Reading Questions

Reading Questions for Preface, Introduction, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of Ramsay Burt's "The Male Dancer":

Answer three of these questions in writing (to be turned in as homework on Feb. 4) and take notes on the others in order to be prepared for class discussion. 


1. According to Burt, what are the similarities, differences and tensions between re-evaluating images of women in dance versus re-evaluating images of men in dance?

2. What are Burt’s goals in writing this book (as he expresses them himself)?

3. Why did men in the Victorian era (according to Burt) wish to avoid being seen (on stage)?

4. List the shifting characteristics assigned to masculinity and feminity throughout history in the West (as described by Burt).

5. Explain Burt’s statement that “much queer theory assumes that homophobia is an essential component of a patriarchal society” (22).  Why is this significant to the study of masculinity in dance?

6. Summarize the basic premises of the “gaze theories” derived from film studies outlined on p. 31-32.  What is Sue-Ellen Case’s critique of applying these gaze theories to dance?  Burt proposes Fried’s notions of “absorption” and “theatricality” as a way to consider how performers shape the gaze of spectators. What does Fried mean by  these terms and how do you think these modes of performance can reinforce or subvert dominant gender ideologies?

7. What are “performatives” according to speech act theory?  What is Derrida’s notioin of “citationality”?  Assuming gender is performative, how can a deconstructive theory of performativity be enacted through danced embodiment of gender roles?

8. How do how do notions of “presence” and “absence” contribute to communication about gender in performance?
Last modified: Monday, December 19, 2011, 9:18 AM