When men dance: Exploring communities of privilege and cultural resistance in dance education, D Risner, F Curry, B Munisteri, J Rebudal

Tags: Dance Education, Conference Proceedings, Community Building, New York, masculinity, Dance Research Journal, Risner D, dance educators, dancers, Critical social issues, dance student, Physical Education Review, Sex Education, dance educator, dance studio, dance profession, Dance Magazine, male dancers, panel presentation, Wayne State University, hegemonic masculinity, intellectual activity, gay male dancer, the American Dance Festival, Frederick Curry, Maggie Allesee Department of Dance, New York University, administrative authority, Community Building Research, National Broadcasting Company, unwitting participation, Physical Education, Higher Education Arts Data Services, York University, Risner, Dance International Research, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, National Performance Network, stigmatization, National Dance Education Organization, Journal of Dance Education, National Association of Schools of Dance, National Endowment for Arts, Indiana University, Iowa State University, Weber State University, artistic director, professional choreographer, Jeff Rebudal, Dance Festival, Winona State University, Journal of Physical Education, Cultural Resistance, sexual orientation, dance professionals, modern dance, Doug Risner, dance training, National Dance Project, North Carolina Department of Public Education, MFA Assistant Professor, Luther College, Jeff Michael Rebudal, Trollwood Performing Arts School, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Adelphi University, Rebudal Dance, Western Illinois University, North Carolina Dance Festival, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
Content: NDEO 2007 Conference Proceedings
Focus on Dance Education: Community Building
Panel Presentation When Men Dance: Exploring Communities of Privilege & Cultural Resistance in Dance Education Doug Risner, PhD; Frederick Curry, MA; Ben Munisteri, MA; Jeff Rebudal, MA; Raymond Robinson, MFA; Edward Warburton, EdD ABSTRACT: This panel presentation explores dance education experiences of boys and men as a form of cultural resistance and as an important means for sharing a more common humanity through movement and expression. Recent discourses on male youth in dance indicate prevailing social stigmatization, heteronormative assumptions, narrow definitions of masculinity, heterosexist justifications for males in dance, and internalized homophobia in the field. For those boys and young males in dance education however, choosing to dance may be seen as an important vehicle for challenging dominant notions about gender, privilege, sexual orientation, and the body. The ways in which male youth confront heterocentric bias, gender norms, and gendered bodies, as well as peer pressure and dominant cultural ideology are explored by a diverse panel of male dance professionals. The panel presentation focuses on key social and community questions of affirmation, difference, physical pleasure, and marginalization. Recent research in dance education and Physical Education has begun to explore the ways in which hegemonic masculinity (as an institution) can be challenged through the participation and experiences of boys and male youth in dance. Central to this work is the notion that dance education may serve as an important means for disrupting dominant cultural assumptions about acceptable ways of moving for males and to challenge cultural stereotypes about male dancers and non-heterosexual modes of sexuality. Obviously, this is not to say that all boys and young men in dance consciously enter the dance studio with the intention of challenging dominant paradigms of masculinity. Nor can it be denied that some males in dance reaffirm narrow definitions of masculinity and heterosexism through their actions and discourses. Rather, this area of research suggests that the experiences of males in dance education can provide powerful insights into hegemonic assumptions about dance, gender and sexuality, as well as dominant codes that govern all the former. While we have little doubt that the physical nature of dance is commensurate with that of football or soccer, we are concerned about discourses that colonialize dance with the intention of making dance more accessible and palatable. Dominant discourses often justify male participation in dance with strategies and testimonials that clearly serve to buttress homophobic stereotypes. This panel presentation seeks to explore the male population experience of community in dance education and to theorize about a complicated community that is both privileged (as male, often white) and marginalized (as gay, bisexual, non-white, dancers, artists). Constructing an environment for building an affirmative community for boys and males in dance will be a central focus. Panelists from various areas of the dance profession (teacher, artistic director, administrator, choreographer, researcher) will address their own perspectives as men in dance and the possibilities that dance education offers for building communities of cultural resistance in dance education, exhuming the taken-for-grantedness of gendered male bodies, dominant masculinity, and heterosexual embodiment.
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Panel Presentation When Men Dance Doug Risner, PhD For this panel presentation, the following paper served as an important point of departure for the diverse panelists' preparation, as well as a catalyst for the presentation's underlying dialogic goals for investigating and illuminating issues of both privilege and marginalization for males in dance. Portions of this paper were previously published in Garber, E., Sandell, R., Stankiewicz, M., & Risner, D. (2007). Gender Equity in Visual Arts and Dance Education, in S. Klein (ed.), Handbook for Achieving Gender Equity through Education (pp. 359-380). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Other material from this paper appears in the forthcoming Risner, D. (2007, in press) Dance Education in Social and cultural perspective. In L. Overby & B. Lepczyk (eds.) Current Selected Research, Volume 6. Reston, VA: Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance; and in Risner, D. (2008, In press) When Boys Dance: Cultural Resistance in Dance Education. In S. Shapiro (ed.) Dance in a World of Change: Examining Globalization and Cultural Differences. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Introduction While dance in many cultures has been, and continues to be viewed as an appropriate "male" activity, the dominant Western cultural paradigm situates dance as primarily a "female" art form.1 Research indicates that the overwhelming majority of the student population engaged in dance education and training is female.2 Over the past two decades, dance education researchers have gleaned considerable energy from the area of social foundations in education, especially in the realm of schooling and its impact on gender identity. From hybrid research agendas and methodologies of feminist thought, critical theory, gender studies, critical pedagogy, and most recently, men's studies, dance education literature has begun to focus on the ways in which socially embedded assumptions about gender and dominant structural power relations produce unjust educational and socio-cultural
outcomes.3 Gender and its social construction play an important role in students' participation and attitudes regarding dance study.4 Beginning as early as three years of age, girls, unlike boys, often grow up in dance as a taken-for-granted activity of childhood, adopting values "which teach that it is good to be obedient and silent, good not to question authority or to have ideas which might conflict with what one is being asked to do."5 Traditional dance pedagogy schools for obedience and emphasizes silent conformity in which dancers reproduce what they receive, rather than critique, question, or create it. Stinson6 cautions that "there is a kind of freedom in obedience, the freedom from responsibility." To deal with this sense of powerlessness, dance students often escape: "Some in dance escape into a world of beauty. Others escape into the world of self, allowing the image in the mirror, or achieving one more inch of elevation (in a jump),
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to become the focus of existence."7 Although males begin dance training much later in their lives, this kind of escape or silent conformity affects both girls and boys. For studying gender and dance, it is critical to understand "the `feminization' of theatrical dance in the west, because viewed primarily as a feminine activity, males who dance (whether gay or straight) are always in danger of being classified as effeminate.8 Some approaches for confronting gender bias and inequity in dance teaching and curriculum have been identified.9 Central to most of these strategies is a concerted effort to make gender a conscious variable in all aspects of dance education10 and the affirmation of individual differences in gender and culture.11,12 At the same time, research appears to indicate that dance teachers often emphasize the need to make boys and young men in dance "feel more comfortable" by inviting them to actively contribute ideas for movement, music, costumes and choreographic theme,13 by developing lesson plans and movement (sports movement, vigorous actions) that allow boys a feeling of ownership,14 and by emphasizing the challenge and satisfaction of jumping higher, shifting weight faster, moving bigger and balancing longer.15 In order to cultivate larger male participation in dance, normalizing strategies over the past two decades have frequently centered on noteworthy heterosexual male dancers,16 masculinist comparisons between sports and dance,17 and minimizing the significant gay male dance population.18, 19 However, male participation in Western European dance remains a culturally suspect endeavor for male adolescents, teens, and young adults20-24 Marginalized in a Marginal Field The protection offered by the dance studio often carries the high cost of extreme isolation for boy and young males for a number of reasons.18 First, young girls significantly outnumber their male counterparts in dance. Second, boys (gay and straight) suffering from negative stigma
