A Game for Dancers examines the difficulties American modern dancers faced as the Cold War took hold and the genre became institutionalized after its pioneering phase. It draws on the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu to explore the interconnections between art and politics while paying close attention to modern dance's ambivalent relationship to the market. At the heart of the book is an inquiry into modernism itself, and how dancers struggled with modernist ideas of abstraction and autonomy while rarely questioning them. Crucial, too, is the issue of embodiment, which appeared to answer modernist skepticism of representation and aid modern dance's elusive pursuit of independence. Subjects include modernist dance theory, the emergence of new constituencies including African-American choreographers, and the work of Merce Cunningham and Alwin Nikolais, whose objectivism was declared a new modern dance vanguard in the 1950s.