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Appears in Collections:Communications, Media and Culture Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Spectacular (Dis-) Embodiments: The Female Dancer on Film
Author(s): Lindner, Katharina
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Keywords: gender
Body, Human, in motion pictures
Women dancers
Sex in dance
Issue Date: Jun-2011
Date Deposited: 14-Mar-2012
Citation: Lindner K (2011) Spectacular (Dis-) Embodiments: The Female Dancer on Film. Scope: An Online Journal of Film and TV Studies, (20).
Abstract: This article is concerned with the ways in which gendered subjectivities are re-constituted within and through contemporary cinematic depictions of dance in films such as Center Stage (2000), Save the Last Dance (2001), Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004), Step Up (2006) and The Company (2003). [1] My discussion explores the insightful, but largely unaccounted for, areas of overlap between feminist critiques of dance and cinema, particularly with regard to the significance and function of the "female form" on stage/on screen/in front of the mirror (Daly, 1997: 111). Specifically, I draw on debates around embodiment, subjectivity and looking in order to explore the ways in which depictions of dance as a bodily practice that places contradictory demands on the female body may disrupt cinema's hetero-normative representational conventions. Mainstream cinema in particular has a long tradition of staging the female body as to-be-looked-at spectacle, as an object of desire that lacks subjectivity and agency. [2] By definition, the dance film appears to continue this tradition. Dance performances largely epitomise the moments of staged spectacle that are said to disrupt straightforward narrative development, allowing the spectator to gaze at the body on display. However, I want to argue that the display of the female body in the dance film carries ambiguous and at times contradictory significance, that centres on the subject-object tensions 'embodied' by the female dancer.
Rights: Published in Scope: An Online Journal of Film & Television Studies published by University of Nottingham:

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