Dance History: An Introduction

By Janet Adshead-Lansdale; June Layson | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter 1

Historical perspectives in the study of dance

June Layson


Chapter 1 provides the foundation line for the rest of this book in outlining and discussing the nature of history generally and, more particularly, dance history. It is acknowledged that at a basic level it is possible to study dance history, write about it and be involved in other forms of dance history communication without addressing such epistemological questions as what constitutes dance history, what purposes it serves, what roles are available to the dance historian and so on. However, it is contended here that any study of dance history, in whatever form and for whatever purpose, can be enlightened and enriched by an understanding of the nature of the dance history enterprise. To apprehend and appreciate the field of operation is a vital preliminary to acquiring knowledge and understanding in any area and dance history is no exception to this.

In section 1.2 the general historical perspective is outlined as the forerunner to a more detailed consideration in section 1.3 of dance in its historical perspective. Together these two sections reflect relatively well established perceptions of both general history and dance history. In section 1.4 the discussion is opened up to include reference to the current challenges being made to traditional approaches in the form of radical perceptual shifts and in the introduction of highly innovative practices. In the light of this discussion, section 1.5 identifies selected areas of dance history as an academic discipline requiring strategic reconsideration and redevelopment, and the chapter is summarized in section 1.6.


As an academic discipline history is often justified on the grounds of inherent worthwhileness since the past of any group of people is regarded as a cultural legacy to be valued. In addition, history is seen to provide links between the past and the present so that, through its study, the here and now can be informed.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Dance History: An Introduction


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 290

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?