associated with males in dance often go to great lengths to display traditional heterosexual markers. Social support networks and positive role models for gay youth in dance are rare. Leaving the dance studio often means returning to the embarrassment, humiliation, and contempt of being labeled the pansy, fag or queer. In addition, research shows that non-heterosexual males in dance receive far less parental/family encouragement and support for dancing than their heterosexual peers.22, 25 The lack of parental support and approval experienced by gay male dancers may be attributed to parents' more general disapproval of dancing, or to dance as a career choice for their sons. It may well be the that larger fears of homosexuality inhibit parents from encouraging their male children to pursue dance study, especially if one or both of the parents harbor homosexual suspicions about their male child.22 Young boys' avoidance of their homosexual orientation is facilitated by countless devices perpetrated by a pervasively heterocentric culture, especially when considering the overwhelmingly ridiculed status of sissy boys in American society. Rofes notes that the widely accepted sissy/jock paradigm operates as a key element in male youth culture, whereby traditional masculinity is narrowly described in highly misogynist ways.26 Boys in dance, unlike their male peers in athletics and team sports, are participating in an activity that already sheds social suspicion on their masculinity and heterosexuality. For gay male youth in dance, coping with this double bind situation (marginal in a marginalized field) is a complicated dilemma. Although there is wide individual variation, young gay males tend to begin homosexual activity during early or mid-adolescence; similar activity for lesbian females begins around age twenty.27 Because adolescents are only beginning to possess the capacity for abstract thought or formal reasoning skills to cognitively integrate their sexual experiences, dance educators must realize that boys and young gay males in dance are extremely vulnerable to gendered criticism, homophobic attitudes, anti-gay slurs, and
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the absence of positive gay male role models. Moreover, it appears that young self-identified gay males in dance experience far more alienation in dance class than their straight male peers.22 Young gay males may also develop internalized homophobia, in which self-hate, low self-esteem, destructive behavior, and further confusion characterize their underlying attitudes and conduct. Many gays, incapable of resisting persistent heterocentrism and homophobic prejudice, internalize negative attitudes about homosexuality, themselves, and other gay people.28, 29 As Luke (self-identified as gay) told me in 2002: I never talk to men in class. I prefer straight women because they're not as difficult to talk to as gay men...we don't identify with other gay guys. This sounds stupid, but I really don't like gay people that often. And the ones I do like really get on my nerves...I mean, who wants to talk to a bitchy male dancer? 30 Or as Brett (self-identified as gay) in the same study told me: I know many openly gay people in theatre, but in dance, many are closeted. I don't understand why. I get so frustrated with them. I mean, I know it's difficult and I don't judge them, but please, we're in dance...and these closeted guys try so hard. It's all about their girlfriends...I'm not gonna (sic) waste my time.30 Because I found the phenomenon of internalized homophobia surprising, I asked the gay and bisexual participants if they felt dance was a supportive environment for gay men. Although the group uniformly believed that dance provides an open and supportive atmosphere for gays, each struggled to articulate how they experienced the support to which they attested, telling me, "There's some sense of support in that nobody's calling you names. It's not hostile." "It's a big escape in the studio...
when I come out of dance class I feel it all back on me," and finally, "There's no harassment from the other dancers and that feels extremely supportive."31 The interesting picture these young gay/bisexual men paint depicts a contradictory landscape characterized by a strong sense of gay/bisexual support and affirmation on the one hand, but a deeply internalized homophobia on the other. This landscape, when combined with the homophobic attitudes characteristic of homosocial bonding, tends to isolate gay males from their straight male classmates, as well as from each other. What this small picture may be showing us is that young males in dance--gay and straight---tend to distance themselves from gay males and homosexuality. This kind of environment is stressful and often threatening for gay male students, particularly since they are vulnerable young people who are struggling to claim and affirm their sexual orientation in an often hostile atmosphere of homosexual denigration. For closeted gay youth, the weight of this burden over a long period of time causes many other psychological and emotional hardships, though at the time recognition of these dilemmas goes unacknowledged.32 Deceiving others ultimately leads to deceiving one's self, a deception that goes well beyond sexual orientation. Moreover, gay adolescents and teens often have far fewer resources available to them for understanding homosexuality and same-sex sexual harassment/abuse in a balanced and unbiased manner. Because the field often suppresses candid and forthright discussion of gay issues in dance education, it then rarely, if ever, addresses the sexual harassment and abuse that sometimes occurs.18 Hamilton33 reports that male students, though there are far fewer males in dance overall, are three times as likely to experience sexual harassment in dance than females, and that perpetrators of sexual harassment are over seven times as likely to be male than female. In addition, male dancers in their teens are propositioned for sex by their dance teachers, directors, choreographers, and fellow dance students at a rate of three to one,
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when compared to female dancers, with the gender of the solicitor being male nearly 70 percent of the time.34 The dance profession's silence surrounding sexual abuse is deeply troubling, but also speaks to the unwritten pact the profession maintains for the unspoken. Instead, we should rigorously question the motivation and perpetuation of the secrecy that allows this kind of abuse to be perpetrated upon youth in dance education. For dance educators, three grave dangers emerge: 1) male students rarely, if ever come forward about sexual harassment and abuse; 2) sexual abuse by male dance faculty is often trivialized or ignored; and 3) within the profession's muted discourse, sexual abuse and homosexual orientation are wrong-headedly equated with one another. These kinds of disconcerting, if not incriminating, statistics certainly exacerbate the continued absence of serious discussion surrounding gay issues in dance education. When faced honestly, these issues should compel dance educators to speak more openly and candidly about the "truth" of the matter in its entirety. Gay men have been and continue to be an important part of the dance landscape. As a profession, we can counter society's negative message about gays only by answering it directly, not by avoiding it. Taking a critical stance about sexual harassment and abuse should not require that we deny the important presence and significant contribution of gay men to dance education. However, all too frequently this has been the case. What I find even more troubling, however, is the way in which the profession's silence and lack of response wrongly serves to equate homosexual orientation with sexual harassment and abuse, and thereby reproduces negative attitudes and stereotypes about gays. Male Privilege in Dance Education: Negotiating the Margin & Center Dance, already marginalized in its status, funding, and curricular equity,35 remains widely misunderstood by the general public. Due in
large part to dualistic thinking which separates mind from body, intellectual activity from physical labor, and its close association to girls and women, dance is often perceived as part of women's domain, whereby its denigration for its dense female population is possible. Historical notions about the body often link the feminine with intuition, nature, the body, and evil; conversely, the intellectual, culture, the mind, and the good historically have been perceived as masculine.36 Being critical of that which already functions from a place of social and cultural weakness is a difficult task, and doubly confounding when one acknowledges one's own unwitting participation in systems of domination and oppression. From the outside, the most stigmatized of the marginalized in dance is the gay male dancer. When we also consider race, as DeFrantz rightfully reminds us, the black gay male dancer is likely the most marginalized.37 However, from inside the dance profession, the general oppression which women experience in society is reproduced. Dance does not necessarily offer more opportunities to women than to men despite women's majority of the dance population. Because of the seeming legitimacy men bring to dance, and although they comprise a definitive minority, males often receive more attention and cultivation in their classes and training. Despite the fact that women constitute the vast majority of the dance field, males in the US hold a disproportionate number of directorial and administrative authority positions.16, 38-42 For example, data from the National Endowment for Arts, the American Dance Festival, and the National Corporate Fund for Dance report that men in dance have benefited disproportionately in the areas of scholarships, grant funding, education, income, and employment.42-44 Recent reports in the US indicate that as increasing numbers of male dancers have returned to graduate school for advanced degrees, in order to parlay successful performing careers into positions of authority in higher education, the last decade has seen a 40% increase in male leadership in dance education.45
