Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


American Studies


Charles McGovern

Committee Members

Francesca Sawaya

Joan Gavaler


Through close readings of recorded performances from the most popular music variety shows of the era, this study traces the “cool” aesthetic that dominated 20th century American dance that accompanied music performances, from tap dancers performing with big bands in the early 20th century to Motown’s iconic routines. How did the tight-space, cool movement aesthetics of Cholly Atkins’ vocal choreography, borrowed from the American tap dance tradition and reflected in concurrent forms of popular dance, reflect the cultural politics of the period that are expressed in the music it accompanies, visualizes, and ultimately extends?

Available for download on Sunday, May 09, 2027

On-Campus Access Only