Schooling the dancer: the evolution of an identity as a ballet dancer

Pickard, A. (2012) Schooling the dancer: the evolution of an identity as a ballet dancer. Research in Dance Education, 13 (1). pp. 25-46. ISSN 1464-7893.

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This paper explores how young ballet dancers’ bodies are constructed and narrated through their desire to become performing ballet dancers. The schooling of the balletic body engages the young dancer in embodying the discipline of ballet and in developing a particular belief in a performing body. The embodied set of acquired dispositions that are inscribed into the dancer’s body are, in Pierre Bourdieu’s terms, a core part of the dancer’s habitus. This paper is based on a longitudinal, ethnographic, empirical study of the experiences of 12 young ballet dancers, 6 boys and 6 girls. These young people were aged between 10 and 15 years at the start of the study and were tracked over a period of four years during the process of ‘becoming’ a ballet dancer as they engaged in nonresidential ballet schooling. Data was generated via a multi-method approach.Findings suggest that the young dancers must demonstrate a willingness to accept emotional and physical suffering for the sake of ballet as a performance art and body as aesthetic project. They must therefore attach positive meaning to their experiences as they learn to deny, re-frame or suppress negative emotions.

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 08:59
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2016 09:05

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