Converging Movements: Modern Dance and Jewish Culture at the 92nd Street Y

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Wesleyan University Press, 2000 - 302 pages
The Y located at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue in New York City is the largest and oldest continuously operating YM-YWHA in the US. Many of the most important figures in modern dance premiered on its stage, but until now no one has thought to ask why this should have been so. As Naomi Jackson shows in Converging Movements, the Y's particular conception of Jewishness laid the groundwork for the establishment of a center for dance in the 1930s.

William Kolodney, who served as the Y's education director from 1934 until 1969, expanded its educational and arts programming to include a great deal of nonsectarian material, and as Jackson shows, modern dance epitomized Kolodney's humanistic ideals regarding the uplifting role of the arts.

Together with his dance advisors, most notably Doris Humphrey, John Martin, and Louis Horst, Kolodney oversaw a program characterized by a broad mix of Jewish and non-Jewish performers from Alvin Ailey, Katherine Dunham, and Ruth St. Denis to Anna Sokolow, José Limón, Erick Hawkins, Hanya Holm, Pearl Primus, and national and folk companies from Israel, the Philippines, Russia, Mexico, and elsewhere. Drawing on the Y's extensive archives and illustrated with rare photographs, Jackson's book locates modern dance at the heart of the Jewish encounter with America.

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Converging movements: modern dance and Jewish culture at the 92nd Street Y

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Jackson (dance, Arizona State Univ.) explores the history of the Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue in New York City and its role in establishing ... Read full review


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About the author (2000)

Naomi M. Jackson is Associate Professor in the Department of Dance at Arizona State University.

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