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When Men DanceChoreographing Masculinities Across Borders$
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Jennifer Fisher and Anthony Shay

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195386691

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195386691.001.0001

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Maverick Men in Ballet

Maverick Men in Ballet

Rethinking the “Making It Macho” Strategy

(p.31) 1 Maverick Men in Ballet
When Men Dance

Jennifer Fisher

Oxford University Press

Jennifer Fisher provides a history of the “making it macho” strategy for men often employed in the dance world, which has been a response to the prejudices against ballet men throughout the 20th century and beyond. By looking at various rhetorical strategies in dance biography (Shawn, Nureyev, Bruhn), movies (Shall We Dance? The Turning Point), and television (So You Think You Can Dance), it foregrounds the frequency and futility of binary thinking in relation to masculinity as well as femininity when it comes to ballet performance. It references analysis of modern masculinity by Michael Kimmel and George Mosse, as well as dance analysis by Julia Foulkes and Ramsay Burt. It is suggested that, given the challenges for men in the feminized world of ballet, they trade the “macho” moniker for that of “maverick.”

Keywords:   macho, ballet, masculinity, Kimmel, Mosse, Foulkes, Shawn, Nureyev, Bruhn, Burt, maverick, Shall We Dance? The Turning Point, So You Think You Can Dance

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