27 March 2013
Technicalities of Dance
Dance is a universal language that involves exaggerated movements of the arms, legs, and body. With the sound of music, dance is more than just a form of expression. It is a moving portrait embraced by the curtain frame. It is a masterpiece assembled by artfully maneuvered strokes. The strokes don’t belong to that of the painter, but rather the educator who supervised the integration of music and dance. There it hangs on a stage like any other painting on a wall; a moving portrait. However, the many stereotypes formed among the dancers have altered the way some view the performances of dance. Especially in the modern and ballet genres, while the dancers pour their heart and soul into the movements, why does the audiences’ perspective change with a shift from female to male leads? What if the movements just did not meet our standards of liking or fit our taste? Do we enjoy the performance as a whole if there is one odd flaw standing out? I explore the reasons as to why society judges the attributes of dance in such cases as mixed genders, their styles, and the unwillingness to accept it as a sport.
The issues pertaining to gender should not matter in art. Men and women are free to express thoughts and ideas through paintings, and therefore both should be equally free to express themselves through dancing. In Negotiating the Gay Male Stereotype, Katherine M. Polasek believes cultures construct “gender, the body, and movement, restricting both males and females from using and exploring their bodies in ways not deemed gender-appropriate” (Page # and fix how the quote flows with sentence). Some people ridicule males in ballet for wearing tights because it is too “feminine”. On the other hand, when comparing ballet to wrestling, swimming, or football the use of tight pants or Speedos are considered as an attire requirement. Tights enable one to possess ease of movement and less drag friction. However, this does not correspond with sexual stereotypes targeting ballet because many other sports make use of similar tight-fit clothing. The gay stereotype in dance originates from the fact that men who take part in the form of art do not often present competition with other men in fields of sturdy speed and strength. Unlike sports such as basketball, football, soccer, or wrestling, men in ballet are not often looked upon as masculine for their light leaps and smooth swaying movements. Another reason why gay stereotypes exist within ballet would be because gay men actually do ballet alongside women, and ballet still remains more popular among women than men during the 21st century. Due to the amount of stereotypical comments made about the male dancers, “claims for athleticism and technique have been used to downplay the perceived risk and denigration of being identified as homosexual, as well as to justify dancers’ virility and value. Do I need to include this?->Male dancers in school may use playing sports to camouflage homosexuality” (Hanna 223). Even though a male dancer is not gay, observers may sometimes perceive otherwise through movement analysis. For this reason, Polasek’s literature (<analytical) review on the “dancer intention and observer interpretation” aspect is pervasive evidence that gay stereotypes and human sexuality in dance exists. In some culture’s sex segregation, women are only allowed to dance with other women, but dancing of the genders does vary from culture to culture. Polasek’s purpose was to “examine the experiences of the professional male modern and ballet dancers in the United States” (page #). Polasek mainly studied things that dealt with homosexuality within dance and “homophobia within the dance community” (185). It is true in the case that some cultures in Asia do forbid dancing for it is considered distracting or sexual. Most of the time for example, it is certain cultures such as Muslims and even some...
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