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From The University of Minnesota Press
The People Have Never Stopped Dancing
Native American Modern Dance Histories
By Jacqueline Shea Murphy
296 pp. / 7 x 10 / 29 b&w photos / 2007
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During the past thirty years, Native American dance has emerged as a visible force on concert stages throughout North America. In this first major study of contemporary Native American

"The People Have Never Stopped Dancing is a remarkable journey that celebrates the spirit and resistance of generations of Indigenous dancers and choreographers. As she witnesses and documents recent choreographic works, Jacqueline Shea Murphy reveals a continuum, where ancestral memories meet knowledge and imaginations, while stories of this generation ensure our future."
— Marrie Mumford, Canada Research Chair, Aboriginal Arts and Literature, Trent University

"Murphy does a fine job of challenging stereotypes about American Indian dance and offers the reader new ways to think about the agency of Native dancers’ bodies on stage. "
— Studies in American Indian Literatures

"This text puts a whole new slant on the history of modern dance in America, and for this reason is a wonderful contribution to dance scholarship and essential reading. "
The Drama Review

"Winner of the 2008 de la Torre Bueno Prize for Outstanding Book of the Year and a Choice Outstanding Academic Title."
— de la Torre Bueno
dance, Jacqueline Shea Murphy shows how these performances are at once diverse and connected by common influences.

Demonstrating the complex relationship between Native and modern dance choreography, Shea Murphy delves first into U.S. and Canadian federal policies toward Native performance from the late nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries, revealing the ways in which government sought to curtail ceremonial dancing while actually encouraging staged spectacles, such as those in Buffalo Bill's Wild West shows. She then engages the innovative work of Ted Shawn, Lester Horton, and Martha Graham, highlighting the influence of Native American dance on modern dance in the twentieth century. Shea Murphy moves on to discuss contemporary concert dance initiatives, including Canada's Aboriginal Dance Program and the American Indian Dance Theatre.

Illustrating how Native dance enacts, rather than represents, cultural connections to land, ancestors, and animals, as well as spiritual and political concerns, Shea Murphy challenges stereotypes about American Indian dance and offers new ways of recognizing the agency of bodies on stage.

About Jacqueline Shea Murphy

Jacqueline Shea Murphy is associate professor of dance studies at the University of California, Riverside, and coeditor of Bodies of the Text: Dance as Theory, Literature as Dance.