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date: 27 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines dance and gender issues in western musical films in the United States during the Cold War. It explains that most musical films during this period focused on iconic figures of American identity, especially the cowboy and the frontiersman. The chapter utilizes Victor Turner’s theory of social drama to illuminate the ways that musicals functioned within the context of the Cold War. It reviews some of the most popular works, including Annie Get Your Gun, Calamity Jane, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. This chapter suggests that western musical films reinforced the dominant patriarchal social values regarding gender and family and that the expression of improvisational ingenuity reinforced the gender dichotomy.

Keywords: improvisational, ingenuity, gender, Cold War, westerns, musicals, social drama

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