Skeleton crews in speed-up shifts
clang their iron deaths
and spin a wealth of misery.
Capitalism exploitation. Dancer’s clenched fists. Spoken poem.
Jane Dudleys’ Time is Money is a solo piece she created and performed in 1934. It is danced without music. The title comes from Sol Funaroff’s poem which is uttered during the piece by somebody in the wings. It is about the exploitation of workers. Movements sometimes reflect the images suggested by the poem and, in other cases, as Mark Franko has observed, “the gesture seems to call forth the word.” It is a political piece and the combination of dance and spoken words are particularly effective. Funaroff’s poem is characterised by the onomatopoeic expression “tick-tock” on clock ticking. Its oppressive reiteration recalls the mechanical and monotonous rhythms of assembly lines. The dancer’s pace does not entirely follow that of the poem, for example, towards the end she directly addresses the audience with her body and, in this way, according to Franko, she “appropriates time as essential to the performative economy”.
Mark Franko, The Work of Dance – Labor, Movement, and Identity in the 1930s (
Ellen Graff, Stepping Left – Dance and Politics in New York City, 1928-1942 (Durham: Duke UP, 1997).