“For much of the twentieth century the dance world has tended to be predominantly dominated by females” (Burt, 1953, p.12): to what extent is the gendered space of movement problematic territory for the male dancer?

Hathaway, Vicki Louise (2012) “For much of the twentieth century the dance world has tended to be predominantly dominated by females” (Burt, 1953, p.12): to what extent is the gendered space of movement problematic territory for the male dancer? BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    The focus of this research lies in gender studies and Judith Butler’s concept of gender ‘performativity’, with particular attention to the relevance this has for the male dancer. Through her notion of gender performativity Butler attempts to combat stereotypical views with regard to sex and gender and argues that while sex is a biological inheritance, gender is constructed through our own social acts and attitudes. This draws attention to the clear distinctions society has made between male and female and illustrates that the dualistic gender binary system upon which our society is founded, is problematic. This study is an important one due to the androgynous nature of the male dancer and the gender ambiguity that continually surround dance as a mode of performance. It would appear that the problem with dance is that on the whole, it is recognised as being a space that is traditionally dominated by females meaning that questions are frequently raised surrounding the sexual orientation and gender identities of men who choose to dance. This is something that I have aimed to contest within this dissertation. The investigation will explore differing modes of dance, specifically ballet and musical theatre and will examine the significance of stars from these genres including Rudolf Nureyev, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. The thesis will outline the various attempts there have been to overcome this gender ambiguity and will scrutinise the success of these with regard to redefining gender. It will conclude by demonstrating that the gendered space of dance is problematic territory for male dancers and will illustrate that while social attitudes toward the male dancer may define how he performs on stage; these attitudes are often biased and based on stereotypical preconceptions which are a result of social conditioning.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2014 15:06
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:32
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/14050

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