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Research also indicates the larger, more troubling outcome of gender inequity in dance in higher education in which the typical faculty profile is likely to be a 49 year old female, parttime, non-tenure track instructor teaching up to six classes per semester, reporting no creative activity over the past two years.46, 47 At the same time, male faculty salaries in higher education dance exceed female faculty salaries in US public institutions at Professor, Associate Professor, and Lecturer rank by a yearly average of over $3000.45 For gay males in positions of authority as faculty, choreographers, managers and administrators, the paradox of having one foot in the center and one foot in the margin emerges. The nature of this double bind situation48 -- privileged through one's sex, race and position of power, marginalized by one's sexual orientation and art form---presents interesting possibilities for disrupting dominant asymmetrical power relationships and for developing imaginative pedagogical approaches. Exposing mechanisms of stigmatization and de-humanization means interrogating one's own participation in their production. At the same time, mining the potential for resistance from this double bind situation is also demanded. However, in hopes of establishing legitimacy (raising funds, attracting corporate and private sponsorship, audience development, male recruitment) through male participation and direction, and garnering wider social acceptance (rather than further homosexual stigmatization), gay male presence in dance is often suppressed and minimized by the dance community itself. Often at the hands of those males in authority whose sympathetic response would seem at least logical, if not obligatory. As a gay, white male department chair in dance, I am equally implicated. Some of my recent work has sought to more clearly align my position of privilege and authority with my ethical responsibilities for fostering a more humanizing dance education.13,49-54
The Rise of Global Masculinity (Commodifying Gay Male Culture) For the purposes of this panel it is necessary to draw some of the complicated issues articulated throughout this essay into greater coherence; therefore, I want to briefly extend these arguments to a larger national and global realm. More particularly, it is critical to examine the ways in which the commodification (or repackaging and selling) of gay male culture, and the globalizing effects of hegemonic masculinity serve to dehumanize all of our lives generally, and liberatory dance education more specifically. Globalization, at its most basic, aims at the transcendental intensification of political and socio-economic homogenization across the globe,55 with its primary target of achieving universal homogenization of ideas, cultures, values and life styles.56 While certainly rooted in the unbridled spread of capitalism, for our purposes here I concentrate on the aims of political and social homogenization inherent in the US globalization agenda,57 more specifically the global swathe of hegemonic masculinity, including the commodification and commercialization of gay male culture. Shapiro and Purpel importantly remind us that globalization, "the process by which human beings and societies become ever more interconnected with one another has been developing for hundreds of years," and at the same time, that the process of globalization has "occurred in ways that are asymmetrical in terms of power and cultural influence."58 As we have seen throughout this paper, current definitions of masculinity in the US are rife with narrow and highly limited views of what constitutes "real men," male bodies, and appropriate gender investments for boys and male youth. In global terms of what it means to be male, Kimmel suggests the need for understanding and affirming the diversity of American (US) male experience and masculinities: Despite biology and the traditional clichй "boys will be boys," there's plenty of
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evidence that boys will not necessarily be boys everywhere in the same way. Few other Western nations would boast of violent, homophobic, and misogynist adolescent males and excuse them by virtue of this expression. If it's all so biological, why are European boys so different? 59 The notion of a globalizing masculinity rooted in this kind of singular definition is easily conceivable, especially when we consider the asymmetrical power and cultural influence of capitalistic approaches, advanced technologies, and the homogenizing narratives discussed earlier in this essay. For dance educators, there is much to be lost in this dehumanizing process; and in many respects, our past efforts for cultivating male participation in dance through masculinist and homophobic approaches (e.g. dance as sport, competition; emphasis on straight male dancers and demeaning sissy/jock narratives), may have unintentionally paved the way. Couched in these approaches is the misguided assumption and narrow view that not only are all boys the same, but also "that the nonathletic qualities of dancing are unlikely to be of any interest to them." 60 Moreover, the crux of the matter (when males dance) goes unacknowledged and thereby reproduces the same homophobic stereotypes that dance educators seek to redress. While we do not know all the reasons that boys and male youth dance, it should be obvious that these strategies ignore and potentially negate some of their motivations---creative expression, interest and aptitude, curricular requirement, recreation, dance as a complementary skill to theatre, etc. These approaches also, because they valorize dominant heterosexual masculinity to such an extent, may also serve to render gay, bisexual, and males questioning their sexual orientation, for the most part, invisible. In a sense, they are bleached or homogenized through an acceptable heterosexist lens of masculinity. This kind of gay male commodification, and its subsequent commercialization in the US is a key component of a globalizing masculinity.61 A cogent example of gay male assimilation
and re-appropriation comes from popular media that, although gay male culture appears to have unprecedented visibility, is clearly situated from a dominant male heterocentric perspective. Will & Grace, one of the most successful US television programs produced by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), focuses openly on the lives of two thirty-something gay men. In its eight season run (1998-2006), the weekly comedy series traces the hip, yet traditional I Love Lucy antics of Will Truman, a successful New York attorney and his flamboyantly gay friend from college, Jack McFarland. Will, though the character is gay, literally and figuratively plays the straight man to Jack's over-sexed gay stereotype. Week after week, Will and high school girlfriend, now interior designer, Grace Adler continue the long and tortured relationship they began in high school---struggling episode to episode to reconcile the fact that they will never be together because Will is gay. For all intents and purposes, this heterocentric yet immensely popular situation comedy has little or nothing to do with meaningful gay male experiences or gay men's lives; nor does it pretend to do so. Rather as a gay recapitulation of the misogynist saint/ whore archetype, it typifies the commodification and commercialization characteristic of global masculinity's account of gay men---reaffirming gay stereotypes while homogenizing gays from a straight perspective. As Battles and HiltonMorrow62 note, the show's immense mainstream popularity, now seen in widely in syndication throughout the US, as well as in 27 countries on six continents, arises from "straightened out" representations of homosexuality, in which the characters of Will and Jack are heterosexist constructions that satisfy heteronormative expectations of gay men. This example sheds greater light on dehumanization fueled by rampant cultural homogenization in the US, and the cost of gay male "re-packaging" in seeking mainstream acceptance. As Bryson asserts: This tragedy is familiar, but even more pronounced for the gay community. Gay
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men actively courted corporate America in the hope of being taken seriously. The cost is the commodification, and thus the loss of, a discrete ethnic identity--the postmodern tale of ethnicity meeting global capitalism. 63 The "remaking" of the world is presumed in the globalization process64 by creating a basic change in which major actors think and operate across the globe.65 While some dance educators will likely disagree, I do believe that much of our discourses about males in dance have buttressed this narrow, masculinist view---"remaking" who boys and men who dance are--- to satisfy External pressures and outside expectations. Not always intentionally, but sometimes through silence or consent, the field itself may have facilitated both the marginalization of our students and the field of dance education more broadly. Dance & Cultural Resistance: Humanizing Dance Education The more you are like me, the more I know the true value of my power, which you wish to share, and the more I am aware that you are but a shoddy counterfeit.6 I use the above passage to summarize some of the ideas discussed in this panel, as well as to begin this essay's conclusion. Here, Gilman (as the privileged center) warns of the stranger's (the marginalized's) temptation to erase his difference in exchange for access to the inner circle's game of validation and emancipation. This passage illuminates more clearly many of the complicated intersections articulated in this essay: gender and gendered investments; human empowerment and homogenizing narratives; masculinity and homophobia; cultural resistance and dominant gender norms; marginalization and privilege; humanization and globalization. These intersections frequently overlap and inform one another, especially when we consider this passage in terms of ethnicity, gender, social class, form of dance, and academic discipline.
