Representations of masculinity in theatre dance with special reference to British new dance

Burt, Ramsay M. B. (1994) Representations of masculinity in theatre dance with special reference to British new dance. Doctoral thesis, University of Southampton; University of Chichester.

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Abstract

The phenomenon of 'new dance' has received little sustained study, either in terms of its own history or in terms of its efforts to reconstruct the representation of gender in dance. This study assesses the extent to which representations of masculinity in the work of British new dance artists have differed significantly from the ways in which masculinity has been represented in mainstream theatre dance. A theoretical framework is developed for analyzing dance which takes account of theories already in existence and examines them critically from an ideological perspective. Whereas almost all existing dance theories confine their examination of dance as art to an analysis of its formal and aesthetic properties, the framework developed in this study takes account of the social and historical conditions of production and reception of the dance. While there has been recent work on images of women, issues relating to the representation of masculinity in dance have not received attention. This study therefore examines the relationship between the social construction of masculinity and the conventions and traditions through which masculinity is represented in cultural forms including theatre dance. This extends existing theories of the social and historical construction of the male body. In order to establish the context and antecedents of British new dance, representations of masculinity within theatre dance are examined from specific periods between 1840 and the present. An analysis of selected pieces of choreography by new dance artists identifies the ways through which these artists have been critical of, and challenged, dominant norms of representing masculinity in cultural forms. By critically dismantling mainstream dance conventions and problematizing technical virtuosity in male dance, new dance artists brought about a situation in which a new relationship was defined between the dancer's body and the meaning of dance movement. In some cases new dance pieces challenge the spectator to reassess aspects of masculine identity and experience that are generally denied or rendered invisible in mainstream cultural forms.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV1580 Dance
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women > HQ1088 Men
Divisions: Departments > Dance
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Debbie Bogard
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2013 10:33
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2015 09:07
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/946

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