Lynch Town By Charles Wiedman Essay

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In 1936, Charles Weidman, a pioneer of the Modern Dance movement, released a performance called “Lynch Town.” The dance reflects Wiedman’s experiences of a mob lynching that he experienced when he was a child, and in a broader context it symbolizes destructive, primitive human instincts. “Lynch Town” is about how humans react when they encounter the actions of hate crime and encourages its viewers to revolt against hate crime; Weidman portrays this social issue that prevails today by using Modern Dance elements such as angularity, forcefulness, and floor work to express the emotions that embody the mob mentality.

In the big picture, “Lynch Town” is about hate crime and mob mentality. More specifically, the dancer “depicts a community hunting an outsider” (Ann Dils). The dancers act as witnesses to a lynching that is going on off the stage, but that is left to the viewer’s imagination. The dancers join the lynching themselves, “buying into the notion that the ludicrous nature of the crime they were committing and observing was justified” (Roosa). Although Weidman’s dance was created in the 1930s, it still highlights today’s “injustice with which a minority group of our population has been treated (Charlesweidman.org)” and the undertones of hate crimes that continue to this day. Historically, lynchings happened tragically in the late 19th
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Each dancer kick and forcefully extends their leg outward multiple times in place within five seconds to show that they are marching towards the scene of the hate crime. Meanwhile, one dancer extends her arm and points very forcefully towards the outsider to make it very clear who their victim is. The dance shows that the group has arrived at the lynching, and it also represents the seductive and intense power of human curiosity: the group’s curiosity is what ultimately brings them to the

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