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Title: Men in dance : undoing gender, challenging heterosexual hegemony and the limits of transgression
Author: Christofidou, Andria
ISNI:       0000 0004 6353 1853
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2017
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This is a sociological study of gender and sexualities in the context of professional dance in Scotland. Since the 19th century, dance became associated with women, femininity, male effeminacy and male homosexuality. Considering the cultural attachments dance has acquired, this thesis sets to explore the conditions that influence men’s involvement in dance; the ways that different spaces, processes and relations within dance institutions in Scotland influence the negotiations of gender and sexuality; and the ways that male dancers negotiate their practice of dance and the gendered attachments this has. The discussions that unfold in this thesis rely on interview and observation data. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 28 men professionally involved in the performance and/or production of dance in Scotland. Further, observation was conducted in four dance institutions in Scotland: Scottish Ballet, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and two small-scale, project-based contemporary dance companies which are in this thesis named as Kinesis and Chorotheatro. This study’s findings suggest that men’s involvement in dance is mainly influenced by their social location, familial background and parents’ involvement in, and familiarity with, cultural practices. These conditions affect the time, as well as ways, they will become introduced to dance. Further, this study’s findings suggest that precisely because of the attachments dance has acquired through time, dance institutions are experienced as safe spaces where male dancers can problematise gender norms and challenge heterosexual hegemony. Yet, as this thesis demonstrates, there are tensions as we move between ballet and contemporary dance, and as we shift our attention from onstage performances to backstage practices. Lastly, this study’s findings suggest that male dancers are likely to ‘normalise’ their involvement in this practice by emphasising dance’s conventionally masculine qualities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: HM Sociology