Professor Emeriti

Linda J. Tomko is a historian, performer, and embodier of dances past. She holds a Ph.D. in History from UCLA, and she focuses her research in two areas. In the first of these, she explores issues of gender and dance in the early twentieth-century United States. Indiana University Press published her book in this area in 1999 — Dancing Class: Gender, Ethnicity, and Social Divides in American Dance, 1890–1920.

Tomko’s second research focus is the embodiment and theorization of early eighteenth-century French and English court and theatre dances. This proceeds in tandem with her work as a performer and historian. Tomko leads the Baroque dance troupe “Les Menus Plaisirs,” which has appeared in concert at Indiana University’s Early Music Institute, at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, and in connection with the Berkeley Festival in San Francisco. As well, Tomko has performed as a soloist in Japan and the United States. In 1998, she choreographed period-style dances for the Stanford University Music Department’s fully staged production of Dido and Aeneas, a late 17th-century English “opera.” In June 2005 she performed as a dancer in the Boston Early Music Festival’s premiere of Johann Mattheson’s early 18 th-century opera Boris Goudenow, presented in Boston and also at Tanglewood. With Wendy Hilton, for a number of years, she co-directed the annual Stanford University Summer Workshop in Baroque Dance and its Music.

Professor Tomko is active in scholarly dance organizations. She was President of the Society of Dance History Scholars from 1998 to 2001, and is former Reviews Editor of Dance Research Journal, the publication of the Congress on Research in Dance. She is presently editor for the Dance & Music series published by Pendragon Press. Her article “Fete Accompli: Gender, ‘Folk-Dance,’ and Progressive-era Political Ideals in New York City,” published in Corporealities (Routledge, 1996), won the 1996 Gertrude Lippincott Prize awarded by SDHS for the best English-language article in dance history and theory.


Dancing Class: Gender, Ethnicity, and Social Divides in American Dance, 1890-1920Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 1999.

“Fete Accompli: Gender, ‘Folk-Dance’, and Progressive-era Political Ideals in New York City,” in Corporealities: Dancing Knowledge, Culture and Power, ed. Susan L. Foster. New York: Routledge, 1996, pp. 155-176.

“Considering Causation and Condition of Possibility: Practitioners and Patrons of New Dance in Progressive-era America,” in Rethinking Dance History: A Readered. Alexandra Carter. London: Routledge, 2004, pp. 80-93.

“Teaching Dance History: A Querying Stance as Millennial Lens,” in Teaching Dance Studies, ed. Judith Chazin-Bennahum. New York: Routledge, 2005, pp. 91-113.

“Magri’s Grotteschi,” in The Grotesque Dancer on the Eighteenth-Century Stage: Gennaro Magri and His World, eds. Rebecca Harris-Warrick and Bruce Alan Brown. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2005, pp. 151-172.