ABOUT THIS BOOK
Whether in the private parlor, public hall, commercial "dance palace,"
or sleazy dive, dance has long been opposed by those who viewed it as
immoral--more precisely as being a danger to the purity of those who practiced
it, particularly women. In Adversaries of Dance, Ann Wagner presents
a major study of opposition to dance over a period of four centuries in
what is now the United States.
Wagner bases her work on the thesis that the tradition of opposition
to dance "derived from white, male, Protestant clergy and evangelists
who argued from a narrow and selective interpretation of biblical passages,"
and that the opposition thrived when denominational dogma held greater
power over people's lives and when women's social roles were strictly
Central to Wagner's work, which will be welcomed by scholars of both
religion and dance, are issues of gender, race, and socioeconomic status.
"There are no other works that even begin to approach this definitive
accomplishment." --Amanda Porterfield, author of Female
Piety in Puritan New England