Anne Flynn talked about the different purposes dance can be used for, such as expressing independence, empowerment, and social change. The examples Flynn used were dance and race, dance and feminism, as well as dance and health. Flynn’s example of dance and feminism specifically shows just the statement dance can make. It represented how dance inspired societal change throughout an entire culture; it helped reshape societal norms from the 1920s and on.
In the first wave of the women’s movement, women began to replace couple dances like the foxtrot and the tango with the Charleston. This was iconic for women because it allowed them to express their empowerment, individuality, and independence whilst breaking free from relying on men to dance with them. For some time, Charleston became a frowned upon dance and was banned for reasons like health risks and building safety.
In reality, the ban on Charleston was just another way to oppress women from being able to not only move freely but act freely on a day-to-day basis. The physical freedom of dance inspired many women to have bobbed hair cuts, wear shorter skirts, and normalize individuality. A statement from the San Francisco Dance Film Festival called “Merely Marvelous” is another statement piece.
The film is a story of how dance was the biggest influence in Gwen Verdon’s life and how she used her connection with dance and movement to change the face of Broadway choreography for the next several years. She overcame many obstacles on her way to success but would stop for nothing and no one to be one of the best Broadway dancers anyone has seen.