Publication Date

April 2018


Yamil Velez, Katja Kolcio


Government, Dance


English (United States)


How art was used as a weapon during the Cold War is a widely ignored subject. Cultural exportation did not only include cars, televisions, kitchen appliances, and refrigerators, but also Robert Rauschenberg, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and jazz improvisation. Dance offered evidence that the United States excelled not just in capitalism but at culture too, and served as a way to demonstrate true democratic values and peacefully win over foreign leaders, diplomats, and individuals during a time of immense conflict. This thesis explores the role cultural diplomacy, specifically dance diplomacy, played during the Cold War in terms of President Eisenhower?s International Cultural Exchange Program, in comparison to how cultural diplomacy is shaped in the twenty-first century in terms of programs such as DanceMotion USASM. The artists exported under Eisenhower?s International Cultural Exchange Program were instrumental in ending the Cold War on terms favorable to the United States and other democratic nations because they combatted the Soviet Union?s portrayal of the United States as materialistic and barbaric by effectively communicating and embodying the value of U.S. culture. In the twenty-first century, artists are exported under DanceMotion USASM to foster stronger international connections and understanding after events in the early 2000s such as Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, and other aggressive responses to terrorist threats caused international opinion of the U.S. to sour.



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