Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Feminist Modernist Studies







Publisher Name

Taylor and Francis Group


This is the first of two special issues of Feminist Modernist Studies dedicated to feminist modernist dance (the second will be Summer, 2022). We have wrestled in our joint editorial work here, as well as in our own work, over the disjunctions embodied in these three terms conjoined. Though feminist scholars have been doing important work in modernist studies for half a century, the term modernism remains mired in gatekeeping canon formations that center white male artists, primarily writers, with few exceptions. The continued need to specify “feminist modernism” signals an exasperating truism that modernism persists in its reliable male-orientation. At the same time, feminist modernist studies struggles with its own rigid canon, rooted in literature despite attempts to be interdisciplinary, and forged around a handful of authors. Dance, an art form in which women dominate, similarly shares a fraught relationship with the term modernism. Dance played a critical role in defining and disseminating modernist aesthetics, occupying center stage for some of our most retold stories about modernism’s rocky relationship with a resistant public, as in the legendarily tumultuous 1913 premiere of the Ballet Russes’ Sacre du Printemps. But as Carrie Preston points out in her introduction to Modernist Cultures’ 2014 special issue on dance, even in this instance where dance provides the occasion for interdisciplinary modernist artistic innovation, the embodied art of the dancers themselves is neglected in critical discussions in favor of attention to the score, the set, and even the impresario. Dance lies at the center of mythologies of modernism and its aesthetics, and yet it is under-acknowledged in contemporary modernist studies.


Author Posting © Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group, 2021. This article has been posted here with the permission of Taylor & Francis Group for personal use. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Feminist Modernist Studies, VOL.4, ISS.3, on (November 8, 2021), available at