Abstract

Dance Theatre of Harlem's staging of its first full-length nineteenth-century ballet, Giselle, necessitated a direct encounter with ballet's iconic whiteness. By transplanting Giselle from its feudal Rhineland setting to the farms of antebellum Louisiana's free people of color, the new production strove to make ballet culturally "relevant" to African Americans while easing the charged conjunction of African American dancing body and European classical ballet technique. Taking its cue from the "Creole" of the Creole Giselle's unofficial title, this essay examines the hazards and opportunities presented by "hybridity" as a mode of racial and cultural negotiation. The Creole Giselle, through the racial coding of its dancers, made visible a paradoxical combination of subjection, remembrance, and virtuosic assertion in performance.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-332X
Print ISSN
0192-2882
Pages
pp. 269-289
Launched on MUSE
2006-07-06
Open Access
No
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