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.
Based on a color lithograph of ca. 1826 by Anthony Imbert, entitled Shakers near Lebanon

The Rhythms of Shaker Dance Marked the Shakers as “Other”

The name Shaker originally comes from the insult “Shaking Quakers,” which mocked the sect’s use of their bodies in worship.
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.
Pueblo Indian Eagle Dance, New Mexico

Why White Women Tried to Ban Native American Dances

In the early 1920s, reformers obsessed over the sexual nature of some Pueblo rituals, and attempted to control their performance.
Tarantella dancers, 1828

When Dancing Plagues Struck Medieval Europe

The tarantella is named for a peasant woman from southern Italy whose tarantula bite started a contagious dancing fever!
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.
Dance hall illustration

Jane Addams’s Crusade Against Victorian “Dancing Girls”

Jane Addams, a leading Victorian-era reformer, believed dance halls were “one of the great pitfalls of the city.”
Howard square dance

The Slave Roots of Square Dancing

Square Dancing's lily-white reputation hides something unexpected: A deep African-American history that's rooted in a legacy of slavery. 
Showgirl

The Man Who Invented the Showgirl

Showgirl. Just the word calls to mind fabulous plumes, spangled sequins, and a distinctive strut. But where does ...
Ballerinas

Can Ballet Be Feminist?

Ballerinas have long made feminists both uneasy and excited, embodying fulfillment and the shackles of feminine performance.