Murphy, Ann: Dancing on the Rim of Dreams: A Variety Show Starring Five California Dance Pioneers in Five Acts with Prelude, Sagas, Historical Asides and Finale
California entered the national bloodstream in the early days of the Gold Rush and quickly became a mythic place ripe for dreamers, religionists, bigamists, outlaws, failures, utopianists, entrepreneurs, ex-slaves and poets. Tales of the West had been flying East for years, but when word of gold spread in 1849, the stories became a siren call and the settlers heeded it in ever-growing numbers. But for women, the promise of California was far more than the lure of mining enough gold for a down payment on a plot of land. For the bold who went West, California promised an unfettered world and electrifying antidote to the physical servitude of women in the East. Movement both en route and in California became a liberator that not only fed women's suffrage but led to the creation of an indigenous art form developed and nurtured by women: modern dance. By looking at five dance pioneers, Dancing on the Rim of Dreams explores California's role in the evolution of an original American art form.