Dancing the Politics of Pleasure at the New Orleans Second Line

Author: Rachel Carrico
An inside look at second lining’s importance to community, spirit, freedom, and home
Cloth – $110
Paper – $28
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 10/22/2024
Cloth: 10/22/2024
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About the Book

On many Sundays, Black New Orleanians dance through city streets in Second Lines. These processions invite would-be spectators to join in, grooving to an ambulatory brass band for several hours. Though an increasingly popular attraction for tourists, parading provides the second liners themselves with a potent public expression of Black resistance.

Rachel Carrico examines the parading bodies in motion as a form of negotiating and understanding power. Seeing pleasure as a bodily experience, Carrico reveals how second liners’ moves link joy and liberation, self and communal identities, play and dissent, and reclamations of place. As she shows, dancers’ choices allow them to access the pleasure of reclaiming self and city through motion and rhythm while expanding a sense of the possible in the present and for the future.

In-depth and empathetic, Dancing the Politics of Pleasure at the New Orleans Second Line blends analysis with a chorus of Black voices to reveal an indelible facet of Black culture in the Crescent City.

* This publication was supported in part by the University of Florida Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere (Rothman Endowment).

About the Author

Rachel Carrico is an assistant professor of theatre and dance at the University of Florida.



“A triumphant exploration of dance as public expression of Black culture-in-motion, Dancing the Politics of Pleasure at the New Orleans Second Line combines ethnography and careful historical recovery to theorize pleasure as an urgent valence of collective aesthetic action. Carrico reveals how parading moves Black sovereignty through the streets of New Orleans, modeling defiance and self-actualization as essential aspects of Black social dance.”--Thomas F. DeFrantz, Founding Director, Collegium for African Diaspora Dance