Glamour Addiction: Inside the American Ballroom Dance Industry

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In the wake of the blockbuster television success of “Dancing with the Stars,” competitive ballroom dance has become a subject of new fascination—and renewed scrutiny. Known by its practitioners as DanceSport, ballroom is a significant dance form and a fascinating cultural phenomenon. In this first in-depth study of the sport, dancer and dance historian Juliet McMains explores the “Glamour Machine” that drives the thriving industry, delving into both the pleasures and perils of its seductions. She further explores the broader social issues invoked in American DanceSport: representation of “Latin,” economics that often foster inequality, and issues of identity, including gender, race, class, and sexuality.

Putting ballroom dance in the larger contexts of culture and history, Glamour Addiction makes an important contribution to dance studies, while giving new and veteran enthusiasts a unique and unprecedented glimpse behind the scenes.

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What People Are Saying

Ann Dils
"The only book I know that explores the contemporary practice of ballroom dancing and its professional manifestation, DanceSport. It is a significant contribution to the literature in dance studies and gender and sexuality studies."
Ann Dils, associate professor, Department of Dance, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
Ann Dils
“The only book I know that explores the contemporary practice of ballroom dancing and its professional manifestation, DanceSport. It is a significant contribution to the literature in dance studies and gender and sexuality studies.”
Julie Malnig
“The world of competitive ballroom dance is a significant dance and cultural phenomenon that no one has yet explored in depth. This book is important to our continued understanding of popular and social dance forms.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819567741
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 11/17/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 7.24 (w) x 10.24 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

JULIET MCMAINS is the director of Dance Addiction, an independent ballroom dance studio in Orlando. She is associate faculty at the University of Central Florida, and has taught at Florida State University. As a DanceSport competitor, she has twice been a U.S. National Rising Star finalist and has won professional competitions in the U.S. and Canada.

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Table of Contents

The Glamour Machine
Representations of Social Dance: A Genealogy of Improvisation
Brownface: Representations of Latinness in Latin Dance
Exceeding the Limits of Competition: Innovations in Theatrical Ballroom DANCE

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2011

    Re: Insulted

    Not to worry. The author will one day also be 50 or more and shunned on the dance floor.

    This industry is very abusive, and takes horrible advantage of people who just want to learn something new and have fun doing it. As someone who was in it very deeply, I can say from experience that dancesport is a real mess and needs to be overhauled entirely.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2007

    Insulted by the book

    I was very insulted by this book. I am one of the 50-something, slightly overweight, financially stable women ballroom dancers that the author refers to as 'grotesque'. In addition to being upset about being insulted, I seriously object to the pedantic and condescending writing style and the use of words that require 800 on the verbal SATs to comprehend. I am not sure what Ms. McMains was trying to prove since she clearly still earns her income from this profession but it was a mystery to me. I have personally worked very hard to achieve financial stability. I have no interest in my coach other than dancing and I do not feel taken advantage of by the studio or coach. Dancing gives me a joy that I do not experience through any other outlet and I object to being called 'grotesque'.

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  • Posted January 22, 2009

    behind the scenes of ballroom dancing contests

    Competitive ballroom dancing producing a 'machine' the author labels 'Glamour' has been around a long time. The change in its name to DanceSport in the 1980s tokened the effects several influences were having on it. Mainly, the new name was taken to give more visibility to the movement for this competitive dancing to become an Olympic sport. A former DanceSport competitor and now an assistant professor in the U. of Washington's dance program, McMains relates how such dancing has developed an 'identity crisis' in trying to keep its aspects of art, entertainment, sport, and business in balance. As many readers will know, competitive dancing TV shows have lately become highly popular. McMains not only goes into what is behind the changes over recent decades and the current popularity of DanceSport, but also from her own experiences, continuing interest in the field, and profiles of a number of leading competitive dancers gives readers an up-to-date, extensive picture of this longtime activity drawing passionate competitors and devotees which has recently burst into the arena of popular culture.

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