What remains primary however, are issues of difference and affirmation. In the context of dance education, Gard may, though not intended, skillfully articulate these primary concerns in terms of the sacrifice dance education will forego in order to gain affirmation from garnering increased male participation and legitimation from patriarchal systems, when he argues: The reasoning seems to be that `if only dance were more like football, then more boys would want to dance.' If there really is a special reason for boys participating in dance as opposed to, say, football, then making dance more like football would likely seem to compromise whatever this mysterious quality of dance is....by starting from a position that most boys like football, the category of `boys' becomes frozen. Not surprisingly, then, this approach has nowhere else to go other than to position dance, and not the category of `boys,' as the problem. 67 Remaining in the margin, addressing the inadequacies of the dominant center's game of affirmation and emancipation, reveals that it is yet another game of domination, one which erases the margin's difference (experiences, needs, achievements, struggles). Keeping a sense of isolation, of not completely `fitting in' provides the deeper sensitivity and wider awareness necessary for resistance that is both critical and affirming. What is essential here is the notion that marginalized peoples and art forms can live and learn, as Welch describes, from and with difference.68 Not purely from the inside, nor wholly on the outside, but rather from the two, and with the dialectic that runs between. More importantly in this schematic, the marginalized learn from and with their own difference--unbleached, present, and worthy. The language of the margin is one of resistance that transcends, by literally connecting the world we live `in here' with, and between, the world `out there.' It is of tremendous importance that we see
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the larger gendered geography of our current world and simultaneously, its trajectory into our own dance education locales. In tandem and, maybe more importantly, it is critical to understand the ways in which our actions do have the ability to deplete or enrich human experience through dance education---in our schools, studios, classrooms, performances and programs. References 1. Hasbrook C: Sociocultural aspects of physical activity. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 64(1): 106-115, 1993. 2. Though seemingly obvious, see for example Adair 1992; Higher Education Arts Data Survey/HEADS 2003; Sanderson 2001; Van Dyke 1992, 1996). 3. The last decade's work chronologically includes Arkin 1994; Clark 1994; Horwitz 1995; Marques 1998; Shapiro 1998, 2004; Smith 1998; Green 2000, 2002-03, 2004; Doi 2002; Schaffman 2001; Keyworth 2001; Risner 2002a, 2002b, 2004a, 2005; Blume 2003; Letts and Nobles 2003; Gard 2003a, 2003b. 4. Social construction of gender in dance education is explored chronologically in the following works: Stinson, Blumenfeld-Jones, and Van Dyke 1990; Flintoff 1991; Van Dyke 1992; Cushway 1996; Sanderson 1996, 2001; Stinson 1998a, 1998b, 2001; Gard 2001, 2003a; Green 2001, 2002-03, 2004. 5. Van Dyke J: Modern Dance in a Postmodern World: An Analysis of Federal Arts Funding and its Impact on the Field of Modern Dance. Reston, VA: American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, 1992, p. 120. 6. Stinson S: Places where I've been: Reflections on issues of gender in dance education, research, and administration. Choreography and Dance, 1998, 5(1), p. 118. 7. Stinson, 1998a, p. 120. 8. Thomas H: Dancing the difference. Women's Studies International Forum 19(5): 505-511, 1996.
9. Approaches for confronting gender bias and inequity in dance teaching and curriculum are articulated by Arkin 1994; Bond 1994; Clark, 2004; Crawford 1994; Daly 1994; Dils 2004; Ferdun 1994; Kerr-Berry 1994; Risner 2003b; Stinson, 2005. 10. Ferdun E: Facing gender issues across the curriculum. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance 65(2): 46-47, 1994. 11. Bond K: How `wild things' tamed gender distinctions. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance 65(2): 28-33, 1994. 12. Kerr-Berry J: Using the power of Western African dance to combat gender issues. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance 65(2): 44-45, 48, 1994. 13. Risner D, Godfrey H, and Simmons L: The impact of sexuality in contemporary culture: An interpretive study of perceptions and choices in private sector dance education. Journal of Dance Education 4(1): 23-32, 2004. 14. Baumgarten S: Boys dancing? You bet! Teaching elementary physical education 14(5): 12-13, 2003. 15. Gard M: Dancing around the `problem' of boys and dance. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 22: 213-225, 2001. 16. Hanna JL: Dance, Sex, and Gender: Signs of Identity, Dominance, Defiance, and Desire. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988. 17. Crawford J: Encouraging male participation in dance. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance 65(2): 40-43, 1994. 18. Risner D: Re-educating dance education to its homosexuality: An invitation for critical analysis and professional unification. Research in Dance Education 3(2): 181-187, 2002b. 19. Spurgeon D: The men's movement. Paper presented at Congress on Research in Dance, Pomona College, December 1999. 20. Gard M: Moving and belonging: Dance, sport and sexuality. Sex Education 3(2): 105-118, 2003b. 21. Lehikoinen K: Stepping Queerly: Discourses in Dance Education for Boys in Late 20th Century Finland. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2005.
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22. Risner D: Male participation and sexual orientation in dance education: Revisiting the open secret. Journal of Dance Education 2(3): 84-92, 2002a. 23. Sanderson P: Age and gender issues in adolescent attitudes to dance. European Physical Education Review 7(2): 117-136, 2001. 24. Stinson S: Voices from adolescent males. DACI in Print 2: 4-6, 2001. 25. Bailey J, Oberschneider M: Sexual orientation and professional dance. Archives of Sexual Behavior 26: 433-444, 1997. 26. Rofes E: Making our schools safe for sissies. In: Unks G (ed): The Gay Teen. New York: Routledge, 1995. 27. Anderson D: Lesbian and gay adolescents: Social and developmental considerations. In: Unks G (ed): The Gay Teen. New York: Routledge, 1995. 28. Lehne G: Homophobia among men. In: David D, Brannon R (ed): The Forty-nine Percent Majority: The Male Sex Role. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1976. 29. Margolies L, Becker M, Jackson-Brewer K: Internalized homophobia in gay men. In Gonsiorek J (ed): Homosexuality and Psychotherapy: A Practitioner's Handbook of Affirmative Models. New York: The Haworth Press, Inc., 1987. 30. Risner, 2002a, p. 89. 31. Risner, 2002a, p. 90. 32. Besner F, Spungin C: Gay and Lesbian Students: Understanding their Needs. Philadelphia: Taylor & Francis, 1995. 33. Hamilton L: Advice for dancers: Emotional counsel and practical strategies. New York: Jossey-Bass, 1998. 34. Hamilton, 1998, p. 92. 35. Garber E, Sandell R, Stankiewicz M, Risner D: Gender equity in visual arts and dance education. In Klein S (ed): Handbook for Achieving Gender Equity through Education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2007, pp. 359-380. 36. Risner D: Blurring the boundaries: Hope and
possibility in the presence of the necessary stranger in gay liberation. PhD diss., University of North Carolina, Greensboro, 2001. 37. DeFrantz T: Simmering passivity: The black male body in concert dance. In Morris G (ed): Moving Words: Re-writing Dance. New York: Routledge, 1996. 38. Clark D: Voices of women dance educators: Considering issues of hegemony and the education/performer identity. Impulse 2(2): 122-130, 1994. 39. Lodge M: Dancing up the broken ladder: The rise of the female director/choreographer in the American musical theatre. PhD diss., Bowling Green State University, 2001. 40. Risner D: 2007. Critical social issues in dance education research. In Bresler L (ed): International Handbook for Research in Arts Education. New York: Kulwer, 2007, pp. 965982. 41. Stinson S, Blumenfeld-Jones D, Van Dyke J: Voices of young women dance students: An interpretive study of meaning in dance. Dance Research Journal 22(2): 13-22, 1990. 42. Van Dyke J: Gender and success in the American dance world. Women's Studies International Forum 19(5): 535-543, 1996. 43. McGuire L: The year of the angry young men: Performing gender at championship tap dance events. MA thesis, York University, 1999. 44. Samuels S: Study exposes dance gender gap. Dance Magazine, March: 35-37, 2001. 45. Higher Education Arts Data Services: Dance Annual Summary 2002-2003. Reston, VA: National Association of Schools of Dance, 2003. 46. Warburton E, Stanek, M: The condition of dance faculty in higher education. In Risner D, Anderson J (eds): Merging Worlds: Dance, Education, Society and Politics, Conference Proceedings of the 6th Annual Meeting of the National Dance Education Organization. Bethesda, MD: National Dance Education Organization, 2004. 47. Risner D, Prioleau D: Leadership and administration in dance in higher education: Challenges and responsibilities of the
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department chair. In Risner D, Anderson J (eds): Merging Worlds: Dance, Education, Society & Politics, Conference Proceedings of the 6th Annual Meeting of the National Dance Education Organization. Bethesda, MD: National Dance Education Organization, 2004. 48. Sedgwick E: Epistemology of the Closet. Berkley: University of California Press, 1990. 49. Risner D: What Matthew Shepard would tell us: Gay and lesbian issues in education. In Shapiro H, Harden S, Pennell A (eds): The Institution of Education. Boston, MA: Pearson, pp. 209-219. 50. Risner D: Rehearsing heterosexuality: Unspoken truths in dance education. Dance Research Journal 34(2): 63-81, 2003b. 51. Risner D: Dance, sexuality, and education today: Observations for dance educators. Journal of Dance Education 4(1): 5-9. 52. Risner D: The politics of student-centered practices in dance in higher education: Challenges to the ethical treatment of undergraduate dance students in the US. Paper presented at Ethics and Politics Embodied in Dance International Research Symposium, Helsinki, Finland, December. 53. Risner D: Dance and sexuality: Opportunities for Teaching and Learning in dance education. Journal of Dance Education 5(2): 41-42, 2005. 54. Risner D, Thompson S: HIV/AIDS in dance education: A pilot study in higher education. Journal of Dance Education 5(2): 70-76, 2005. 55. Akindele S, Gidado T, Olaopo O: Globalisation: Its implications and consequences for Africa. Globalization 2(Winter): 37-48, 2002. 56. Ohiorhenuan J: The South in an era of globalisation. Cooperation South 2: 6-15, 1998. 57. In previous work I have discussed the limitations of a capitalistic democratic society in terms of liberatory social policies for gays and lesbians. See Risner (2001). 58. Shapiro H, Purpel D (eds): Critical social issues in American education: Democracy
