Exploring National Roots
Twentieth-century American choreographers found inspiration in the expansive landscape of folk culture that included ballads, hymns, spirituals, and the rituals of Native American and African diaspora peoples. They built dances based on the bedrock of America, a nation founded on principles of revolution, protest, reform, and freedom of expression.
Believing in the power of American political reform, dancers protested social injustices between the world wars. During the Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal established the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1935, under which was founded the Federal Theatre Project (FTP). The FTP included a dance unit that became a stand-alone project in 1936. Although the FTP was terminated in 1939, this was the first time the United States government had provided direct funding for the arts.
View all items from Exploring National Roots »