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The Male Dancer: Bodies, Spectacle, Sexualities
by Ramsay Burt
In this challenging and lively book, Burt examines the representation of masculinity in twentieth century dance. The Male Dancer has proven to be essential reading for anyone interested in dance and the cultural construction of gender.
Hardcover, 233 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Routledge
(first published May 4th 1995)
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This book articulates a lot of what has gotten me interested in dance over the last few months: in a reversal of the usual situation, it is the male and male body that can be put under the focus and scrutiny of the audience, performing to the female and gay male gaze. This study is heavy on theory--predominantly feminist and queer-- and analyzes a number of different figures and movements in 20th century dance, including Nijinsky, Martha Graham, Ted Shawn, Alvin Ailey and a number of contemporar ...more
This is a good read: a very clear and informative work. However, it is limited in its approach to history as a linear, progressive timeline in which men's liberation occurs towards the end of the 20th century. Because history addressed in this book is created mostly by individual choreographers, non-heroic dance makers in the 19th or early 20th centuries were not mentioned as part of theatrical/ performative resistance against conventional ideologies of gender and sexuality.
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“A major assumption that underlies this selection is that it is only within work that is progressive, experimental or avant-garde that staid, old-fashioned images and ideas about gender can be challenged and alternatives imagined. I have never seen a ballet performance that has not disappointed me.”More quotes…