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Choreographing the Folk: The Dance Stagings of Zora Neale Hurston (Indigenous Americas) Paperback – October 3, 2008

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Book Description

While Zora Neale Hurston and her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God have become widely celebrated, she was also a prolific stage director and choreographer. In the 1930s Hurston produced theatrical concerts that depicted a day in the life of a railroad work camp in Florida and featured a rousing Bahamian Fire Dance as the dramatic finale. In Choreographing the Folk, Anthea Kraut traces the significance and influence of Hurston’s little-known choreographic work.

Hurston’s concerts were concrete illustrations of the “real Negro art theatre” she was eager to establish, and they compellingly demonstrate how she used the arena of performance to advance a nuanced understanding of the black diaspora. Her version of the Fire Dance was staged in a variety of venues during the 1930s. In its multiple representations, Kraut asserts, the dance raised critical issues about ownership, artistry, and authenticity.

Choreographing the Folk argues for the significance of Hurston’s choreography, and with perceptiveness, sensitivity, and originality, Kraut illuminates the important and often-contested place of black folk dance in American culture.

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Product Details

  • Series: Indigenous Americas
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press (October 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816647127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816647125
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,485,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Gabriela Mendoza-garcia on February 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book shares remarkable insights on the choreographic works of Zora Neale Hurston. In her writing, Kraut skillfully recovers the invisibilized history and influences of Zora Neale Hurston's theatrical productions on the American dance scene in the 1930's. Kraut examines the manner in which Hurston utilized the rhetoric of authenticity to promote her stage renderings, distinguish her work from racist images of blackness, critique the commercial market, and negotiate issues of authorship. She also discusses the way in which Hurston navigated power struggles that surrounded her production of The Great Day and provides an in-depth analysis of the concert itself. In so doing, Kraut explores Hurstons' vision of black folk culture, the reception her work, and the racialized dynamics of the 1930's which served to obscure the influence of her work. Wonderful book for all!
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