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Dance for Export: Cultural Diplomacy and the Cold War [Paperback]

By Naima Prevots (Author)
Our Price $ 16.96  
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Item Number 93524  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 6.75" Height: 9.75"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 31, 2001
Publisher   Wesleyan
ISBN  0819564648  
EAN  9780819564641  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
At the height of the Cold War in 1954, President Eisenhower inaugurated a program of cultural exchange that sent American dancers and other artists to political "hot spots" overseas. This peacetime gambit by a warrior hero was a resounding success.

Among the artists chosen for international duty were Jose Limon, who led his company on the first government-sponsored tour of South America; Martha Graham, whose famed ensemble crisscrossed southeast Asia; Alvin Ailey, whose company brought audiences to their feet throughout the South Pacific; and George Balanchine, whose New York City Ballet crowned its triumphant visits to Western Europe and Japan with an epoch-making tour of the Soviet Union in 1962. The success of Eisenhower's program of cultural export led directly to the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts and Washington's Kennedy Center.

Naima Prevots draws on an array of previously unexamined sources, including formerly classified State Department documents, congressional committee hearings, and the minutes of the Dance Panel, to reveal the inner workings of "Eisenhower's Program," the complex set of political, fiscal, and artistic interests that shaped it, and the ever-uneasy relationship between government and the arts in the US.


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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Dance as an instrument of foreign policy  Dec 18, 2005
Long a champion of fine arts, Professor Naima Prevots has achieved a tour de force with this book: Dance for Export; Cultural Diplomacy and the Cold War. Here a serious scholar will find stunning reportage on many aspects of dance as a form of performing art. For this present review we can focus advantageously on three aspects: diplomacy, history, aesthetics.

In her "Prologue," Dr. Prevots sets the scene for diplomacy found in international politics during the decade shortly after the end of World War II. The Eisenhower presidency was a period early in the tension between major world powers of that era. Ideology was a matter of central concern for protagonists, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. An impasse of policy was seen in threat analysis focused on mutual assured destruction in nuclear warfare to temper any projection of power. We see an emergence of dance as an instrument of foreign policy for the U.S.

Excellence in writing history is measured in attention to detail as one element and here we see our author's forceful scholarship in action. Important persons in government and art are identified. Events and decisions are identified thoroughly so that we have a source book in politics and management as well as in the structure and content of dance in that era of the Cold War. We have the facts presented in a vivid and flowing style that holds a reader's attention. In this vivid integration of relevant details we have a view with results of probing analysis made coherent from disparate, less known archives.

Dr. Prevots adds to her larger achievement some aesthetic observations to give insight into dance as a form of fine art. She says of Martha Graham's Appalachian Spring: "The work was about love's joys and fears, and about the emotional confrontation between new frontiers and established boundaries." We see here a lead into thematic apperception of this art work. Later our author aptly cites a poem of Walt Whitman to take a theme of "athletic democracy" into a discussion of exporting dance from Native Americans. Dance for Export includes a splendid collection of photographs to heighten the impact of our author's panoramic perspective.

Scholars in many disciplines can learn from this distinctive work. Insights for ethics, politics, management, dance and human nature are produced in abundance. Connoisseurs of foreign policy and dance alike will find much of perennial interest in this work.

Claude Prevots
An eclectic eye

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