion and in the military, and Negro jigs, the Virginia Reel, and mumming traditions. Included is the colorful history of theatrical dancers who performed on the boards from Portsmouth to Charleston and competitive dancers in early versions of today's Scottish games. The core of the book is a state-by-state narrative of dance and dance music in each colony or territory from Maine to California. Thoroughly documented with extensive period quotations, illustrations, footnotes, bibliography and a detailed index, this study integrates much new information with a new way of looking at dance as a phenomenon that was both re-creative and manipulative, commercial and personal, and pleasurable and painful to those who participated."

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