This chapter begins with an overview of La Meri’s life and career and her contribution to the spread of knowledge about different cultures around the world, including world dance and culture. It then discusses her work in relation to modern concerns with theoretical issues—such as appropriation, cultural imposition, orientalism, and so forth—and relates it to concepts that have been investigated in gender and cultural studies. It is important to note that she performed non-Western and Western dances in both Western and non-Western locations. After La Meri settled in the United States, she performed her international repertoire to American audiences, most of whom would have known little or nothing about the foreign cultures where the dances originated. But it’s equally important to understand that both the briefness of La Meri’s actual training in the various dance forms and her minimal or non-existent knowledge of any of the local verbal languages would have limited her understanding of the foreign cultures whose dances she studied, performed, and taught—and about which she wrote.
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