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Queer Dance$
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Clare Croft

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199377329

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199377329.001.0001

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The Hysterical Spectator

The Hysterical Spectator

Dancing with Feminists, Nellies, Andro-dykes, and Drag Queens

(p.83) 4 The Hysterical Spectator
Queer Dance

Doran George

Oxford University Press

Looking at select works from Manhattan’s Lower East Side dance scene, this essay analyzes how distinct strategies for staging femininity procure feminist, queer, and transgender viewership. A reading of Jennifer Monson and DD Dorvillier’s diptych RMW(a) & RMW frames the essay, whereby the author emerges as a hysterical spectator who can settle with none of the distinct strategies. Contemporary dance thus becomes a medium through which identity boundaries, and accompanying tensions, as they have historically emerged within feminist, queer, and transgender theorizing, get revealed and transgressed. The examples of dance analyzed are seen sometimes to resolve the tensions and sometimes to reaffirm patriarchal gender asymmetry and exclusionary normative identity. The privileging of the female body, as Western concert dance’s proper vehicle of expression, serves as a point of departure through which femininity’s critical staging in different works is assessed, alongside the identity struggles the dances procure in the hysterical viewer.

Keywords:   feminist, queer, transgender, identity, Lower East Side dance, identity, gender, RMW(a) and RMW

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