In defence of Ballet: women, agency and the philosophy of pleasure

Kolb, Alexandra and Kalogeropoulou, Sophia (2012) In defence of Ballet: women, agency and the philosophy of pleasure. Dance Research, 30 (2) . pp. 107-125. ISSN 0264-2875 [Article]


This article offers a novel approach to conceptualising ballet practice as a leisurely activity that exudes pleasure. It argues that the notion of pleasure in ballet has been neglected in scholarly research which criticises ballet for its negative impact on the physical and mental health of dancers, its authoritarian teaching methods and its trivial aesthetic that objectifies the female body and perpetuates the construction of stereotypical gender roles within a patriarchal society. This study focuses on the lived experiences of female amateur ballet participants, emphasising their agency. It provides first-hand accounts to illuminate the significance of ballet in women dancers’ personal growth, development and psychological wellbeing, drawing on sociologist Roger Caillois’s categorisation of pleasures involved in games and play. Overall, the article highlights the multiple types of pleasure associated with ballet dancing as a key motivational factor and rationale for participation.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts
Item ID: 9876
Depositing User: Alexandra Kolb
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2013 05:55
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2017 14:51

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