By Daniel J. Walkowitz

This is the tale of English kingdom Dance, from its 18th century roots within the English towns and geographical region, to its transatlantic jump to the U.S. within the twentieth century, instructed via not just a well known historian but in addition a people dancer, who has either immersed himself within the wealthy historical past of the people culture and rehearsed its steps.

In City Folk, Daniel J. Walkowitz argues that the heritage of state and folks dancing in the US is deeply intermeshed with that of political liberalism and the ‘old left.’ He situates folks dancing inside strangely various contexts, from innovative period reform, and playground and faculty routine, to the alterations in patron tradition, and the undertaking of a modernizing, cosmopolitan center type society.

Tracing the unfold of folks dancing, with specific emphases on English kingdom Dance, foreign people Dance, and Contra, Walkowitz connects the historical past of folks dance to social and foreign political impacts in the United States. via archival learn, oral histories, and ethnography of dance groups, City Folk permits dancers and dancing our bodies to talk. From the norms of the 1st 1/2 the century, marked strongly by way of Anglo-Saxon traditions, to the chilly struggle nationalism of the post-war period, and eventually directly to the counterculture routine of the Seventies, City Folk injects the riveting background of folks dance in the course of the tale of contemporary America.

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Extra info for City Folk: English Country Dance and the Politics of the Folk in Modern America

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39 Increasingly seeing urban culture as rowdy, sordid, and vulgar in music halls, some people began to celebrate folk song as the unsophisticated, primitive, genuine, simple beauty of common emotion. 40 By the end of the century, a small band of enthusiasts-antiquarians had emerged to satisfy the growing interest in folk songs. In England, the gentry industry in folk song collecting took off in the late 1880s, in the decade before Cecil Sharp’s Boxing Day epiphany with morris dance. Twenty-seven song collections between 1888 and 1925 used “folk” in their title, most with simple piano arrangements easily used in schools.

In the United States, Sargent’s programs become cornerstones of new Normal Schools that began as single-sex schools for girls or for boys in the 1860s. By the 1880s, these new schools were training teachers for public-school physical-education programs. Such training became an integral element of teacher education generally and explains how it is that college-level dance programs became institutionalized in schools of education. Reformers emphasized that bodily education was important for those who were beyond school years as well, and exercise became a cornerstone of the YMCA movement that emerged on both sides of the Atlantic during this era.

20 The second reform space created at this time—the schoolyard or playground—was equally significant as a site for play. Boston opened the first playground—three piles of yellow sand in a yard of the Children’s Mission— in 1885. By 1899, thirteen cities had opened them. New York City opened thirty-one supervised playgrounds between 1899 and 1906, when Gulick and Henry S. Curtis organized the Playground Association of America (PAA). Curtis has been credited with originating the idea of a Playground Association.

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