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Thursday, September 28 • 11:00am - 11:45am
Swing through American History with Mark Matthews

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Social dancing and popular music not only brought American communities together throughout the centuries, but also helped to build a nation by breaking down racial and class barriers. That's what Mark Matthews discovered while researching his series of books  Swinging through American History. European-based dancing such as the western square dance and New England contra dance helped strengthen the underpinnings of colonial and settlement societies, and more recently helped white Americans recover from the traumas of World War II. On the other hand, the degree to which white culture began to appropriate black music and dance mirrored the progress that our country made toward racial desegregation and integration. When white people started dancing like black people, they eventually started interacting with blacks at honky tonks and ballrooms—and even dancing with black partners. Mark will intersperse his outline of the history of social dancing in America with some readings about interesting dance communities throughout the ages including the 19th century transcendentalist Brook Farm commune and Harlem's Savoy Ballroom of the 1940s.

avatar for Mark Matthews

Mark Matthews

Mark Matthews once composed a one-word Artist's Statement for a sculpture exhibit which read: PERSIST! That's basically what Mark has been doing for most of his adult life in order to create various types of art. Since graduating from Brandeis University in 1974, he has published... Read More →

Thursday September 28, 2017 11:00am - 11:45am MDT
Fact & Fiction

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