Impossible Dance: Club Culture and Queer World-Making / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $6.90
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 68%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $6.90   
  • New (4) from $21.50   
  • Used (5) from $6.90   


"Impossible Dance is a highly accessible, original and engaging account of the complex and often heavily theorized debates around the body, identity and community. Focusing on gay, lesbian and queer club culture in the 1990s New York City, this is the first book to bring together vital issues such as dance culture, queer community, sex culture, HIV identity and politics. Based on four years of field work, the book takes readers on a journey from the streets of New York City into the dance clubs and onto the dance floor. Detailed interviews with club-goers capture their perspectives on how they stage their self-fashioning through dancing. Fiona Buckland argues that such dancing embodies and rehearses a powerful political imagination, laying claim to the space and to one's body as queer."--Publishers Weekly
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Charting the significance of gay and lesbian clubs in the formation of personal identity and community, Buckland, a senior editor at, constructs a history of gay night spaces in Manhattan and uses performance theory and queer theory to explicate their importance. Structuring her argument around the joint propositions that "our lives are defined by the limits of our imagination" and that dancing "is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire," Buckland mixes first-person narratives of club goers with social and cultural theory (from Jergen Habermas, Walter Benjamin and Edward Soja, among others) to look at how the existence and "social production" of queer clubs resist what theorist Michael Warner calls "heteronormativity." Less about a specific identity or community politic, the clubs do what she describes as "world making" "a production in the moment of a space of creative, expressive, and transformative possibilities, which remain fluid and moving by means of the dancing body." Drawing upon a wide range of venues, from the AIDS organization Body Positive's T-Dance for HIV-positive men to Latino dance clubs in Astoria, Queens, Buckland presents a broad cross-section of queer life. Counterpointing this material with critiques of gay demimonde nightlife (by Rudolph Giuliani and conservative homosexuals Andrew Sullivan and Bruce Bawer, among others), Buckland exposes the cultural tensions that both attack and reinforce the need for such gathering places. (Jan.) Forecast: Written in a dense postmodern jargon, Buckland's insightful book will appeal mostly to queer theorists and other academics, but not those looking for exuberant firsthand descriptions of club experience, though Buckland does present her experiences and those of her informants with energy. With Giuliani's term ended, a resurgence in New York underground nightlife is in the air, but this is one for the stacks rather than the club goer's knapsack. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819564986
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 3/4/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 260
  • Sales rank: 1,114,332
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Fiona Buckland holds a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University and a MA in Film and Theatre from Sheffield University. She lives in Berkshire, England, where she is a Senior Editor at
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: Impossible Dance
The Theater of Queer World-Making
The Currency of Fabulousness: Fashioning the Self, Fashioning the Lifeworld
Slaves to the Rhythm? Using Music, Space, Dance, and the Ideas of the Body
The Order of Play: Choreographing Queer Politics
Only When I Lose Myself in Someone Else: Desire, Mimesis and Transcendence
Closer: Crackdown, Community, and the Physicality of Queerness
Mr. Mesa’s Ticket: Memory and Dance at the Body Positive T-Dance
Locations of Clubs Mentioned
How the City Planning Commission of the City of New York Defines “Adult Establishment”
Regulations and Licenses
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)