Ballet body belief: perceptions of an ideal ballet body from young ballet dancers

Pickard, A. (2012) Ballet body belief: perceptions of an ideal ballet body from young ballet dancers. Research in Dance Education, 14 (1). pp. 3-19. ISSN 1464-7893.

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Abstract

This paper explores what is perceived and believed to be an ideal ballet body by young ballet dancers. Such bodily belief becomes, in Pierre Bourdieu’s terms, a core part of a ballet dancer’s habitus. A four year longitudinal, ethnographic, empirical study of the experiences of 12 young ballet dancers, six boys and six girls, aged between 10 and 15 years at the start of the study, examined processes of bodily construction and ‘becoming’ a ballet dancer in non-residential ballet schooling. Data was generated via a multi-method approach although only individual and focus group interview data are used here. Findings suggest
that the 12 young ballet dancers’ attempted to replicate and position themselves within what is perceived and believed to be an ideal ballet body shape and size.
Ballet is a social practice which shapes the activity of the young dancer but is also shaped by that young dancer through a process of incorporation of the social into the body. The ballet dancer’s body and habitus is produced and maintained as the young ballet dancers’ accepted their bodies as an aesthetic project. It is argued that there is a strong connection between the size, shape
and aesthetic of the ballet body and identity.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV1580 Dancing
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Music and Performing Arts
Depositing User: Dr Angela Pickard
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2016 08:57
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2016 08:57
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/14850

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00