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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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Transcending Gender in Ballet's LINES

Transcending Gender in Ballet's LINES

(p.118) 4 Transcending Gender in Ballet's LINES
When Men Dance

Jill Nunes Jensen

Oxford University Press

Through dance and gender analysis, with reference to dance reviews and dancer interviews, Jill Nunes Jensen proposes that the choreography of San Francisco‐based Alonzo King encourages men and women to reevaluate concepts that have historically determined their relationships in traditional ballet pas de deux. Men in King's LINES Ballet company, for instance, escape many of the limitations of a “prince” and supporter identity by showing frailty and emotion, changing their physical relationship to female partners, and dancing with male partners. Although King's dancers may sometimes use traditional partnering protocols (women on pointe, men supporting them), they also often depart from them by exploring “qualities” not attached to fixed roles in conventional narratives and by sharing dance vocabulary, especially in terms of focus, strength, and use of space. Calling on dance theorists such as Ramsay Burt and Michael Gard, and referencing the work of William Forsythe, the author concludes that King's strategies and artistic output complicate gender in the ballet world in a unique way, offering more choice than is usual to both male and female dancers.

Keywords:   gender analysis, Alonzo King, LINES, ballet pas de deux, ballet partnering, ballet prince, Ramsay Burt, Michael Gard, William Forsythe

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