Professor Emerita

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, she explores issues of gender and dance in the early twentieth-century United States. 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 Society of Dance History Scholars for the best English-language article in dance history and theory.  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 has proceeded in tandem with her work as a performer and historian. Tomko was a founder of and led the Baroque dance troupe “Les Menus Plaisirs,” which appeared in concert at Indiana University’s Early Music Institute, at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, and in connection with the Berkeley Early Music Festival in San Francisco.  She 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.”  For the 2005 production “Elaborate Measures, Performing the Orient” at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, she provided dramaturgy for the dance and acting scenes, also directed and performed with the dancers. In June 2005 she performed as a dancer in the Boston Early Music Festival’s premiere of Johann Mattheson’s early 18th-century opera Boris Goudenow, presented in Boston and at Tanglewood. Tomko directed the dancing for and performed in two different productions with the early music band Musica Pacifica for the 2002 and 2012 Berkeley Early Music Festival.  She wrote the spoken script, directed, and performed in a production with dancers for the 2013 Utrecht Early Music Festival.  For the concerts by USC’s Thornton Baroque Sinfonia “Carnival & Lent, “Les Plaisirs d’Amour,” and “Airs de Cour,” 2014-16, she contributed dance direction for singers and dancers, and her own performances as a dancer; as well she provided stage direction for singers in two opera scenes.  She created, directed and performed in the 2016 production “Twilight of the Sun King,” presented at Culver Center of the Arts in Riverside and at Theatre X at UC Santa Barbara.

With Wendy Hilton, for a number of years, Tomko co-directed the annual Stanford University Summer Workshop in Baroque Dance and its Music. Tomko served from 2002 to 2017 as Editor of Pendragon Press’s Dance & Music book series.

Professor Tomko has a long record of active participation in scholarly organizations. She was President of the Society of Dance History Scholars from 1998 to 2001.  She is a former Treasurer for the Congress on Research in Dance; a former Reviews Editor for Dance Research Journal, which is now a publication of the Dance Studies Association; and a former member of Editorial Boards for SDHS and for the DSA Studies in Dance History book series.  She served as well on CORD Awards committees, on SDHS’s Gertrude Lippincott Award Committee and on the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies’ Traveling Jampot Award committee. For the 2016 Western Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies conference hosted at UC Riverside, she co-chaired the Program committee with Aurora Wolfgang; Tomko also chaired Local Arrangements.


“Considering Causation and Conditions of Possibility: Practitioners and Patrons of New Dance in Progressive-era America.” Reprint. In Rethinking Dance History: Issues and Methodologies, ed. Geraldine Morris and Larraine Nicholas.  2d. ed.  London: Taylor & Francis, 2017, pp. 148-159.

“Theories and ‘Theory’; Considering French Court and Theatre Dance during Louis XIV’s Reign,” in Dance Theory as Afterlives of Ephemeral Dance, ed. Sang Mi Shin. Seoul, Korea: Ewha Woman’s University Press, 2016, pp. 383-400.

“Dance,” historiographical essay, in Oxford Handbook of Opera, ed. Helen Greenwald.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 510-530.

“Framing Turkish Dances,” Music in Art; International Journal for Music Iconography, XXXVI, nos. 1-2 (Spring-Fall 2011): 131-159.

“Harlequin Choreographies: Repetition, Difference, and Representation,” in “The Stage’s Glory”: John Rich 1692-1761, eds.  Berta Joncus and Jeremy Barlow. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2011, pp. 99-118 (+ image Appendix).

“Mr. Isaac’s The Pastorall and Issues of Party.”  In Dance, Spectacle, and the Body Politick: 1250–1750, ed. Jennifer Nevile.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008, pp. 241-263.

“Feminine. Masculine.”  In Dance Discourses:  Key Words in Dance Research, ed. Susanne Franco & Marina Nordera.  London: Routledge, 2007, pp. 101-20.

“Femminile. Maschile.” In I Discorsi Della Danza: Parole Chiave per una Metodologia Della Ricerca, ed. Susanne Franco & Marina Nordera, in collaboration with Centre Nationale de la Danse.  Turin, Italy:  UTET Libreria, 2005, pp. 117-140.

“Teaching Dance History: A Querying Stance as Millennial Strategy,” in Teaching Dance Studies, ed. Judith Chazin-Bennahum.  New York: Routledge, 2005, pp. 91-114.

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

“Choreography as Research: Making the Case on Campus,” in Dance: from the Campus to the Real World (And Back Again), ed. Susanne Callahan.  Publication of the National College Choreography Initiative, Washington, D.C.: Dance/USA, 2005, pp. 38-41.

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

“Dance,” entry in Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History, ed. Mary Kupiec Cayton and Peter Williams. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2001, Vol. 3, “The Arts,” pp. 621-631.

“Positioning Peasants,” in Structures and Metaphors in Baroque Dance, Proceedings of the Conference at the University of Surrey Roehampton, England, March 31, 2001, pp. 1-9.

“Dance Classes,” entry in Girlhood in America, An Encyclopedia, ed. Miriam Forman-Brunell.  Santa Barbara, CA: ABC Clio, 2001, Vol. 1, A-I, pp. 165-174.

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

“Dance Notation and Cultural Agency: A Meditation Spurred by Choreo-graphics,” Dance Research Journal [U.S.]31/1 (Spring 1999): 1-3.

“Beyond Notation,” Part 3 in the entry “Dance Reconstruction,” International Encyclopedia of Dance, Selma Jeanne Cohen, ed.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, Vol. 5, pp. 326-330.

“Issues of Nation in Isaac’s The Union of 1707,” Dance Research [U.K.] 15/2 (Winter 1996): 99-125.

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