“Passionate Madonna: The Christian Turn of American Dancer Ruth St. Denis”
LaMothe, Kimerer L. “Passionate Madonna: The Christian Turn of American Dancer Ruth St. Denis.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 66, no. 4 (Winter 1998): 747–69.
LaMothe highlights the famous dancer Ruth St. Denis and how she found theological meaning in her dance informed mainly by Christian Science, but also a few other religious influences, including Isis. St. Denis struggled to justify her love of the physical expression of dance in light of Mary Baker Eddy’s conviction that matter was illusion. She came to see dance as an expression of divine Mind, through the beauty of physical dance and body. She strove “to exonerate dance as a medium of spiritual revelation” (761). St. Denis was particularly focused in her later life on the Mother Mary. She found western Christianity’s obsession with Mary’s virginity as hostile toward sexuality and motherhood, and used dance to renegotiate that view allowing all areas of human embodiment to be places of divine revelation.
Print ISSN: 0002-7189