and Meaning in a Globalizing World, Third Edition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005. 59. Kimmel M: What about the boys? In Shapiro H, Purpel D (eds): Critical Social Issues in American Education: Democracy and Meaning in a Globalizing World. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005, p. 223. 60. Gard, 2001, p. 219. 61. For a well-argued treatise on ethnic and cultural assimilation of gay culture see: Harris D: The Rise and Fall of Gay Culture. New York: Hyperion, 1997. 62. Battles K, Hilton-Morrow W: Gay characters in conventional spaces: Will and Grace and the situation comedy genre. Critical Studies in Media Communication 19: 87-105, 2002. 63. Bryson S: The decline of gay and lesbian culture. Psychiatric Services 50: 422- 424, 1999. 64. Diagne S, Ossebi B: The cultural question in Africa: Issues, politics and research prospects. Dakar, Senegal: Codestria Working Paper Series 3(98): np. 65. Biersterker T: Globalisation and the models of operation of major institutional actors. Oxford Development Studies 20: 15-31, 1998. 66. Gilman S: Jewish Self-hatred: Anti-Semitism and the Hidden Language of the Jews. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 2. 67. Gard, 2001, p. 220. 68. Welch S: Sweet dreams in America: Making ethics and spirituality work. New York: Routledge, 1999. Additional Resources Adair, C. 1992. Women and dance: Sylphs and sirens. New York: New York University Press. Arkin, L. 1994. Dancing the body: Women and dance performance. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance 65(2), 3638, 43. Blume, L.B. 2003. Embodied [by] dance: Adolescent de/constructions of body, sex and
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gender in physical education. Sex Education 3(2), 95-103. Burt, R. 1995. The male dancer: Bodies, spectacle, sexualities. New York: Routledge. Clark, D. 2004. Considering the issue of sexploitation of young women in dance: K-12 perspectives. Journal of Dance Education 4(1): 17-23. Cushway, D. 1996. Changing the dance curriculum. Women's Studies Quarterly 24(34), 118-122. Daly, A. 1994. Gender issues in dance history pedagogy. Journal of Physical Education,Recreation and Dance, 65(2): 3435, 39. Dils, A. 2004. Sexuality and sexual identity: Critical possibilities for teaching dance appreciation and dance history. Journal of Dance Education 4(1):10-16. Flintoff, A. 1991. Dance, masculinity and Teacher Education. The British Journal of Physical Education Winter: 31-35. Gard, M. 2003a. Being someone else: Using dance in anti-oppressive teaching. Educational Review 55(2): 211-223. Green, J. 2000. Emancipatory pedagogy? Women's bodies and the creative process in dance. Frontiers 21(3): 124-140. Green J. 2001. Socially constructed bodies in American dance classrooms. Research in Dance Education 2(2): 155-173. Green, J. 2002-03. Foucault and the training of docile bodies in dance education. Arts and Learning 19(1): 99-126. Green, J. 2004. The politics and ethics of health in dance education in the United States. In Ethics and politics embodied in dance, edited by E. Anttila, S. Hamalainen, and L. Rouhianen. Helsinki, Finland: Theatre Academy of Finland. Hamilton, L. 1999. Coming out in dance: paths to understanding. Dance Magazine November: 72-75. Horwitz, C. 1995. Challenging dominant gender ideology through dance: Contact improvisation. PhD diss., University of Iowa. Katz, J. and J. Earp. 1999. Tough guise: Violence,
media & the crisis in masculinity. Directed by Sut Jhally. North Hampton, MA: Media Education Foundation. Videocassette. Keyworth, S. A. 2001. Critical autobiography: `Straightening' out dance education. Research in Dance Education 2(2): 117-137. Kimmel, M., and M. Messner, eds. 2001. Men's lives. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Letts, W., & Nobles, C. 2003. Embodied [by] curriculum: A critical pedagogy of embodiment. Sex Education, 3(2), 91-94. Marques, I. 1998. Dance education in/and the postmodern. In Dance, power, and difference: Critical and feminist perspectives on dance education, edited by S. Shapiro. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Pollack, W. 1999. Real boys: Rescuing our boys from the myths of boyhood. New York: Random House. Sanderson, P. 1996. Dance within the national curriculum for physical education of England and Wales. European Physical Education Review 2(1): 54-63. Schaffman, K. 2001. From the margins to the mainstream: Contact improvisation and the commodification of touch. PhD diss., University of California, Riverside. Shapiro, S. 1998. Toward transformative teachers: Critical and feminist perspectives in dance education. In Dance, power, and difference: Critical and feminist perspectives on dance education, edited by S. Shapiro. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Shapiro, S. 2004. Recovering girlhood: A pedagogy of embodiment. Journal of Dance Education 4(1): 35-36. Smith, C. 1998. On authoritarianism in the dance classroom. In Dance, power, and difference: Critical and feminist perspectives on dance education, edited by S. Shapiro. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Stinson S: 1998b. Seeking a feminist pedagogy for children's dance. In Dance, power, and difference: Critical and feminist perspectives on dance education, edited by S. Shapiro. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
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Stinson, S. 2005. The hidden curriculum of gender in dance education. Journal of Dance Education 5(2): 51-57. Panel Presentation Opening Introduction Doug Risner, Ph.D., MFA Chair, Maggie Allesee Department of Dance Wayne State University Good morning, I'm Doug Risner moderator of this panel that explores complicated questions about male privilege (often taken-for-granted in our society) and the social marginalization (or being on the fringe in our society as a dancer), as well as the stigma that remains closely associated with males in dance. We address the conference theme by looking at dancing for boys and men as an act of cultural resistance, and the ways in which building a community of males in dance can/should enhance the quality of life for boys and male youth in our programs and schools. The full abstract of this presentation is included in your conference booklet, as well as the bios of our panelists. A full copy of our presentation, with the panelists' remarks, is also available at www.dougrisner.com Recent research on male youth in dance (Michael Gard in Australia; Saul Keyworth in the UK; Kai Lehokinen in Finland; and my work here in the US) indicates prevailing social stigma, narrow definitions of masculinity, homophobic prejudice, as well as social isolation, peer harassment, and the lack of male role models. Deborah Williams' 2003 dissertation on male adolescents in dance revealed three significant themes: boys (33 participants, age 12-18) felt intense social isolation, have many unmet needs, and that, despite lack of social support form peers and family, as well as negative experiences, they
perservere in their dance study. Williams also found that boys felt a need to keep their dance life a secret from academic peers; felt perceptions of homosexuality regardless of the their sexual orientation; and were frustrated with teachers, parents, and directors who justify dance activities by relating them to sports---as one of Williams' participants declared: "I'm an artist, not a football player! Why does everyone keep insisting on comparing me to a sports star who takes ballet for exercise as though that should make it alright?" Good question, don't you think? Let's see how our panelists respond. Our format today will begin with each panelist, from his own particular perspective and experience, presenting his opening remarks on the topic. Panelists will then have an opportunity to respond to one another, with brief followups as necessary. We will then open the floor for questions and comments; time permitting, we will close with brief concluding statements from each of the panelists. Williams, D. (2003) Examining psychosocial issues of adolescent male dancers. Ph.D. dissertation, 2003, Marywood University, UMI 2090242. Panelists' Remarks From Bravado to Bravo: Boys in Dance and Society Edward (Ted) Warburton, Ed.D. Assistant Professor University of California, Santa Cruz As a male dancer, educator and researcher, I am keenly interested in the nature of male development in American society and in the minority status of boys in dance. These twin conditions present unique pressures on boys' participation in dance. In what follows, I endeavor to 1) address some common misconceptions about male privilege and 2) unpack some of the reasons behind those pressures and conditions. By all accounts, boys are not faring well in
