“Dancing Boys to Dancing Men Danicng Their Differences” Using Critical Events, Critical Reflection and (Auto)Biography to Inform Us of the Lives of a Community of Male Dancer/Choreographers.


Boys and men do not dance - it is not perceived as a masculine characteristic or trait in a culture that is deemed masculine. For the boys who grow to men and choose a career as dancers, life can be difficult, problematic and at times traumatic. This is further heightened by their having to negotiate their sexuality and sexual identity. What underlies their process of negotiating into their place of adulthood as male dancers is significant for understanding their sense of being, knowing and living. Seven male dancer/choreographers from Australia and New Zealand reflect critically on their life stories. This recounting and retelling of their stories(social narratives/autobiography)unlocks and unveils the critical incidents that played a significant role in shaping their lives. This paper seeks to identify and analyse(qualitatively)what these events were, why they were perceived as critical and how they shaped their lives as dancer/choregraphers. Critical Incident Technique, critical reflection and(auto)biogarphy were modes of enquiry used in this study. The 7 men were interviewed over a period of two years to obtain the data. The trancribed data(verbatim)was then analsysed to determine the categories. The outcome of this study was to determine the critical elements that assisted these men to negotiate and choreograph their lives of difference, and to help them contextualise their lives in their community of the performing arts - the world of dance.

Author Information
A W Brian De Silva, RMIT University, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: ECAH2014
Stream: Arts - Performing Arts Practices: Theatre

This paper is part of the ECAH2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon