Dancers as Diplomats
American Choreography in Cultural Exchange
University Press 2015
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in DanceNew Books in HistoryNew Books in National SecurityNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network October 27, 2015 Takiyah Amin
What’s missing from our understanding of the role of dancers in the context of American Cultural Diplomacy? Clare Croft‘s first book, Dancers as Diplomats: American Choreography in Cultural Exchange (Oxford University Press, 2015) provides a range of thoughtful, well-researched responses to this question. By exploring the ways in which dancer’s bodies were operationalized and “deployed” on behalf of the US State Department during the Cold War as well as at the dawn of the 21st century, Dancers as Diplomats centers the work of dancers and choreographers as ambassadors, provocateurs and global leaders. Including more than 70 interviews with dancers who traveled on these international tours, the book centers the voices of artists actively engaged in this very particular kind of cultural work.
Clare Croft is a historian, theorist, and dramaturg, working at the intersection of dance studies and performance studies. She specializes in 20th and 21st century American dance, cultural policy, feminist and queer theory, and critical race theory. Professor Croft holds a PhD in theatre history and criticism with an emphasis in Performance as Public Practice from the University of Texas-Austin and an MA in performance studies from New York University. Dr. Croft is Assistant Professor of Dance in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance at the University of Michigan.