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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: growth of dance in America
(Summer-Fall, 1976)

Jacobs, Ellen W.
The dancer: [why everybody suddenly loves dance],   pp. 266-[271] PDF (6.2 MB)

Page [269]

gender, the Women's Movement encouraged
men to allow their emotional sensitivity to
surface, a liberation which also freed them to
appreciate art without fear of raising society's
The male dancer had been traditionally
regarded as a "queer" or "faggot." His
assumed homosexuality assigned him margi-
nal status in a society intolerant of noncon-
formity. Gay Liberation's relatively successful
attempt to take some of the social onus off
homosexuality by arguing it to be an alterna-
tive life style instead of a form of deviant
behavior allowed "straight" men to enjoy
dance without feeling identified with an art
form inhabited by social outcasts. Where ten
years ago I would have found a violinist or
poet seated next to me at a City Ballet per-
formance, now there are salesmen, bankers,
and lawyers, who can drop dancers' names as
easily as they can those of baseball players
or football stars.
The dance explosion also has important
economic roots. In addition to the relatively
recent support from the Mellon, Ford and
Rockefeller foundations, the art has received
significant financial subsidies from both state
and federal sources. It was in 1965 that the
government, most notably the National
Endowment for the Arts and the New York
State Council on the Arts, began to put sig-
nificant amounts of money into dance. It was
a remarkably visionary and sensitive response
to feeling that something was in the air.
Implicit in this much needed financial
encouragement was an official approval of the
art, and a spiritual reassurance that the gov-
ernment was taking dance seriously.
Tzaddik, Eliot Feld, choreographer. Courtesy:
WGBH, Dance for Camera, Boston.

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