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Ballet ClassAn American History$
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Melissa R. Klapper

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190908683

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190908683.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 January 2022

Ballet Bodies

Ballet Bodies

(p.223) 10 Ballet Bodies
Ballet Class

Melissa R. Klapper

Oxford University Press

Dance is a fundamentally embodied art, and the ballet body has always been a contested site. Modern dance pioneers distinguished their fledgling art form by denouncing ballet as unnatural and particularly unsuited for the modern American dancer. Concerns about the pernicious effects of the idealized ballet body, especially on girls and young women, led to sharp medical and psychological concerns that seeped into popular representations of ballet class. Feminist critiques of ballet for supposedly oppressing women gained currency at the end of the twentieth century. Whatever the merits of such critiques, ballet can also be empowering for women in terms of bodily strength and artistic integrity, as seen in the controversial figure of the ballerina.

Keywords:   ballet, bodies, critiques, modern dance, feminism, gender, health, eating disorders

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