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Grant number: FB-57615-14

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Lester Tome
Smith College (Northampton, MA 01063-6304)

Cuban Ballet, Cosmopolitan Dancers, and Nationalist Gestures: A Study in Ballet and Globalization

My study of ballet in Cuba is an effort toward writing a global history of the art. It documents the history of the Cuban ballet since the 1960s and elucidates how local dancers have adapted ballet, an art commonly equated with European culture, social elites, white bodies and homosexuality, to the ideology of a nationalist proletarian regime that has promoted racial democracy and homophobic discourse. It examines the aesthetics of choreography that integrates Afro-Cuban folklore, and of a dancing style that reflects the musical and expressive sensibilities of Cuban culture. Also, it analyzes how local dancers contest alleged notions of a center and a periphery in the international ballet establishment. This research illuminates the intersection between ballet, culture and politics; explains cosmopolitan, nationalist and postcolonial trends in Cuba's cultural production; and contributes knowledge of the history and transformation of ballet beyond European and Euro-American contexts.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
Dance History and Criticism; Latin American History; Latin American Studies

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2014 – 5/31/2015