This innovative textbook applies basic dance history and theory to contemporary popular culture examples in order to examine our own ways of moving in—and through—culture.

By drawing on material relevant to students, Dance in US Popular Culture successfully introduces students to critical thinking around the most personal of terrain: our bodies and our identities. The book asks readers to think about:

  • what embodied knowledge we carry with us and how we can understand history and society through that lens
  • what stereotypes and accompanying expectations are embedded in performance, related to gender and/or race, for instance
  • how such expectations are reinforced, negotiated, challenged, embraced, or rescripted by performers and audiences
  • how readers articulate their own sense of complex identity within the constantly shifting landscape of popular culture, how this shapes an active sense of their everyday lives, and how this can act as a springboard towards dismantling systems of oppression

Through readings, questions, movement analyses, and assignment prompts that take students from computer to nightclub and beyond, Dance in US Popular Culture readers develop their own cultural sense of dance and the moving body’s sociopolitical importance while also determining how dance is fundamentally applicable to their own identity.

This is the ideal textbook for high school and undergraduate students of dance and dance studies in BA and BfA courses, as well as those studying popular culture from interdisciplinary perspectives including cultural studies, media studies, communication studies, theater and performance studies.

Chapter 11 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF at https://www.taylorfrancis.com under a Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY 4.0 license.

chapter |8 pages


part I|63 pages

Popular Dance as Primary Source

chapter |4 pages

Popular Dance Cultural Masters

chapter |4 pages

Do the Hustle

A Saturday Night Reclamation

chapter |8 pages

Bestowing Blessings and Cultivating Community

Lion Dancing in Boston's Chinatown

chapter |4 pages

In the Interest of Health and Cooperation

Women Dancing “The Most Important College Interests”

chapter |4 pages

Resistance in Rhythm

The Shim Sham Shimmy

part II|116 pages

Stereotypes and Spectatorship

chapter |3 pages

Plasticity in Lexus's Black Panther Commercial

Choreographing Blackness as Other through Visual Echoing

chapter |7 pages


Remaking Race

chapter |3 pages

Macho Sensibilities

A Dancer's Autoethnographic Journey

chapter |4 pages

The Nicholas Brothers

Dancing Masculinity in Down Argentine Way (1940)

chapter |3 pages

Manning the Pit

Techniques of White Masculinity in Hardcore Punk Moshing

chapter |7 pages


Channing Tatum, Mimesis, and a Test of Masculinity

chapter 5|13 pages

Femininity and Female Empowerment in Commercial Dance

Shakira and J. Lo at Super Bowl LIV

chapter |3 pages

Subverting Body Ideals

Abject, Tactile Film Style in John Waters's Hairspray

chapter |4 pages

Dancing Girls and Dance Moms

Performing Femininity on the Dance Competition Stage

chapter |6 pages

Toying with Chauvinism

Parody in Anna Nikki's Pole Classique Routine

chapter |4 pages

“Fosse Meets Fetish”

When Fosse Goes (Really) Kinky

chapter |3 pages

Spectacular Choreographies of Epic Proportions

Ricki Starr the Ballet-Dancing Wrestler

chapter |4 pages

Sparkling Subversion

part III|157 pages

Recognitions and Revisions

chapter |4 pages

“Como La Flor”

Selena's Animation of Intersectional Identity

chapter |8 pages

Gender is a Drag

Performing Hybridity on RuPaul's Drag Race's Maxi Challenge “Prancing with the Queens”

chapter |4 pages

“They're the Same Picture”

Repetition as Political Critique in Instagram Dance Memes

chapter |4 pages

“Just Stick to the Flamenco”

Flamenco on NBC's World of Dance

chapter |8 pages

Dancing Doctors and TikTok Meme-ography

Pointing Toward Female Health Access

chapter 9|12 pages

Close Up

Step-Touch in New Orleans Popular Dance

chapter |4 pages

Is He… You Know…

chapter |4 pages

Meghan Trainor's “All About That Bass”

A White Girl's Booty Anthem

chapter |3 pages

New Deal Rhythm

Hollywood Chorus Girls Get Political

chapter |4 pages

“To Exist Is to Survive Unfair Choices”

The OA and Queer Acts of Protest

chapter |4 pages

Orderly Chaos

Moshing in SLC Punk!

chapter 11|13 pages

Popularizing “American-ness”

chapter |4 pages

Experimenting with Lady J

A Trans Take on Drag

chapter |9 pages

Welcome to America

Reassigning Appropriation through Choreography in Soft Power