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The Evolution of Aesthetic and Expressive Dance in Boston By Jody Weber ...

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The Evolution of Aesthetic and Expressive Dance in Boston


The early nineteenth century was a highly prosperous and optimistic time in the city of Boston, Massachusetts. The citizens had pledged themselves to the new republic, and many of Boston's successful merchants had taken up political positions to govern the region. Wealth had been established through the shipping industry and would shift and expand to the textile industry, creating an upper class of affluent Bostonians. These citizens sought to develop the eminence of their city in the young country and began to define themselves through culture and higher learning. They believed that wealthy Bostonians who also demonstrated moral superiority had the responsibility of shaping the city's artistic and intellectual communities. An Athenian model appealed to the Bostonians in its references to democracy, high culture, and learning. Such vigor for erudition was remarkable to those who lived in Boston and tourists alike, as one visitor noted in his travel diary: “There is scarcely a night in the year when some lecture is not delivered in Boston. They enjoy a lecture here as people elsewhere enjoy the theater. It is an elegant taste, and, I am sure, productive of good.”1 Although this first inclination