Andrea Harris

Position title: Senior Open-Topic Fellow (2023-2027)

Pronouns: She/her

Associate Professor, Dance, UW–Madison

This is a photo from the waist up of a smiling woman with shoulder-length brown hair, wearing a black sweater, and leaning against a wide, dark wood windowsill with sunlight coming in.

The Body is an Instrument: Science, the Therapeutic Worldview, and the Beginning of Modern Dance

The Body is an Instrument is the first book to illuminate the therapeutic and scientific origins of modern dance. It locates modern dance within a therapeutic cultural milieu in the context of the rise of industrial capitalism and urban civilization. At the same time, it shows how this therapeutic impulse in early modern dance rested on radical changes in the understanding of the human organism generated by scientific innovations in experimental physiology and its sister field, physiological psychology, in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Highly interdisciplinary and rooted in archival investigation, the book offers a new genealogy of modern dance in which aesthetics, therapeutics, science, and politics become inseparable.

Andrea Harris is the author of Making Ballet American: Modernism Before and Beyond Balanchine (Oxford University Press, 2017), named a 2018 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title. She is also the editor of Before, Between, Beyond: Three Decades of Dance Writing, the most recent collection of the writings of the dance historian Sally Banes. Andrea’s essays on American dance history appear in journals including Dance Research Journal, Dance Chronicle, the Journal of American Drama and Theatre, and Discourses in Dance, as well as chapters in edited volumes.