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Queer Dance$
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Clare Croft

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199377329

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199377329.001.0001

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Dancing Marines and Pumping Gasoline

Dancing Marines and Pumping Gasoline

Coded Queerness in Depression-Era American Ballet

Chapter:
(p.125) 6 Dancing Marines and Pumping Gasoline
Source:
Queer Dance
Author(s):

Jennifer L. Campbell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199377329.003.0007

This essay offers close readings of two of Depression-era ballets that arts impresario Lincoln Kirstein developed for his troupe The Ballet Caravan. Because of Kirstein’s integrated method of ballet creation, pairings of ballet components, specifically dance and visual art and dance and music, should be closely evaluated for their queer semiotic freight, and so the chapter examines Filling Station and Time Table, teasing out the queering of masculine codes that occurs within these pieces. Furthermore, it argues that in these works the interplay between working-class characters, cartoonish costumes, suggestive choreography, and campy burlesque music alludes to an underlying subtext that reflected aspects of homosexual behavior as practiced in New York during the first half of the twentieth century.

Keywords:   Lincoln Kirstein, Ballet Caravan, Depression-era ballet, Filling Station, Time Table, campy burlesque, masculine codes, suggestive choreography

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