By Ramsay Burt
Alien our bodies is an engaging exam of dance in Germany, France, and the USA through the Nineteen Twenties and Nineteen Thirties. Ranging throughout ballet and glossy dance, dance within the cinema and Revue, Ramsay Burt seems to be on the paintings of eu, African American, and white American artists. one of the artists who function are: * Josephine Baker * Jean Borlin * George Balanchine * Jean Cocteau * Valeska Gert * Katherine Dunham * Fernand Leger * Kurt Jooss * Doris Humphrey fascinated by how artists answered to the alienating stories of recent existence, Alien our bodies specializes in problems with: * nationwide and 'racial' identification * the recent areas of modernity * fascists makes use of of mass spectacles * ritual and primitivism in glossy dance * the 'New lady' and the slim glossy physique
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Additional resources for Alien Bodies: Representations of Modernity, 'Race' and Nation in Early Modern Dance
This shows a ‘revue within a revue’ in which bourgeois spectators sit watching female dancers while in front of them lies a crippled war veteran with a stick (Jelavich 1993:212). The indifference of these bourgeois spectators is characteristically metropolitan and a quality that, as I have argued, was evoked in both The Big City and Skating Rink. Many of these representations of metropolitan night life focused on the figure of the prostitute. In the absence of further information one can only speculate as to whether Laban included prostitutes in Die Nacht, but they do appear in some pieces by his pupil, Kurt Jooss and in the repertoire of the dancer Valeska Gert.
Modernist art that celebrated modernity couldn’t avoid evoking these potentially disturbing qualities. The early German sociologist George Simmel identified agoraphobia, neurasthenia and an overexaggeratedly blasé attitude as psychological responses to, and effects of city life (Simmel 1971). It is within discussions of the figure of the flâneur that this ambiguously affirmative yet simultaneously critical and predominantly masculine response to the city is most clearly identified. It is the moment when dancing makes its transition from being the object of the flâneur’s gaze, as he wanders through the city, to being the subject of inspiration of what might be called the choreography of modern life, that dance finally became a modernist art form.
These references to modern America are part of a wider interest in American modernity by artists, writers and composers during the 1920s. Andreas Huyssen observes: ‘In retrospect, it seems quite significant that major artists of the 1920s used precisely the then widespread “Americanism” (associated with jazz, sport, cars, technology, movies, and photography) in order to overcome bourgeois aestheticism and its sepa-rateness from life’ (Huyssen 1986:60). Manuel Peters summed up Gert’s evocation of modern city life: She danced the Traffic of a Berlin crossroads with pedestrians rushing to and fro, with cars and a policeman.
Alien Bodies: Representations of Modernity, 'Race' and Nation in Early Modern Dance by Ramsay Burt