By Naima Prevots
A little-known episode within the background of dance that illuminates the wider topic of cultural coverage throughout the chilly battle period.
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Additional resources for Dance for export: cultural diplomacy and the Cold War
A counterpoint to the socialist realism imposed on Soviet artists, modern art reinforced an image of the United States as the new leader of the avant-garde, and was said to embody the American spirit of enterprise and individual freedom. 4 Although recent historians have begun to probe the use of art as a weapon in the Cold War, the intersection of dance and diplomacy has thus far eluded scholarly investigation. Few if any scholars of the Cold War mention the dance touring program, and few historians of dance have placed this episode in the broad context of cultural politics.
Page 11 Eisenhower's Fund In a letter written on 27 July 1954 to the House Committee on Appropriations, President Dwight D. " 1 The 83rd Congress approved President Eisenhower's request on August 26; Public Law 663 was passed, and thus the President's Emergency Fund for International Affairs came into existence. S. involvement in international trade fairs; the State Department received $2,250,000 for presentations of American dance, theater, music, and sports abroad; finally the United States Information Agency (USIA), which had been created in 1953, was granted $157,000 to help publicize performing arts and sports events.
In 1954 Eisenhower took action. He went to Congress, and asked for funds to enlist the performing arts in the Cold War. Thus was born the President's Emergency Fund for International Affairs, which underwrote the nation's first cultural export program geared to the performing arts and sent the José Limón Companyits first dance attractionto Latin America in 1954. Eisenhower, who as a general had led the Allied troops to victory in World War II, was now practicing "cultural diplomacy," using the artsrather than bullets, occupying armies, or A-bombsto win friends and influence policy.