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‘You cannot shake that shimmie here’: producing mobility on the dance floor

[journal article]

Cresswell, Tim

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Abstract This paper examines the regulation of ballroom dancing in England in the first four decades of the 20th century. It demonstrates how various forms of dance considered to be ‘American’, particularly the ‘shimmy’, were labelled as degenerate and threatening, and how the newly formed Imperial Society for Teachers of Dancing and the dance master and band leader Victor Silvester sought to produce a thoroughly regulated and encoded ‘English’ style of ballroom dancing. The paper charts the various strategies of representation and standardization that were used to enact this regulation of corporeal mobility. Theoretically the paper argues for an interpretive approach to bodily movement that considers bodily movement in the context of wider contexts of cultural geographies of mobility. In so doing it contributes to a growing body of work on the politics of mobility in the modern West and, particularly, the cultural politics of dance.
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
Page/Pages p. 55-77
Journal Cultural Geographies, 13 (2006) 1
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)