Stigma and Perseverance in the Lives of Boys Who Dance: An Empirical Study of Male Identities in Western Theatrical Dance Training

Author: Risner, Doug
Year:2009
Pages:216
ISBN:0-7734-4661-3
978-0-7734-4661-8
Price:199.95
This study investigates the competitive world of pre-professional Western concert dance training and education in the U.S. as experienced and lived by boys and young men, an under-represented population in the field. This work examines the discourses of professional dance preparation through theoretical and narrative approaches that combine to illuminate the highly gendered professional dance world as evidenced through the minds and bodies of male adolescents and young adults.

Reviews

“Risner’s book is particularly valuable because it places questions about identities squarely on the agenda for dance teachers and instructors, and brings together critical and pedagogical theories in ways that will greatly benefit those active in the field. Dance students and teachers alike will all benefit from its findings and from the future work which it will hopefully encourage others to pursue.” – Prof. Ramsay Burt, De Montfort University

“. . . should be required reading for undergraduate or graduate university dance majors intending to teach dance or to understand the obvious social dynamics of their own studio, performance and classroom environments. Administrators, charged to promote a safe haven for ethnic, social, and gender diversity in dance and the arts, will reference Risner’s call to action to support the development of dance curricula as an art form of equal value for males and females.” – Prof. Myron H. Nadel, University of Texas at El Paso

“. . . points out the prevailing fallacy among dance educators and administrators that more boys will be drawn to dance if it is marketed as a competitive, sports-like and “masculine” activity. He has discovered that heterosexual boys who study dance recognize the fact that dance is fundamentally not like competitive sports, and that most boys—like most girls—value the opportunities for self-expression and creativity that dance uniquely provides.”– Prof. Bill Evans, State University of New York at Brockport

" . . .an essential resource for those with a connection to pre-professional male dancers." –Dance Teacher Magazine

"By applying the the process of socialization to young dancers, the author is able to successfully bridge dance education and social issues of gender and sexuality while intending to increase readers' sensitivity to the complexity of the dance area." - Men and Masculinities

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Why Do Boys Dance?
Revisiting the Open Secret
Organization of Book
1. Dance is for Girls: Social Construction of Gender and the Feminization of Dance
Social Issues in Education
Conceptual Frameworks
Dance Education and Gender Perspectives
Social Construction of Gender
Feminist Perspectives in Dance Education
Critical Feminist Pedagogy
Schooling for Gender and Sexuality
Intersections of Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality
Challenging Traditional Masculinity
2. What We Know About Boys Who Dance
Masculinity and Dance Education
Gendered Identity in Dance
Rehearsing Heterosexual Masculinity in Dance Education
Challenging the ‘Boy Code’
Current Research
Dominant Masculinity and Gay Males in Dance
Vulnerable Male Youth
Preliminary Conclusions
3. Boys Dancing in a Heterocentric Culture
Research, Pedagogy and Social Issues
Gay and Lesbian Issues in Education
Confronting Difference and Hate
Heterosexism and Homophobia
Young, Gay and Murdered
Humanizing Pedagogy
4. A Study of Boys and Young Adult Males in Pre-professional Dance Training in the United States
Background and Significance
Research Design
Methods and Procedures
Survey
Interviews
Participant Population
Population Description
Evaluation of Outcomes
Findings
Stigma and Social Isolation
Social Support for Males in Dance
Motivation and Meaning
Masculinity and Sexual Orientation
5. Understanding Boys’ Dancing Lives
Lives of Stigma in a Socially Isolated World
The Significance of Social Support
Meaning and Perseverance in Dancing Boys’ Lives
Summary: Disrupting “Boys will be boys” Discourses
6. Confronting the Challenges of Boys’ Lives in Dance
Educational Implications
Supporting Males in the Dance Studio and Classroom
Supporting Males through Administrative Leadership
Theoretical Underpinnings for Educators and Administrators
Implications for Parents and Family
Theoretical Underpinnings for Families
Social Implications
Changing Culture, Preparing Professionals: Possibilities for Post-Secondary Dance
Professionalization of Dance and Alignment with the Arts in Academe
Bibliography
Index