When Men Dance: Choreogrpahing Masculinities Across Borders

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While dance has always been as demanding as contact sports, intuitive boundaries distinguish the two forms of performance for men. Dance is often regarded as a feminine activity, and men who dance are frequently stereotyped as suspect, gay, or somehow unnatural. But what really happens when men dance?

When Men Dance offers a progressive vision that boldly articulates double-standards in gender construction within dance and brings hidden histories to light in a globalized debate. A first of its kind, this trenchant look at the stereotypes and realities of male dancing brings together contributions from leading and rising scholars of dance from around the world to explore what happens when men dance. The dancing male body emerges in its many contexts, from the ballet, modern, and popular dance worlds to stages in Georgian and Victorian England, Weimar Germany, India and the Middle East. The men who dance and those who analyze them tell stories that will be both familiar and surprising for insiders and outsiders alike.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An intriguing, readable book about how, why, when, and where men dance...Highly recommended." —Choice

"When Men Dance is an eclectic collection of essays and personal narratives comparing the experiences of male dancers across a wide array of historical and cultural contexts. While the volume includes work by some leading scholars in the field, it also reaches out to the non-specialist, asking in both complex and heartfelt ways how masculinity is performed through movement."-Barbara Browning, New York University and author, Infectious Rhythm: Metaphors of Contagion and the Spread of African Culture (1998)

"Here at last is a richly diverse and compelling anthology that challenges any previously homogeneous notions of men in dance. Gathered in these pages are a range of perspectives that are at once so informative and so personal that they will forever change how you see male dancers and roles danced by men."-Naomi Jackson, Arizona State University and author, Converging Movements: Modern Dance and Jewish Culture at the 92nd Street Y (2000)

"This collection examines the experiences and stereotypes of men who dance by interweaving new scholarly essays with a cross section of related personal accounts. The result is a tapestry of diverse thinking which will become a key resource for dance and gender studies."—Selma Odom, Professor of Dance, York University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195386691
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/7/2009
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Fisher is Associate Professor of Dance, University of California - Irvine, and author of Nutcracker Nation: How an Old World Ballet Became a Christmas Tradition in the New World (2003).

Anthony Shay is Assistant Professor of Dance and Cultural Studies at Pomona College and author or editor of several books, including Choreographic Politics: State Folk Dance Ensembles, Representation, and Power (2003).

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Table of Contents


1. Maverick Men in Ballet: Rethinking the "Making it Macho" Strategy
Jennifer Fisher

Kristopher Wojtera
Aaron Cota

2. What We Know About Boys Who Dance: The Limitations of Contemporary Masculinity and Dance Education
Doug Risner

David Allan and Michel Gervais

3. Is Dance a Man's Sport Too? The Performance of Athletic-Coded Masculinity on the Concert Dance Stage
Maura Keefe

Fred Strickler
Rennie Harris

4. Transcending Gender in Ballet's LINES
Jill Nunes Jensen

Christian Burns

5. The Performance of Unmarked Masculinity
Ramsay Burt

Donald McKayle
John Pennington

6. Pricked Dances: The Spectator, Dance, and Masculinity in Early 18th Century England
John Bryce Jordan

Seth Williams

7. Gender Trumps Race? Cross-dressing in Early Blackface Minstrelsy
Stephen Johnson

Paul Babiak: Diary of "Channeling Juba" Rehearsals

8. Ausdruckstanz, Worker's Culture and Masculinity in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s
Yvonne Hardt

Hellmut Gottschild

9. Invented Hypermasculinity: Colonial Influences on Dance Styles in Egypt, Iran, and Uzbekistan
Anthony Shay


10. Native Motion and Imperial Emotion: Male Performers of the 'Orient' and the Politics of the Imperial Gaze
Stavros Stavrou Karayanni

Namus Zokhrabov

11. Ibrahim Farrah: Dancer, Teacher, Choreographer, Publisher
Barbara Sellers-Young

Saleem Azouka

12. From Gynemimesis to Hyper-Masculinity: The Shifting Orientations of Male Performers of South Indian Court Dance
Hari Krishnan

Naatyaachaarya V.P. Dhananjayan
Arun Mathai

Appendix A: Notes on Personal Histories
Notes on contributors

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