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For the past several years I have taught an advanced writing seminar at New York University's Gallatin School called Writing About Performance. While dance is not the only focus—we write about various forms of live art—it is indeed a central component.
The articles that follow in this section developed out of an improvised dance and papers presented by a panel of scholars based in the United States and the United Kingdom at the Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS) 2008 conference at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs.
In a 1915 editorial of The Ladies Home Journal, social commentator Dorothy Mills pondered the issue of the “woman question,” and in a few vivid sentences summed up much of the public's reaction to women's readjusted place in society during the Progressive era. What was one to make of the fact that women were declaring the right to vote, divorcing their husbands at a greater pace than ever and demanding fulfilling work outside of marriage? Said Mills:
The “New Girl” that some of us proclaim, and many of us don't believe in at all and more of us dread, is not a fantastic creature, a third sex, a superwoman. She is the eternal woman, with her love for man and child her eternal necessity, plus perhaps only one thing: a certain awkward realization of herself as more of a personality, a unit. Do you see how that can be the starting point of an infinite variety of developments, of activities, of theories? (Mills 1915, 3)