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Mass Dance By Warden, Claire

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM1242-1
Published: 01/10/2016
Retrieved: 30 May 2023, from


The early years of the twentieth century saw a proliferation of mass spectacles and events on a grand scale with thousands of participants, which frequently included non-professional performers. These spectacles often re-enacted historical events (Paterson Strike Pageant, The Storming of the Winter Palace) or celebrated technological innovations or national achievements (18BL, Olympic Youth). Performances crossed both geographical and political borders, were encouraged by parties from across the political spectrum, and took place in a range of countries including Germany, Italy, Russia and the US. The aim of these mass spectacles was to unite a crowd, which could number in the thousands, behind a particular historical, political or social position or idea. By attempting to unite a majority, these performances often ignored, isolated or marginalized others. Dance and movement techniques were at the very forefront of this genre of performance. The body became a central motif, functioning as an emblem of political emancipation, ethnic superiority, nostalgic tradition and/or a mechanized symbol of modernity.

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Citing this article:

Warden, Claire. "Mass Dance ." The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. : Taylor and Francis, 2016. Date Accessed 30 May. 2023 doi:10.4324/9781135000356-REM1242-1

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