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Choreographing Appalachia as America: The Hazards of Nostalgia on the Concert Stage
Dance Chronicle  (IF),  Pub Date : 2020-09-01, DOI: 10.1080/01472526.2020.1827870
Janet Schroeder

Abstract Dancers and dance scholars often refer to Appalachian dance as an American art form. In this essay, I examine Banjo Dance: A Celebration of the American Spirit performed by Rhythm in Shoes in order to understand the particular narrative of America that the work advances through Appalachian dance. Using movement and choreographic analysis, I suggest that Banjo Dance asserts it Americanness through concertized renderings of Appalachian flatfooting, square dance, and team clogging, which generate a collectivist image of Appalachia and America. Simultaneously, through the force of concertizing and dramatizing Appalachian themes, Banjo Dance stages a nostalgic representation of Appalachia that could be read as whitewashed Americana.