Body Matters: Essays on the Sociology of the Body

By Sue Scott; David Morgan | Go to book overview

Chapter 3

Dance and the Culture of the Body

Joyce Sherlock

Breath-taking moments create the memorable in dance and lend themselves to explanations of dance ability rooted in the metaphysical. Thus, it is not surprising that such explanations are widely taken-for-granted in British theatre dance even though the milieu provides professional work. Dancers, choreographers, critics and audiences commonly share an idealist philosophy which implies that art is outside society and artists' achievements arise from natural talent. This belief is largely unchallenged in much dance study too, for few British studies which emphasize the cultural nature of dance have been undertaken. That the breathtaking moment depends on long and arduous training to become part of the cultural memory of a company is rarely noted. Nor is it considered in movement observation and dance notation, widely employed as starting points for study. Developed to precisely record bodily movements, they perpetuate what has happened in most dance teaching, namely that style has become separated from cultural knowledge so that dance movements are rarely recognized as bearers of cultural values. Concern with step precision and personal skill has perpetuated naturalistic attitudes towards the body overlooking the reality of its social construction and the transformation of the cherished values of a social group into movement imagery. However, once dance movements are read as signifying such cultural values and the responses of different social groups towards them, it is then possible to reveal dimensions of the British way of life mediated through dance.

Contemporary British studies of dance which emphasize the cultural pay oblique attention to the way it and the body relate in dance. Some, featuring dance as part of the way of life of highly visible youth sub-cultures, focus on the 'awkward question' of youth as it has manifest itself to the media and the authorities since the late 1950s. Richard Johnson (1983) referred to 'awkward questions' as aspects of British culture which arouse conflict between social groups. One group's moral objection to the behaviour of another, such as generational conflict resulting from the music, dance and style of youth culture is the stuff of 'awkward questions'. For example, Geoff Mungham (1976) showed how the Mecca Dance Hall was an integral part of the lives of working-class young people in the 1970s. John Fiske and John Hartley (1978) read television's 'Come Dancing' as a text to show how the format of commentary, camera shots and competition, embody codes of meaning. These reaffirmed the ideology

-35-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Body Matters: Essays on the Sociology of the Body
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 148

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.