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When Is Contemporary Dance?

Abstract

This article interrogates the multivalent understandings of the term “contemporary dance” in concert, commercial, and world dance contexts. I argue that placing multiple uses of the term “contemporary” alongside one another can provide insight into the ways that “high art” dance, popular dance, and non-Western dance are increasingly wrapped up with each other and, at the same time, the ways that their separations reveal our artistic, cultural, and political prejudices, as well as the forces of the market.

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