Janet Collins

The History of African-American Casting in Ballet

Ballet has been slow to accept African-American dancers in major companies, and those who make it tend to be offered limited roles.
Two teenagers dancing the jitterbug, 1942

Germany’s Real-Life “Swing Kids” 

Rebellious teenagers thumbed their noses at Hitler with jazz music, wild dancing, and the greeting “Swing Heil.” But how serious was their resistance?
King & Carter Jazzing Orchestra, Houston Texas, 1921

When Jazz Was a Public Health Crisis

In the 1920s, jazz music was thought to cause physical illness or even disability.
Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of Resistance

The dark, absurdist humor of Samuel Beckett's work was directly informed by his time in the French Resistance during World War II.
Jenny Lind the Swedish Nightingale. Poster from the collection of the University of Sheffield.

Superfans in the Nineteenth Century

Americans have long obsessed over their favorite musicians.
Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein, Teacher

Leonard Bernstein was a famous composer, conductor, and pianist. But by some accounts, his favorite accomplishment was teaching children about music.
Oklahoma play

Oklahoma! Changed Musical Theater Forever. Or Did It?

Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical was revolutionary in the way it “integrated” music, dance, and dialogue. Or was that language just a marketing ploy?
Club Zara Boston postcard

When “Middle Eastern” Nightclubs Swept America

In the 1950s, nightclubs featuring "Middle Eastern" music and belly dancers mixed and matched cultures, serving white audiences an exotic experience.
Enjoying a Music Festival

From Saturnalia to Coachella

Art, music, religious, and seasonal festivals have been a part of human life since prehistory. How have they changed as society has changed?
World Cup 2010

Why We Love World Cup Anthems

The excitement of the FIFA World Cup is exemplified by the songs that become World Cup anthems—both official and unofficial.