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Book Review: Moving History / Dancing Cultures

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The collection of essays analyzes the history of dance in a wide-ranging and innovative fashion, which provoke readers’ thoughts. Editors, Albright and Dills, address the perceived shortage of comprehensive teaching materials in the field of dance history. This is achieved through the creation of a non-linear, multifaceted, yet comprehensive and well structured survey of moments in the development of both world and American dance. It illustrates several photographs, which would be an ideal text for undergraduate classes in dance ethnography, appreciation and criticism, as well as dance history (Dils & Albright 272). The reader is organized in a variety of thematic sections that allow for individualized and varied course use. The reading are structured with the understanding that the discursive construction theory of history and the consequent canalization of certain texts, dances and point of view has thoroughly been questioned by contemporary theory. The presentation of historical readings is in a manner that encourages thoughtful analysis and provides a platform for critical engagement (Dils & Albright 273).

The authors reflect on the influence of performance and cultural studies, ethnography and feminism as indicated by their unique perspectives. The setting is clearly American, although it is with a self-conscious eye to the globe. The article is structured in a way of situating national concerns in an anthropologically sensitive context is quite compelling. The authors have illustrated just how global their interests are, a fact that has completely shaped anthology. Throughout the article, Dils and Albright address readers in an intimate and direct manner, with a goal of bringing life to them regarding the intellectual, as well as somatic, aspects of dance history.

This is a useful source for academic programs on dance, and it is conceived as an alternative to the customized copies, which are common in many universities’ dance classes. It presents an assortment of materials under a single volume, which seems to be the much-needed contribution to the dance scholarship.

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