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In October 1962, as American citizens were building bomb shelters in their backyards, the New York City Ballet toured the Soviet Union, receiving raving applause from Soviet audiences. The tour is just one example of the many ballet exchanges in the late 1950s and early 1960s between the United States and the Soviet Union. In these acts of cultural diplomacy, ballet companies became ideological weapons, selling their country's achievements to audiences abroad.
Tours such as the New York City Ballet’s 1962 trip have been acknowledged in analyses on cultural diplomacy between the US and Soviet Union in the Cold War for some time but are often limited in scope to only the benefits the State Department sought in such endeavors. This paper seeks to use the 1962 New York City Ballet tour to the Soviet Union as a case study to consider the ways the State Department and American ballet companies mutually exploited one another for separate agendas during this period.
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Naumann, Remy LaRay, "Weaponizing Ballet: An Episode in American Cold War Diplomacy" (2022). Senior Projects Spring 2022. 265.
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