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The People Have Never Stopped Dancing: Native American Modern Dance Histories


The People Have Never Stopped Dancing: Native American Modern Dance Histories Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

During the past thirty years, Native American dance has emerged as a visible force on concert stages throughout North America. In this first major study of contemporary Native American dance, Jacqueline Shea Murphy shows how these performances are at once diverse and connected by common influences.


Demonstrating the complex relationship between Native and modern dance choreography, Shea Murphy delves first into U.S. and Canadian federal policies toward Native performance from the late nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries, revealing the ways in which government sought to curtail authentic ceremonial dancing while actually encouraging staged spectacles, such as those in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows. She then engages the innovative work of Ted Shawn, Lester Horton, and Martha Graham, highlighting the influence of Native American dance on modern dance in the twentieth century. Shea Murphy moves on to discuss contemporary concert dance initiatives, including Canada’s Aboriginal Dance Program and the American Indian Dance Theatre.


Illustrating how Native dance enacts, rather than represents, cultural connections to land, ancestors, and animals, as well as spiritual and political concerns, Shea Murphy challenges stereotypes about American Indian dance and offers new ways of recognizing the agency of bodies on stage.


Jacqueline Shea Murphy is associate professor of dance studies at the University of California, Riverside, and coeditor of Bodies of the Text: Dance as Theory, Literature as Dance.

Book News Annotation:

Shea Murphy (dance studies, U. of California-Riverside) explores the mostly invisible influence that Native American dance has had on modern dance in European North America in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her topics include dance practices and federal policy, Martha Graham and absent Indians, José Limón and Tom Two Arrows during the 1950s, and indigenous stage dance in the 21st century. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

Shea Murphy, Jacqueline
University of Minnesota Press
Murphy, Jacqueline Shea
Dance - Modern
Dance - Ethnic
Indian dance
Dance - History
Native American Studies
Modern dance -- United States -- History.
Indian dance - United States - History -
Dance-Theory and History
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
10 x 7 x 1 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Dance » Modern
Arts and Entertainment » Dance » World and Ethnic
History and Social Science » Native American » General Native American Studies
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy

The People Have Never Stopped Dancing: Native American Modern Dance Histories New Trade Paper
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Product details 296 pages University of Minnesota Press - English 9780816647767 Reviews:
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