Dancing to Transform (Book)

How Concert Dance Becomes Religious in American Christianity

A qualitative study of four professional dance companies examines the religious lives of American Christians who are professional dancers. Explores how religious and artistic commitments, experience and performance contexts influence and shape approaches of Christian professional dancers to creating, transforming and performing dance. 10 b&w illus.

Category: Performing Arts

Edition

In response to a scarcity of writings on the intersections between dance and Christianity, Dancing to Transform examines the religious lives of American Christians who, despite the historically tenuous place of dance within Christianity, are also professional dancers. Emily Wright details how these dancing Christians transform what they perceive as secular professional by transforming concert dance into different kinds of religious practices in order to express individual and communal religious identities. Through a multi-site, qualitative study of four professional dance companies, Wright explores how religious and artistic commitments, everyday lived experience and varied performance contexts influence and shape the approaches of Christian professional dancers to creating, transforming and performing dance. Subsequently, this book provides readers with a greater awareness and appreciation for the complex interactions between American Christianity and dance. This study, in turn, delivers audiences a richer, more nuanced picture of the complex histories of these Christian, dancing communities and offers more fruitful readings of their choreographic productions.

Emily Wright is Associate Professor of Dance, and MFA program director at Belhaven University, USA. She is also a dancer and an experienced dance teacher.

Previous publications include journal articles Producing Christian Docility: The Female Body in Contemporary American Evangelical Dance Journal of Dance, Movement, and Spiritualities 1, no. 2 (June 2014); A Space for Worship: History and Practice in Christian Sacred Dance The Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship (2013)  She also contributed a chapter Not of Themselves: Contemporary Practices in American Protestant Dance to In Fields in Motion: Ethnography in the Worlds of Dance, edited by Dena Davida (2011).

Introduction

Making Christian Movements: Differentiation and Adaptation in Christianity from the Patristic Era to the Middle Ages

American Christianity from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century

Dancing as American and/or Christian in the Twentieth Century

‘Let Us Praise His Name with Dancing’: Ballet Magnificat! and the Transformation of Concert into Church

Servant Artists: Ad Deum Dance Company and the Transformation of Suffering

Befriending the Both/And: Dishman + Co. Choreography and the Transformation of the Choreographic Process

Dancing Divine Love: Karin Stevens Dance and the Transformation of the Spiritual Journey

Conclusion

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