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The Male Dancer: bodies, spectacle, sexualities/

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In this challenging and lively book, Ramsey Burt examines the representation of masculinity in twentieth century dance. Taking issue with formalist and modernist accounts of dance, which dismiss gender and sexuality as irrelevant, he argues that prejudices against male dancers are rooted in our ideas about the male body and male behavior. Building upon ideas about the gendered gaze developed by film and feminist theorists, Ramsey Burt provides a provocative theory of spectatorship dance. He uses this to examine the work of choreorgraphers like Nijinksy, Graham, and Bausch, while relating their dances to the social, political and artistic contexts in which they were produced. Within these re-readings, he identifies a distinction between institutionalized and modernist dance which evokes an essentialist, heroic ``hypermasculinity''; one which is valorized with reference to nature, heterosexuality and religion, and radical, avant-garde choreography which challenges and disrupts dominant ways of representation of masculinity. The Male Dancer will be essential reading for anyone interested in dance and the cultural construction of gender.

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