Dancing to Transform

How Concert Dance Becomes Religious in American Christianity

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Emily Wright
  • Chicago: 
    , May
     240 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


In response to a scarcity of writings on the intersections between dance and Christianity, Dancing to Transform examines the religious lives of American Christians who, despite the historically tenuous place of dance within Christianity, are also professional dancers. 

Through a multi-site study of four professional dance companies, Wright conducted participant-observations and ethnographic interviews with artistic directors, choreographers, and company members who self-identify as Christian. She then analyzed choreography from each company to determine how concert dance becomes religious and what effects danced religious practices have for these participants. Her research reveals that the participants turn what they perceive as secular professional dance into different kinds of religious practices in order to actualize individual and communal religious identities—they dance to transform.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Emily Wright is an independent dancer and scholar based in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is a contributor to the edited volume Fields in Motion: Ethnography in the Worlds of Dance and her work has been published in Dance, Movement & Spiritualities and the Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship.




Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.