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Dance for Export
Cultural Diplomacy and the Cold War
Naima Prevots

Studies in Dance History

1999 • 188 pp. 52 illus. 7 x 10"
Dance / Political Science & Government

$19.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6464-1
$15.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7336-0

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

A little-known episode in the history of dance that illuminates the broader subject of cultural policy during the Cold War era.

At the height of the Cold War in 1954, President Eisenhower inaugurated a program of cultural exchange that sent American dancers and other artists to political "hot spots" overseas. This peacetime gambit by a warrior hero was a resounding success.

Among the artists chosen for international duty were José Limón, who led his company on the first government-sponsored tour of South America; Martha Graham, whose famed ensemble crisscrossed southeast Asia; Alvin Ailey, whose company brought audiences to their feet throughout the South Pacific; and George Balanchine, whose New York City Ballet crowned its triumphant visits to Western Europe and Japan with an epoch-making tour of the Soviet Union in 1962. The success of Eisenhower's program of cultural export led directly to the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts and Washington's Kennedy Center.

Naima Prevots draws on an array of previously unexamined sources, including formerly classified State Department documents, congressional committee hearings, and the minutes of the Dance Panel, to reveal the inner workings of "Eisenhower's Program," the complex set of political, fiscal, and artistic interests that shaped it, and the ever-uneasy relationship between government and the arts in the US.


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Reviews / Endorsements

"Prevots mines the wealth of primary source documents available, from accounts of Congressional hearings and foreign service dispatches to Boston Symphony archives, to unearth a wealth of information on the creation of American cultural diplomacy through dance. Her clear, concise, and accessible book integrates appropriate historical material relating to the artists and key players which gives the text a deep contextual richness." —Shelley C. Berg, Southern Methodist University

"Dance for Export provides a wealth of primary source material documenting the role of the State Department in promoting American artists and raises issues regarding the ways in which 'American' dance came to be defined in the 1950s. A significant contribution, it is particularly timely as battles over Federal aid to the arts and issues of government censorship loom large."—Ellen Graff, author of Stepping Left

NAIMA PREVOTS is Professor of Dance at American University and the author of American Pageantry: A Movement for Art and Democracy (1990) and Dancing in the Sun: Hollywood Choreographers, 1915 - 1937. (1987).

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 11:54:32 -0500