Dance, Modernity, and Culture: Explorations in the Sociology of Dance


In Dance, Modernity and Culture , Helen Thomas provides an original, interdiscplinary approach to the study of dance. By examining the development of modern dance in the USA during the inter-war period she develops a framework for analysing dance from a sociological perspective.In applying her approach to the work of St Denis, Ted Shawn, and Martha Graham, among others, she relates the emergence of modern dance to contemporaneous artistic developments, and locates dance within a wider social and economic context. Thus, she draws attention to the importance of popular culture in the development of modern dance, music and painting, and the crucial role women played in establishing dance as an art form. By way of exemplification, she looks at the work of Yvonne Rainer in order to demonstrate how this sociological approach might be applied to a post-modern work. Dance, Modernity and Culture explores an area of art practice that has long been marginalised by sociologists of art. As an important contribution to dance scholarship this book will be essential reading for all those interested in the performing arts.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1995


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