A moustachioed young man and a girl in long braids dance the 'original polka' on page one of 'Jullien's Celebrated Polkas', dedicated to Mr E Coulon.

The Rebellious, Scandalous Origins of Polka

The dance is often associated with the traditions of immigrant communities in America. But it emerged in Europe during a time of radicalism.
El Jaleo by John Singer Sargent, 1882

What Did Franco’s Spain Do to Spanish Music?

Contemporary Spanish genres like flamenco and zarzuela still carry the weight of cultural associations with Franco’s fascist regime.
King Lear, Act I, Scene I by Edwin Austin Abbey

The Rowdy Women of Early Modern Theater

There were, in fact, women in the audiences of Shakespeare’s plays. Some came to watch; others to sell their wares; others to get on stage themselves.
Punch and Judy by George Cruikshank, 1828

When Puppet Shows Were Too Violent For Kids

How much violence do we accept in our entertainment? 19th-century Punch and Judy shows were misogynistic, murderous, and definitely not for children.
Kathak

Indian Classical Dance and the Power of “Oneness”

Kathak is a classical form of Indian dance. Its practitioners use movement and gesture to tell stories, transcending gender and selfhood.
A paper theater

Paper Theaters: The Home Entertainment of Yesteryear

In the nineteenth century, enterprising toymakers developed a novel way to bring theater into the home.
The Cast of Dave Malloy’s Octet. Photo by Joan Marcus

The Art of Digital Addiction

Digital addiction is inspiring plays, books, films, and art -- just as other forms of addiction have in the past.
Woodstock, 1969

Woodstock: Sex, Drugs, and Zoning

It's the 50th anniversary of the famous Woodstock festival, which was fraught with controversy before it even happened.
Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield

Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, “The Black Swan”

Born into slavery, Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield broke barriers with every note she sang.
Ruth Page and Harald Kreutuzberg in Bacchanale, 1934

Ruth Page, the Ballerina Who Danced Poems

In the 1940s, American dancer Ruth Page combined poetry, performance, and personal reflection to create a new type of dance.