A feminist analysis of the role of women in ballet and contemporary dance
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This study is about the role of women in ballet and contemporary dance. It looks at the history of women in both dance styles with existing knowledge to see if the issues presented are still apparent within both dance styles in society today. The aim of this research was to contribute to knowledge and provide a richer understanding of how female dancers view themselves. The participants in the study were five professional female individuals who are and have been performers and now have other roles within both ballet and contemporary dance. They were interviewed individually based on themes identified in the literature to discuss their professional and personal experiences as female dancers. Key ideas were drawn out from each interview and the aim was to focus on the similarities and differences between each of them. Key findings were as follows; since contemporary dance has come into place it has enabled women to feel a lot more equal, it is commercial dance that reflects the social situation on women having sexualised bodies and it has been found that teachers, directors and choreographers have had a better experience within dance than dancers do. These findings have both challenged and reinforced previous research and this study shows that women can and do have a positive experience in dance in certain roles but that this success is not represented throughout the industry.
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