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school. From elementary schools to high schools they have lower grades, lower class rank, and fewer honors than girls. More boys are involved in crime, alcohol and drugs. They are 50 percent more likely to repeat a grade in elementary school, one-third more likely to drop out of high school, and about six times more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). College statistics are similar--if the boys get there at all. Women now constitute the majority of students on college campuses, having passed men in 1982. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in eight years women will earn 58 percent of bachelor's degrees in U.S. colleges with significant gains in science and engineering. Some researchers, however, point out that boys get higher scores than girls on almost every significant standardized test, especially the Scholastic Assessment Test and law school, Medical School, and graduate school admissions tests. But test scores are not necessarily a clear manifestation of boys' privileged status. An important artifact of test results is that they appear to favor boys. Nancy Cole, a past-president of the Educational Testing Service, calls it the "spread" phenomenon. Scores on almost any intelligence or achievement test are more spread out for boys than for girls ­ boys include more prodigies and more students of marginal ability. Or, to paraphrase the political scientist James Q. Wilson, there are more male geniuses and more male idiots. All in all, boys are on the weak side of a growing education gender gap. The findings are new, but the debate is not. From Carol Gilligan's psychology of young girls described in her book "In A Different Voice"1 to Christina Hoff Sommers' book "The War Against Boys"2 almost two decades later, the gender debate has burned long and hard on issues of identity and ideology, privilege and equity. Boys may be the new girls in the gender debate, but those of us in dance have been observing the role of boys in society for a long time. We know that what boys need turns out to be pretty much what girls need. They need us to allow them their emotions; accept a high
level of activity; speak their language; and treat them with respect. They need us to teach the many ways a boy can be a man, use discipline to guide and build, and model manhood as emotionally attached. In other words, dance educators advocate for boys what is exactly what others have been advocating for girls for some time. What is missing from our conception of boys in society? As Michael Kimmel tells us, In a word, the boys themselves ­ or rather, what boys feel, think and believe ­ especially what they believe will make them men. "Males" are the topic, not "masculinity." Countless surveys suggest that young boys today subscribe to a traditional definition of masculinity, stressing the suppression of emotion, stoic resolve, aggression, power, success, and other stereotypic features.3 How does a focus on the ideology of masculinity explain what is happening to boys? Consider the parallel for girls. Gilligan's work on adolescent girls describes how assertive, confident, and proud young girls "lose their voices" when they hit adolescence. In contrast, adolescent boys seem find their voices, becoming more confident, even beyond their abilities. But it is the inauthentic voice of bravado, posturing, foolish risk-taking, and gratuitous violence. William Pollack, director of the Center for Young Men at Harvard, calls this the "boy code," which teaches boys that they are supposed to be in power, and so they begin to act as if they are. In adolescence, both boys and girls get their first real dose of gender inequality: girls suppress ambition, boys inflate it. Dance and dance educators have long played an important role in reframing the ideologies of femininity and masculinity. Dance has the power to be a great equalizer. There is a reason that female dancers outnumber male dancers three hundred to one. Girls flock to dance classes in part, I think, because they experience the phenomenon of dance as empowering. They like the way dance builds strength of body and
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mind. Instead of suppressing ambition, most dance educators champion a healthy dose of determination in girls as a virtue, a means to self-improvement and self-expression. For boys, on the other hand, dance can be a wake-up call, both physically and emotionally. As a young boy, I was energized by the image of Rudolf Nureyev leaping through the air with the greatest of ease. When I first started dancing, I realized how hard it is to leap through the air with the greatest of ease. A lot of boys at this age experience frustration, often conflating it with humiliation. Because many boys start training later than their female counterparts, group classes are a constant reminder that they are lagging behind. Disappointment, as well as the pressure of taking class among 20 experienced girl dancers, whose more advanced skills make them feel uncomfortably inferior, can cause boys to stop dancing prematurely. The best teachers understand the power of American society's boy code and take a number of steps to alleviate those pressures, including placing boys in all-male classes where ambition and competition are tempered by the challenges of discipline, skill building, and the high stakes of performance. In many ways, my experience was akin to participation in sports. But dance had a different impact on me. Instead of inflating my juvenile sense of power and privilege, which I had experienced in sports, the male dance community taught me that privilege was something earned through effort, not an advantage given free of charge. The most important privilege accorded to me was the right to embrace a rigorous, caring, expressive masculinity. It is a right that all men and boys in dance continue to fight for in our society on an almost daily basis. Gender inequality exists within every aspect of the dance sector in the United States. Fewer boys and men participate in dance at all levels than girls and women. For this reason, men and boys in dance are most certainly accorded a special status, often afforded more opportunities than our female colleagues. But I do not believe that this is the foremost lesson that men in dance learn. What I learned as a heterosexual white
man in dance is that male privilege is less about getting what one wants when one wants it and more about embracing the opportunity to work hard in a discipline that expands one's emotional and psychological repertoire. The experience of dance can help reframe masculinity as a condition that allows one to express a wider emotional, physical and creative range. This is the message that boys and American society at large needs to hear, and dance educators are well positioned to deliver it. 1. Gilligan, C: In A Different Voice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984. 2. Hoff Sommers, C: The War Against Boys. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000. 3. Kimmel, M: A War Against Boys? Dissent Magazine, Fall Issue: 2006 Helping Boys Find Themselves Through an Education in Dance Frederick Curry, MA Coordinator, Dance Education program office New York University My primary lens for the panel is my K-12 teaching experiences--as a freelance teaching artist, faculty in performing arts high schools, and as a student-teacher site supervisor. I believe most boys in the U.S. receive their introduction to dance in a K-12 setting. Consequently, this setting can be a pivotal point for launching them on a life-long critical engagement with dance--as it has been for me. In terms of privilege and marginalization, dance is a microcosm of the larger society, and hence replicates all the "isms" found in the larger society--sexism, racism, heterosexism and homophobia. On a personal level, these issues are complicated because while being male might be seen to afford me a certain privilege, being African-American would not. I personally never felt a sense of privilege or entitlement in dance, so am not conscious that I replicate it in my own
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teaching. In teaching, I think it's an ongoing process of acknowledging all the "isms" and their various manifestations and limitations, but not letting them dictate outcomes for me or for my students. In terms of working with boys in the K12 environment, what I have experienced and observed is the importance of first "meeting boys where they are," then facilitating an expansion of possibilities for them--through movement. For example, many boys are comfortable with movement that replicates the high dynamic and competitive nature of certain sports. From a teaching perspective using frameworks that accommodate this type of movement can be an effective starting point--a way of engaging some boys. However, as this approach minimizes or ignores many other aspects of being and doing through movement (especially light, flowing, sustained movements), from there educators have a responsibility to lead boys through an investigation of a much broader spectrum of movement expression and the accompanying emotional states. From what I have observed, the process of marginalization of boys in the K-12 setting seems to manifest as they progress beyond primary school creative movement. In my experience, the number of boys participating in dance thins out in secondary school when dance tends to become optional in boys' schedules and also more technical, and other educational and budding career pressures start to weigh in. The irony is that, as academic and social pressures increase in secondary school, dance training can play a pivotal role in helping students balance the intellectual, physical, and emotional aspects of their selves. Another challenge for boys' continued participation in dance is that, in our capitalistic culture, financial wealth is often the arbiter of career success--especially for men. I think the lack of financial gain and accompanying lack of "power" and potential for "fame" associated with careers in dance is a significant factor in reduced participation. I also believe this in part accounts for many boys transferring their attention to
sports or into related commercial arts disciplines such as musical theatre. Those challenges aside, K-12 dance educators can provide boys with a framework for cultivating awareness and critical reflection on issues around male privilege and marginalization in dance. Through the developmentally appropriate creative frameworks K-12 dance provides, boys can learn to relate their inner self to their outer world and develop self-reflection, interpersonal sensitivity, and the ability to critically reflect on the societal and cultural factors influencing their lives. Consequently, through dance, boys would be well positioned to consciously subvert any constraints that don't serve their sense of self or their idea of the men they aspire to be. Male Dancers, Gender-Specific Movement & the Effects of Gender on Choreographic Careers in Dance Ben Munisteri, MA Artistic Director Ben Munisteri Dance Projects, NYC My contributions to this panel are considered in terms of my role as a artistic director of a small, contemporary nonprofit dance company based in New York City. My chief responsibilities are to create dances that tour to various venues and festivals, hire and rehearse dancers, teach (mostly in higher education), and raise money. I work regularly with male dance students, most of whom are either in college or recently graduated and studying at a private studio or festival. I address here three areas: perceived attitudes among audience, funders, and dance presenters about the presence of male dancers within a dance company; issues around choreographing gender-specific roles or movements; and college dance students' beliefs about the differences between male and female careers in dance. Unfortunately, I offer no answers, empirical data, or self-evident facts. My remarks, therefore, are based on my own
