Dancing to Transform

How Concert Dance Becomes Religious in American Christianity

Emily Wright

Dancing to Transform

Emily Wright

Distributed for Intellect Ltd

240 pages | 5 halftones | 6 3/4 x 9 1/4
Cloth $106.50 ISBN: 9781789382839 Will Publish September 2020 Not for sale in the United Kingdom or Europe

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. 

Through a multi-site study of four professional dance companies, Wright conducted participant-observations and ethnographic interviews with artistic directors, choreographers, and company members who self-identify as Christian. She then analyzed choreography from each company to determine how concert dance becomes religious and what effects danced religious practices have for these participants. Her research reveals that the participants turn what they perceive as secular professional dance into different kinds of religious practices in order to actualize individual and communal religious identities—they dance to transform.

Contents

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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