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Challenging conceptions of gender: UK dance teachers’ perceptions of boys and girls in the ballet studio

Clegg, Helen; Owton, Helen and Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn (2018). Challenging conceptions of gender: UK dance teachers’ perceptions of boys and girls in the ballet studio. Research in Dance Education, 19(2) pp. 128–139.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1080/14647893.2017.1391194
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Abstract

In the ‘Western’ world, dance is generally considered a feminised activity and gender traditionally tends to be drawn along binary lines. Traditional notions of idealised gendered bodies in dance are often valorised. Psychologically, girls are expected to be passive, by unquestioningly accepting the instructions of the dance teacher, whereas boys are encouraged to be challenging, energetic and daring. Dance educators have an important role in influencing such attitudes but to date have been under-researched. To understand their perceptions of boys and girls in the dance studio, 10 female dance teachers from across the UK participated in semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed using thematic analysis, from which two key themes emerged: ‘Performing Masculinity’ and ‘Boys’ Challenges to Traditional Dance Pedagaogy’. Within the ballet studio, teachers encouraged the performance of masculinity in boys and femininity in girls. However, there was some reflection by the teachers on such traditional conceptualisations of gendered physicality. Boys were perceived to challenge the traditional, authoritarian pedagogy by not conforming to behavioral expectations of docility. Whilst teachers were found to respond by changing their pedagogy, this paper calls for the use of a model of pedagogy that is gender neutral, fosters creativity and empowers all genders.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2017 Informa UK Limited
ISSN: 1470-1111
Keywords: dance; dance teachers; femininity; gender, masculinity; pedagogy
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport > Childhood, Youth and Sport > Sport & Fitness
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport > Childhood, Youth and Sport
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Childhood Youth and Sport Group (CYSG)
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Item ID: 52228
Depositing User: Helen Owton
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2017 16:29
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2019 16:51
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/52228
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