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Queer Dance$
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Clare Croft

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199377329

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199377329.001.0001

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Queer Spaces in Anna Sokolow’s Rooms

Queer Spaces in Anna Sokolow’s Rooms

Chapter:
(p.145) 7 Queer Spaces in Anna Sokolow’s Rooms
Source:
Queer Dance
Author(s):

Hannah Kosstrin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199377329.003.0008

Celebrated for its themes of postwar alienation, Anna Sokolow’s Rooms (1954) also subverts 1950s expectations for gendered and sexualized bodies onstage. Rooms’ vignettes reveal queerness through dancers’ feelings of isolation and expressions of normative and queer desire, panic, unrequited love, absent lovers, and contemplations of suicide. These queer spaces include moments of homosexual longing and moments of non-conforming heterosexuality that undermine normalcy and lead to a reconsideration of Rooms’ function within early Cold War politics. This essay posits that the tension between queer and universal representation in Rooms invokes the 1950s climate of fear that caused gay people to live closeted lives under the threat of persecution. Through reading Rooms as a queer text within the context of the Lavender Scare, this essay shows how queer lives were central to the general marginalized experience Sokolow presented in this dance, and how through presentations like Rooms queerness defined the 1950s mainstream.

Keywords:   queerness, Anna Sokolow, Cold War, Lavender Scare, Rooms, queer desire, homosexual longing

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