Rhythms of resurrection: The comebacks of Ruth St. Denis
Ruth St. Denis (1879–1968) had one of the first and longest careers as a professional modern dancer. At age 62, she embarked on a “comeback” that lasted nearly three decades, appearing on stage and screen in the dances that had made her an international star earlier in her career. This essay examines the relationship between her well-known “Orientalism,” her feminism, her spirituality, and her perspective on aging and ageism. In particular, it brings into relief her innovative efforts to redefine dance as a feminist project at the intersection of aging and modern dance history. St. Denis converted “oriental tradition” into a feminist dance praxis, thus, staking a claim for the aging dancer under the banner of feminist politics.
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