The University of Wisconsin Press

Dance / Gender & Sexuality / Cultural Studies


Dancing Desires
Choreographing Sexualities on and off the Stage
Edited by Jane C. Desmond

Studies in Dance History
Published under the auspices of the Society of Dance History Scholars

"This break-through volume opens a long overdue discussion of dance and sexuality." —Joan L. Erdman, author of Stages: The Art and Adventures of Zohra Segal and Patrons and Performers in Rajasthan: The Subtle Tradition

What happens to the writing of dance history when issues of sexuality and sexual identity are made central? What happens to queer theory, and to other theoretical constructs of gender and sexuality, when a dancing body takes center stage? Dancing Desires asks these questions, exploring the relationship between dancing bodies and sexual identity on the concert stage, in nightclubs, in film, in the courts, and on the streets. From Nijinsky's balletic prowess to Charlie Chaplin's lightfooted "Little Tramp," from lesbian go-go dancers to the swans of Swan Lake, from the postmodern works of Bill T. Jones to the dangers of same-sex social dancing at Disneyland and the ecstatic Mardi Gras dance parties of Sydney, Australia, this book tracks the intersections of dance and human sexuality in the twentieth century as the definition of each has shifted and expanded.

The contributors come from a number of fields (literature, history, theater, dance, film studies, legal studies, critical race studies) and employ methodologies ranging from textual analysis and film theory to ethnography. By embracing dance, and bodily movement more generally, as a crucial focus for investigation, together they initiate a new agenda for tracking the historical kinesthetics of sexuality.

"Dancing Desires brings together some of the most influential minds in dance cultural studies. This important book will find an enthusiastic readership among scholars and students of dance studies, performance studies, cultural studies, American studies, and queer studies."—David Róman, University of Southern California

Jane C. Desmond is associate professor of American studies at the University of Iowa. She has taught dance, theater, and American studies at Duke University, Cornell University, and Eötvos Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary. She worked as a modern dancer and choreographer from 1975 to1990 and is the author of Staging Tourism: Bodies on Display from Waikiki to Sea World and editor of Meaning in Motion: New Cultural Studies of Dance.

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Cover of Dancing Desires.

July 2001
360 pp.      6 x 9
21 b/w photos
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Paper $24.95 a
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