Article Title

Dance and the New Deal


Dance, like all art, acts as an important factor in social change. Dancers and choreographers have frequently sought to challenge the status quo, whether by removing women’s corsets and incorporating natural movements into pieces as Isadora Duncan did, or by creating dances with political subject matter, like in Kurt Jooss’s The Green Table. Despite the clear importance of the arts, securing funding has always been and continues to be an uphill battle. The period of the Great Depression in the 1930s saw huge growth in many artistic spheres through the implementation of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. The art projects and programs of the New Deal acted as a harbinger of the National Endowment for the Arts and laid the foundation for dance to be recognized as its own genre separate from theatre. This paper will explore the history of dance and dance funding, beginning with and focusing on the Federal Theatre and Federal Dance Projects. It will go on to discuss the National Endowment for the Arts and engage with larger ideas about artistic funding.