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Anna Sokolow’s Rooms

Title: Anna Sokolow’s Rooms: A Case Study of Dystopic Americana Synthesizing Historical Research, Movement Analysis, and Restaging from Labanotation Score.
Name(s): Patel, Bhumi B., author
Young, Tricia Henry, 1955-, professor directing thesis
Atkins, Jen, committee member
Phillips, Patricia H., committee member
Belman, Rodger, committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Visual Arts, Theatre, and Dance, degree granting college
School of Dance, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2014
Publisher: Florida State University
Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (66 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Cement skyscrapers, the smell of automobile exhaust, turned down faces of strangers. New York City during the Great Depression was at odds with the founding fathers' vision of America as a shining City Upon a Hill. Anna Sokolow's feelings about the modern urban landscape, the deadening isolation that often accompanies it, and its forsaken twentieth century anti-hero inspired her to create her celebrated and influential 1955 piece, Rooms. In this dance, Sokolow explores the uncanny loneliness that can affect those living in close quarters to others, specifically in busy, gritty, urban post-war America. During the first half of the twentieth century dancemakers and artists alike were creating a growing body of work that we can now refer to as Americana. These were works that self-consciously drew upon a wide range of American themes and stereotypes. While the politics and aesthetics of Americana are diverse, including work based on such themes as the American Frontier, and African American heritage, this thesis explores Rooms as a case study of a sub-genre I refer to as Dystopic Americana. This thesis represents the use of the Labanotation score of Rooms and historical research. I begin with introductory and contextual information about the study in general and Rooms specifically, followed by a general definition of Americana. I then explore three broad types of Americana: Mythic America, the African American Experience, and Dystopic America. Sokolow's Rooms is a work of Dystopic Americana. I then go on to explain three major themes characteristic of Dystopic Americana and present in Rooms: the modern, urban landscape, isolation and loneliness, and the anti-hero. From these investigations I draw conclusions about the experience of embodied research and argue for the synthesis of history and dance reconstruction as a model of best practices in the field.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-9227 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis submitted to The School of Dance in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Degree Awarded: Fall Semester, 2014.
Date of Defense: July 8, 2014.
Keywords: American History, Dance, History, Labanotation, Rooms, Sokolow
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Tricia Young, Professor Directing Thesis; Jen Atkins, Committee Member; Patty Phillips, Committee Member; Rodger Belman, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Dance
United States -- History
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Host Institution: FSU

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Patel, B. B. (2014). Anna Sokolow’s Rooms: A Case Study of Dystopic Americana Synthesizing Historical Research, Movement Analysis, and Restaging from Labanotation Score. Retrieved from