Worship and Music - Ethnomusicology
Master of Arts (MA)
American, dance, drill, military, war
American Studies | Ethnomusicology | Military History | United States History
Slade, Colin, "Never Give a Sword to a Man Who Can't Dance" (2014). Masters Theses. 342.
War dances have long been a powerful means of preparing warriors for combat or the intimidation of an enemy, but they are also used in the ceremonial supplication of deity or celebration of victory. They are a fundamental artifact of many cultures throughout the world. Nevertheless, the United States of America boasts the most powerful military in history, yet it lacks a war dance. This is valid until one accepts a simple truth; military drill is a dance. However, Americans would object to such a proposition even though they have adopted and adapted military drill as their own, describe it in terms related to dance, and are inspired by its aestheticized performance. Thus arises the semiotic discussion about the purposes of military drill in American culture and what the nation stands to gain from understanding military drill for what it truly is--an American war dance.