Type of Document Thesis Author Bishop, Jennifer L. URN etd-09172003-163141 Title Working Women And Dance In Progressive Era New York City, 1890-1920 Degree Master of Arts Department Dance, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Tricia Young Committee Chair John O. Perpener, III. Committee Member Neil Jumonville Committee Member Keywords
- Social Dancing
- Working Women
Date of Defense 2003-08-02 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis study provides a historical examination of working women’s relationship with social and theatrical dance in New York City during the
Progressive Era. These years, between 1890 and 1920, were seminal in bringing America into the modern age, as well as providing a unique framework for women’s activism against restrictive sociopolitical roles. The purpose of this thesis is to illuminate the relationship between New York City working class women, dance, and intellectual ideas in an attempt to broaden the scope of both dance studies and history.
By utilizing historiography, women’s studies, cultural studies, and movement analysis, this project addresses the shift of women (from Victorian to Modern) through the lens of dance. Social dancing, especially in dance halls,
was an outlet for working class experimentation with new attitudes of social and financial independence, as well as in defining a more liberal attitude of sexuality. Likewise, the chorus girls of Ziegfeld’s Follies used a theatrical medium in which to explore new identities of independence and sexuality. These high-grade chorines epitomized the working girl dream--they earned their own money while
gallivanting through elite social circles. Throughout these two spheres--social or
theatrical--the social and sexual transformation of women was underscored through ideas of conspicuous consumption and ethics of leisure.
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