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observations and experiences. I will attempt to discuss each aspect insofar as it relates to the central dichotomy of this panel, i.e., privilege and marginalization. Does the appearance of male dancers in a company confer status? When I began choreographing ensemble works for various group shows at small, "downtown" dance venues in New York City (c. 1993), I was the only man dancing in my company. At the time, it seemed to me that women dancers were more willing to work with an unknown, unfunded, unincorporatEd Young choreographer with less-than-estimable gigs than their male counterparts were. However, I concluded from various responses to my work that audiences, funders, and dance presenters might view my dance company more favorably if it contained that precious and rare commodity-- good men dancers. Are male dance students who are preparing for a performing career aware of this privileged status? Are dance roles gender-specific? Are there movements that convey different or even transgressive meanings when performed by a male? None of the movement phrases, gestures, or roles in my dance repertory are genderspecific. (The exception may be during some partnering sequences.) This sometimes means the men in my company are not comfortable doing movements they had learned as "feminine" and would therefore betray their masculinity. As dance teachers, what sorts of movements do we ask girls to do that that we wouldn't give to boys? Do we limit male dance students' movements and therefore their experiences? What do college dance students expect in a future dance career? Several published studies (Adair, 1992; Van Dyke, 1992, 1996; Garber, et. al., 2007) give evidence that men in dance have benefited disproportionately in terms of funding, education, income, and employment. Moreover, mainstream press articles (Dance Magazine, March 2001; The New York Times, November 4, 2001) that reach the same conclusion may be disseminated more readily among dance students. If our male college dance students expect greater opportunities in their performing
careers, do they also expect privilege if they embark on a choreography career? And more generally, are we preparing either gender for the enormous financial and physical burdens of an early-21st-century post-college dance career? What can they--both men and women students--realistically expect now? Men dancers and choreographers perhaps unknowingly engage in acts of cultural resistance in that we embody paradoxes that challenge most hegemonic models. Employment opportunities come to us more easily than to our more numerous female counterparts in dance, yet we earn less money than our male counterparts do in other professions. We are often seen as "other" in educational environments that nonetheless frequently recognize our mere presence in the dance studio--before we even begin to dance--as a serious and defiant act. Adair, C. (1992) Women and Dance: sylphs and sirens. (New York, New York University Press). Garber, E., Stankiewicz, M., Sandell, R., & Risner, D. (2007) Gender equity in the visual arts and dance education, in: S. Klein (Ed) Handbook for Achieving Gender Equity through Education (Mahwah, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum). Van Dyke, J. (1996) Gender and success in the American dance world, Women's Studies International Forum, 19(5), pp. 535-543. Van Dyke, J. (1992) Modern Dance in a Postmodern World: an analysis of federal arts funding and its impact on the field of modern dance (Reston, VA, American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance).
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Complicated Crises for Male Dancers Ray Robinson, MFA Doctoral Candidate, Michigan State University Wayne State University For today, I'm most strongly identifying with my faculty/scholar role. Ben's comments about his "otherness" reminded me of identity development theories--most of which have strong racial, gender, and cultural implications that don't account for being "other," at least in how being "other" plays into identity development. It is clear that the perception of "otherness" begins young and includes both positive and negative experiences. For example, as a faculty member, I may identify [insert gendered quality here] as part of an evaluation, which then must be accepted or rejected by the student as part of his identity. Erickson talks of identity development as a series of crises, others have argued that it is also largely a social negotiation. O'Neil defines gender role conflict as occurring when "rigid, restrictive gender roles result in personal restriction." I can attribute much of my identity to a perceived lack of rigid, restrictive gender roles. However, I can identify a series of crises in the dance career that have defined me. First, choosing modern over ballet--partly because I enjoyed the sociality, but also because I did not want to perform in tights (later performed in tights, but that was another crisis). How do I answer when someone asks what I do? There is another crisis--I look like a white male who might belong to the majority. Do I maintain that by revealing only that I am a professor? Reveal some by saying I'm in dance? I teach technique? It is a crisis on the other side to be male in a largely female company. Does my gender give me an "in" if I am a choreographer mingling with corporate America? In this case I am both privileged and marginal, which may advantage me in finding funding over female choreographers. In my earlier comments, I mentioned viral action. Discussions can be held at global levels and those discussions can affect local
dialogue, but locally schools, departments, studios, can loosen the restrictive definitions of gender roles. If it is not a deep crisis to dance, boys can dance. Ted mentioned the value of dance in building psychological skills, which I agree with, and as he said, the teachers are, or ought to be, equipped with that understanding. One arena I work in is a general education course offered by the dance department at Wayne State University. We do a lot of writing, reading, and discussing, but we also move every week. These classes, which gain popularity because of the perception that they will be easy (another topic altogether), have an interesting outcome. The men, reticent at first to participate in the movement and creative portions of class, transform and become insistent creators and movers. Their reflections as written to me suggest Attitude changes--not only about dance, but about their roles in it. This is not surprising for college-aged male students. In her study of 800 boys and girls in an elementary school dance program, Willis (1995) found that boys are more likely to cover large amounts of space, used more physical energy, moved quickly, took physical risks, involved others in displaying their creations, and approached their own presentations with confidence. Girls worked in limited space, moved at a slow to moderate tempo, did not take physical risks, spent considerable time standing still, and apprehensively showed their presentations. When working in mixed gender groups, boys frequently assumed leadership positions; girls often complained that boys would not cooperate because they separated themselves from the group (Willis, 1995). Cushway (1996) found that although elementary school girls follow direction and execute movement activity promptly and quietly, boys often demand and receive more attention, validation, positive feedback, and reward in dance class. Cushway, Diana. (1996). Changing the dance curriculum. Women's Studies Quarterly, 24(3-4), 118-122. Willis, C. (1995). Factors that affect dance
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programs. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 66(4), 58-63. Intersections of Masculinity & Ethnicity in Dance: Negotiating Male Privilege in a Predominantly Female Profession Jeff Rebudal, MFA Assistant Professor of Dance, Wayne State University Artistic Director, Rebudal Dance, NYC As a dance artist in the performing arts in academia, I find my role(s) constantly evolve year after year. For this panel, I will be addressing these questions mainly as a choreographer, from my experiences as a dance educator in higher education, as well as in the professional setting of concert modern dance and opera. Starting formal dance training at the late age of 19, I would say that these ideas of privilege and marginalization that I experienced come from being a male student in dance and obviously not Caucasian. As in most cases, as a male I was given more attention by instructors in class and opportunities to perform. I would like to believe it was more about my potential talent as a dancer rather than my gender. However, I believe the latter played a significant part of my training. This preferential treatment probably stems from the dearth of male dancers compared to the amount of female dancers. Therefore, nurturing the male dance student. Deciding to pursue dance at a university, and later as a career, is not what most first generation Filipino Americans decide for a career path. My decision was received with both encouragement on the one hand, and dismayed concern by my parents and others on the other. As a professional modern dancer in New York, I usually made it through the last rounds of an audition or "got the part." Because modern dance generally tends to be more inclusive of diverse individuals (race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc.), I found that, in addition to being a male
