Steps in Time: Dance as Cultural Performance

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Steps in Time: Dance as Cultural Performance

Pejepscot History Center's History Happy Hour, Steps in Time: Dance as Cultural Performance with June Vail.

By Pejepscot History Center

When and where

Date and time

Thursday, May 11 · 5:30 - 7pm EDT


To be announced

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About this event

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Mobile eTicket

Dancing, movement, music, expression. These things are as natural to humans as breathing. Yet within this universal activity there are thousands of varieties all over the world that have developed in conjunction with the societies and peoples who practice them.

In this generously illustrated talk, Bowdoin professor emerita June Vail takes a look at changing attitudes toward Western theatrical and social dance forms and non-Eurocentric traditions.  What are some common assumptions about dance as an art form, social dance, folk dance, religious ritual, and many other forms of human movement? If we think of dances  as cultural performances ―  that they embody, comment on, or challenge certain social norms or aesthetic values ―  does that imply that all dances are “ethnic?” And what does this mean for participants and viewers?

We invite you to join us as we ask these questions and more, thinking about dance in new and exciting ways as part of our 2023 focus Fine / Folk: Critiquing Our Artistic Past.

Tickets: $8 PHC Members; $12 General Admission. Admission price includes a drink and light refreshments.

June Vail (A.B. Connecticut College; MALS Wesleyan University) founded Bowdoin’s dance program and chaired the department of Theater and Dance for many years, teaching courses in modern dance, choreography, and dance ethnography. Her writings have included journalistic dance criticism and academic research, and a book titled Cultural Choreographies (1997.) She has also published two recent books ― a biography, The Passion of Perfection/Gertrude Hitz Burton’s Modern Victorian Life (2017), and a memoir, Folly Cove Sketches/Remembering Virginia Lee Burton.

About the organizer

Pejepscot History Center is a non-profit, educational organization charged with preserving the collective heritage of Brunswick, Harpswell, and Topsham. The Society owns and operates the Joshua L. Chamberlain House Museum and the Skolfield-Whittier House, both of which are open to the public Memorial Day-Columbus Day. For further information please call the Center at 207.729.6606 or find us at

$8 – $12