Title

The Choreography of Gender

SMC Author

Allison Yamanashi Leib - Student Robert Bulman - faculty

SMC Affiliated Work

1

Author Role

co-authors

Status

Faculty

School

School of Liberal Arts

Department

Sociology

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-21-2007

Publication Title

Masculinity, Femininity, and the Complex Dance of Identity in the Ballroom

Description/Abstract

The popularity of ballroom dance has ebbed and flowed over the years. In this article we argue that the attitude Americans have toward ballroom dance reflects society’s acceptance and rejection of different expressions of femininity and masculinity. Although ballroom dance is predicated on rigid gender roles, its popularity has increased in the United States over the past few years. We use in-depth interviews and participant observation to explore how modern ballroom dancers express their masculinity and femininity on and off the dance floor. We find that men and women construct complex gender identities that are both traditional and progressive. Some are creating gender identities incorporating traditional and nontraditional traits. Our interviewees reinforced this gender complexity and showed that no one is bound to one standard of masculinity or femininity. Rather, each person is free to choreograph his or her own gender identity.

Keywords

dance, ballroom dance, masculinity, femininity, gender identify, sexuality

DOI

10.1177/1097184X07306730 Article information

Volume

11

Issue

5

First Page

602

Last Page

621

Disciplines

Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

Original Citation

Leib, Allison Yamanashi and Robert C. Bulman. 2009. “The Choreography of Gender.” Men & Masculinities. 11 (5): 602-621.

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