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"Winged and Shivering": Images of Dancers in the Alhambra and Empire Ballets 1884-1915.

Carter, Alexandra. (1993) "Winged and Shivering": Images of Dancers in the Alhambra and Empire Ballets 1884-1915. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

Between 1884 and 1915, ballet was the main attraction on the programmes presented by London's Alhambra and Empire palaces of varieties. The executants of the ballets were women for whom dancing was a profession but their activities were produced, mediated and received by and within a predominantly male culture. This study relates a contextual examination of the hegemonic practices of the institutions which produced the ballet, and the written and iconographic discourses through which it was mediated, to a textual analysis of the works themselves. As a result, it is argued that the ballet, through its consistent presentation of certain images of the dancers, was a significant cultural form for the construction, circulation and reinforcement of images of women in Victorian and Edwardian society. Furthermore, the ballet produced not only commensurate but also differentiated images of the dancers which mirrored the complex sexual psyche of the era. In support of these arguments, pertinent elements of discrete disciplinary theories and knowledge are combined in an inter-disciplinary approach which accommodates the shared concerns of these disciplines and achieves the necessary synthesis between textual and contextual analysis. The unifying perspective which provides the motivation and the methodology is that of feminism. In its subject matter, this study remedies the neglect of the music hall in dance historiography and provides the impetus for further research on the period. In foregrounding the notion of dance as work, it also counteracts the marginalisation of the working lives and contribution of the vast majority of performers who were not the 'stars' of dance. In its rationale and declared bias, the study locates dance firmly within feminist discourse and provides a model for the analysis of dance as a form for the cultural production of gender.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Carter, Alexandra.
Date : 1993
Additional Information : Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 1993.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 24 Apr 2020 15:27
Last Modified : 24 Apr 2020 15:27
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/854893

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