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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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The Performance of Unmarked Masculinity

The Performance of Unmarked Masculinity

(p.150) 5 The Performance of Unmarked Masculinity
When Men Dance

Ramsay Burt

Oxford University Press

Ramsay Burt interrogates normative definitions of masculinity in ethical perspective by a close reading of two modern dance solos: Joe Goode's performance of his 29 Effeminate Gestures, and Pina Bausch's Der Fensterputzer, performed by Dominique Mercy. Calling on the theoretical concepts of Judith Butler, Peggy Phelan, and Mieke Bal, Burt shows how each solo troubles gender norms by exploiting the power of unmarked masculinity, especially how the breaking up of the binary of “presence” and “absence” can destabilize conventional expectations of performance. Such strategies can draw on history and memory to transform masculinity as a singular ideal into the plural idea of “masculinities,” which are social and cultural performances that change continually.

Keywords:   normative masculinity, unmarked masculinity, ethical perspective, Judith Butler, Peggy Phelan, Joe Goode, Dominique Mercy, presence, absence

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