The Dance Dilemma: An Analysis of the Implications of Dance on Soft Power During the Cold War

Anjali Mehta


Many states have used dance as a tool to foster cultural understanding in times of peace as well as in times of tension. This research paper considers the question: why did the United States use dance as an instrument to promote its soft power during the Cold War? In order to critically analyze existing literature and utilize additional research to understand whether US dance diplomacy was the result of the United States’ drive to compete with the USSR for soft power or not, this study considers a case in which both the United States and the Soviet Union sent dance troupes to West Africa. An analysis of this case should shed light on the true reasons for the United States’ use of dance based off of a framework generated by cultural diplomacy scholars.


Dance; Cultural Diplomacy; Cold War; Soviet; Diplomacy

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