Abstract

Abstract:

Dance plays an important role in Jewish culture, yet it is frequently relegated to the margins of eastern European Jewish performing-arts research. Folk dance documentation is difficult in the best of circumstances, and Yiddish dance poses a particular challenge due to a lack of continuity in its cultural transmission. At the same time, memoirs and literary texts contain many dance descriptions that are designed to entertain readers and inform them about the lives of Yiddish-speaking Jews. This article builds upon literary dance-studies methodologies to make a case for using literary texts in Yiddish dance scholarship. Dance descriptions in works of fiction can help us gain a greater understanding both of the cultural practice of Yiddish dance and the significance of Jewish dance in literature and popular culture. This article pays particular attention to the ways German and Yiddish literary texts depict repertoire, gesture, emotion, and traditional women’s dance style.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2028
Print ISSN
0021-6704
Pages
pp. 102-127
Launched on MUSE
2019-10-19
Open Access
No
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