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Dancing in the English StyleConsumption, Americanisation and National Identity in Britain, 1918-50$
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Allison Abra

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781784994334

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784994334.001.0001

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Dancing democracy in wartime Britain

Dancing democracy in wartime Britain

(p.208) 7 Dancing democracy in wartime Britain
Dancing in the English Style

Allison Abra

Manchester University Press

This chapter explores the representation and experience of popular dance during the Second World War. It demonstrates that dancing provided a potent means for producers and consumers alike to express and embody many of the ideals associated with the ‘people’s war’, such as cheerful endurance, grace under fire, and social and imperial unity. Dancing also became synonymous and expressive of democracy, and differentiated Britain from its enemies. At the same time, commercial producers – but especially the dance hall industry – re-packaged patriotism as a way of staying in business, utilising war-themed promotions and causes to attract patrons, or advertising their ballrooms as bomb shelters.

Keywords:   People’s War, National identity, Blitz, Dancing, Women, Race, Commodification

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