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Converging Movements
Modern Dance and Jewish Culture at the 92nd Street Y
Naomi M. Jackson




Wesleyan
2000 • 302 pp. 41 illus. 7 figs. 6 1/8 x 9 1/4"
Dance

$25.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6420-7
$40.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-6419-1



"Ms. Jackson does not merely present readers with the facts, she uses these documents to illuminate the significance of the Y's influence on Jewish and American culture as well as the world of dance." —The Forward

A groundbreaking study of the 92nd Street Y and its major influence on 20th-century American culture.

The Y located at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue in New York City is the largest and oldest continuously operating YM-YWHA in the US. Many of the most important figures in modern dance premiered on its stage, but until now no one has thought to ask why this should have been so. As Naomi Jackson shows in Converging Movements, the Y's particular conception of Jewishness laid the groundwork for the establishment of a center for dance in the 1930s.

William Kolodney, who served as the Y's education director from 1934 until 1969, expanded its educational and arts programming to include a great deal of nonsectarian material, and as Jackson shows, modern dance epitomized Kolodney's humanistic ideals regarding the uplifting role of the arts.

Together with his dance advisors, most notably Doris Humphrey, John Martin, and Louis Horst, Kolodney oversaw a program characterized by a broad mix of Jewish and non-Jewish performers from Alvin Ailey, Katherine Dunham, and Ruth St. Denis to Anna Sokolow, José Limón, Erick Hawkins, Hanya Holm, Pearl Primus, and national and folk companies from Israel, the Philippines, Russia, Mexico, and elsewhere. Drawing on the Y's extensive archives and illustrated with rare photographs, Jackson's book locates modern dance at the heart of the Jewish encounter with America.

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Reviews / Endorsements

"Ms. Jackson does not merely present readers with the facts, she uses these documents to illuminate the significance of the Y's influence on Jewish and American culture as well as the world of dance." —The Forward

"In Converging Movements, Naomi Jackson tells a remarkable story that will be of interest to scholars of American cultural history and that reinforces the importance of the committed individual and institution in the enhancement of the arts."Theatre Journal

"One of Jackson's most interesting points is how, under the direction of William Kolodney, the 92nd Street Y's support of dancers from around the world foreshadowed modern multiculturalism."Library Journal

“In her pathbreaking book, Naomi Jackson situates modern dance at the heart of the Jewish encounter with America. Her history of the 92nd Street Y’s dance program compellingly chronicles the reasons for the Y’s renown as an influential and pioneering cultural institution. Jackson writes with verve and energy as she tells the story of New York Jews’ improbable love affair with dance, Modernism, and Zionism. This eminently readable account uncovers the multicultural roots of America’s modern dance movement.”Deborah Dash Moore, author of At Home in America: Second Generation New York Jews



Naomi M. Jackson is Associate Professor in the Department of Dance at Arizona State University.



Sat, 15 Apr 2017 15:29:33 -0500