Fall 2010

Twentieth-Century American Dance: Sixties Vanguard to Nineties Hip-Hop

Listed in: Theater and Dance, as THDA-24


Constance Valis Hill (Section 01)


Cool, candid, athletic; playful, arrogant, and promiscuous: Sixties experimental dance works were wildly divergent but can collectively be seen as a revolt against the institution of American modern dance as they offered bold alternatives as to who was a dancer, what made a dance, what was “beautiful” and worth watching, and what was “art.”  Mirroring the decade that was marked by tumultuous social and political change and guided by the decade’s liberating ideal, sixties vanguard dancers often outrageously (and naively) invalidated modern dance’s authority by “going beyond democracy into anarchy.” Jill Johnston wrote about the rebels of the Judson Dance Theatre, "No member outstanding. No body necessarily more beautiful than any other body. No movement necessarily more important or more beautiful than any other movement.”

This survey of twentieth-century American dance moves from the sixties—a decade of revolt and redefinition in American modern dance that provoked new ideas about dance, the dancer’s body and a radically changed dance aesthetic--to the radical postmodernism of the nineties when the body continued to be the site for debates about the nature of gender, ethnicity and sexuality. We will investigate how the political and social environment of the sixties, particularly the Black Power and Women’s Movement, informed the work of succeeding generations of dance artists and yielded new theories about the relationship between cultural forms and the construction of identities.

Fall semester.  Five College Dance Professor Valis Hill.


Artistic Practice


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010