Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 10 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter seeks to recuperate the dance legacies in Saturday Night Fever (1977) through a choreographic and cinematographic analysis of the film’s dance sequences. The ways the camera centralizes racialized, dancing bodies offers a perhaps accidental acknowledgement of the debt owed to black dancers. Centered around John Travolta’s Italian-American character Tony Manero living in a homogeneous Brooklyn neighborhood—where blacks were (and continue to be) unwelcome—Saturday Night Fever paradoxically exposes and pays tribute to the black roots of the screendancing. Travolta’s training for the film uncovers a complex dance history that reflects significant interracial contact behind the scenes as well as between and within singular bodies. There was interracial mixing in the backgrounds of the film’s top-billed choreographer, Lester Wilson, and Travolta’s uncredited dance instructor, Deney Terrio, and the modern, jazz, and street dance roots of the choreography shifts the film into a history of American concert and commercial dance practice.

Keywords: Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta, screendance, choreography, interracial, Lester Wilson, Deney Terrio, street dance, commercial dance

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.