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Synopsis

This monograph explores the vexed relationship between popular dance and value. In a critique of the Western art canon, it traces the shifting value systems that underpin popular dance scholarship and considers how different dancing communities articulate multiple and often paradoxical expressions of judgment, significance and worth through their embodied practice. Employing a cultural theory approach, it focuses on the choreographic content of neo-burlesque striptease in London and New York, the dance styles of British punk, metal and ska fans, and the vernacular dances of a British-Caribbean dancehall to interrogate how value is produced, negotiated and re-imagined. Yet this is not to assume that they are autonomous values untouched by the social frameworks in which they exist. Rather, the corporeal enunciations of value constructed by those engaged in popular dance forms are informed by a complex matrix of aesthetic, economic, political and social values already in circulation.

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