dancer, my "Asianess" (physical characteristics and mannerisms, outlook) often helped in the audition process. In one experience, my race was not marginalized (particularly in an Asianbased modern dance company). Ironically, in this company, Caucasian males/females were the minority. As a member of another modern dance Company X, the artistic director was fortunate and proud to have an almost equally gendered and ethnically diverse company (6 men--five of which were gay-- and 6 women; AfricanAmerican, Puerto Rican, Korean, Filipino, Italian, Irish, Scottish, Jewish, and Greek.) However, in companies group dynamics are important and one's sexuality does impact ensemble situations. As the company grew, the turnover of members would occur, thus shifting the dynamics. Consciously or unconsciously, the artistic director of Company X would gravitate towards gay men as company members. On the contrary for another modern dance Company Y, (the artistic director being a white straight male) since its inception has had predominantly, if not exclusively, straight men until fairly recent. When informally surveying (i.e. through discussion) heterosexual male dancers, these individuals initially found the need to establish their heterosexuality in the studio and socially. As a gay individual in the studio setting (dancer/ choreographer), I never felt the need to establish my own sexuality, as this does not fully define my existence as a human being nor as an artist. As a professional choreographer (modern dance and opera), retaining male dancers is a challenge. Whether it is a personal aesthetic and/or a phemonal dynamic, the presence of men on stage completes an ensemble. When first starting to do work in NYC, I had the privilege of using both professional male dancers and students dancers (the latter as a viable pool, though not seasoned). With at least 50% men, this made an impact on my work. Retaining these males dancer often is a challenge as there tends to be more work for males dancers because of the lack of available male dancers in the field. Knowing this, male dancers would sometime
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not take their roles seriously if they did not feel invested in the work/project knowing that they could probably get another dance job elsewhere. Currently, as a choreographer, for me it is less about gender specific roles and privilege. I tend to give parts based upon abilities and talent (and who is present at rehearsal due to scheduling conflict) rather than gender and sexuality. Consequently, because of the dearth of male dancers in the college setting, I have to admit, that the tendency is to nurture the male dance student (and like my own experience, the cycle continues). Most male dance students in colleges and universities feel the need to establish their sexuality whether they are straight or indeed gay. The latter sometimes dealing with not revealing their true sexuality ("in the closet)". Post- adolescent boys (late teens), are often awkward in nature and continuing to explore and discover who they are (i.e. sexuality), dance can sometimes allow them to express this uncertain phase of their lives. Having positive experiences in the studio and classroom through movement exploration and follow up discussion /reflection that is integrated into lesson plans that address issues of movement in relationship to gender and sexuality, may be a step towards educating students. Also, having effective positive gay role models for students to seek advice both in dance and self-discovery experiences has the potential to make a beneficial impact in the education setting. BIOGRPHIES: Doug Risner, Ph.D., MFA, Chair, Maggie Allesee Department of Dance, Wayne State University is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Dance Education with Julie Kerr-Berry and has served the National Dance Education Organization as Secretary and member of the Board of Directors. For over two decades as a dance educator, guest artist, and faculty member, he has taught and choreographed at Luther College, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Meredith College, Iowa State
University, Winona State University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Gustavus Adolpus College, Weber State University and Western Illinois University. His work has been funded by the generous support of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the H. George & Jutta F. Anderson Endowment, the North Carolina Department of Public Education, the Iowa Arts Council, the McNair Scholars Program, DanceUSA/National Endowment for the Arts, and the North Carolina Dance Festival. Risner also contributes to Research in Dance Education, Dance Research Journal, Selected Research in Dance, and Chronicle of Higher Education. Risner holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teaching and an MFA in Choreography and Dance Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Forthcoming book chapters in 2007 focus on critical social issues in dance. [email protected] Frederick Curry, M.A. is Coordinator of the Dance Education Program Office at NYU where he also teaches Beginning Ballet and Intermediate Modern Technique and Pedagogy. Frederick has been on the faculty at Regional Center for the Arts, Trollwood Performing Arts School, Swiss Youth Dance Festival, Laban Youth Dance Platform, and the Metropolitan Opera Guild's Creating Original Opera In-School Residency Program. He has danced professionally with New York-based choreographers Rod Rodgers, Rose-Marie Guiraud, Cathy Ward, Renata Celichowska, Phyllis Rose and Elinor Coleman. His New York theatrical credits include leading roles in The Vengeance of Mami Wata and Owl in Love. His choreography has been presented at Merkin Concert Hall, The Bridge, La Mama etc., and Dance Space in New York, and at the Bonnie Bird Theatre in London. Frederick holds an MA in Dance Education from NYU, a B.A. in Communications from the University of Alabama, and a Professional Diploma in Community Dance from Laban Centre London. [email protected]
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Ben Munisteri, M.A., directs Ben Munisteri Dance Projects, a New York City-based contemporary dance company that has toured nationally and internationally at venues including the Joyce Theater, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Dance Theater Workshop, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and the International Tanzmesse in Dьsseldorf, Germany. He has received numerous choreographic commissions and grants, most recently from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Dance Project, the National Performance Network, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He has been a guest artist/teacher at numerous American colleges and universities. Recent residencies were at Indiana University, Bates College, the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Stephens College, and Lafayette College. He has been a featured speaker on panels convened by Dance USA, the Joyce Theater Foundation, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the Midwest Arts Conference, and the New York City Parks Department. He has a masters degree in Dance Education from New York University. He is currently teaching Dance History at Adelphi University in Garden City, NY, and has recently authored a complete history of the school's Dance department. [email protected] Jeff Michael Rebudal, M.A., Assistant Professor, Artistic Director of New York-based Rebudal Dance, is an original founding member of the critically acclaimed Sean Curran Company in which he performed and toured throughout the nation and abroad from 1995 to 2003. In addition he has performed with H.T. Chen & Dancers and Andrew Jannetti & Dancers. His choreogoraphy has been presented in New York at Joyce SoHo, Danspace Project at St. Mark's Dance, Cunningham Studio, Lincoln Center's Bruno Walter Audiorium and Clarke Theatre, the American Museum of Natural History and the 92nd St. Y. Other venues include the Cultural Center of the Pilippines in Manila, Dance Place in Washington, DC, International Dance Festival in Connecticut, Arts Boundaries Unlimited in
Florida, the Alexandria Dance Festival in Virginia and Montclair State University including Opera de Montreal and Glimmerglass Opera. Regudal holds the terminal MA in performing Arts/Arts Management from the American University and a BA in Dance/Journalism from the University of Hawaii-Manoa and has held visiting assistant professorships at Connecticut College, the University of Oklahoma and Wells College. [email protected] Ray Robinson, MFA, Adjunct Professor, Wayne State University, has been on faculty at Brigham Young University for seven years teaching composition, improvisation, modern dance technique, kinesiology, conditioning, and film courses, among others. He holds a BA in communications from BYU, an MFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah; he has danced with several professional modern dance companies including Creach/Co., Keith Johnson/ Dancers, Tandy Beal/Dancers, Repertory Dance Theater, and Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company. He has taught workshops and master classes in Utah, New York, California, Alaska, and China. [email protected] Edward C. (Ted) Warburton, Ed.D., is Assistant Professor of Theater Arts/Dance and a member of the graduate faculty in the Digital Arts & New Media M.F.A. program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Warburton received his early training at the North Carolina School of the Arts and danced professionally with American Ballet Theater II, Houston Ballet and Boston Ballet. He holds master's degrees in technology and in arts education, and a doctorate in human development and psychology from Harvard University. Warburton is Associate Editor of the Research in Dance Education journal, and serves as NDEO's Board of Director for Research. He is the first recipient of NDEO's "Emerging Leader" award. [email protected]
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D Risner, F Curry, B Munisteri, J Rebudal

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Title: NDEO 2007 Conference Proceedings - Focus on Dance Education: Community Building
Author: D Risner, F Curry, B Munisteri, J Rebudal
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