Dancing Un-Visible Bodies

I contribute chapter 8. In this chapter I discuss how issues of marginalization in the dance studio raised by prejudices against age, ethnicity and/or gender have shared lessons of resilience. <a href="http://www.somewebsite.com/">Akinleye A. (2022) Dancing Un-Visible Bodies. In: Musil P., Risner D., Schupp K. (eds) Dancing Across the Lifespan. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. pp 113-128 </a> <a href="https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-82866-0?sap-outbound-id=95129460586258F2D6ED4189C36E20B4E4E2242E">Visit the Publisher</a>
Cover of book showing people of many ages moving together

I discuss how issues of marginalization in the dance studio raised by prejudices against age, ethnicity and/or gender have shared lessons of resilience. From my own presence as an experienced, Black, female body in Western dance settings, I look at social and cultural theory to describe the older dancer as having many bodies. I draw on personal reflections gathered over a year of observations of myself taking dance classes, suggesting strategies for surviving racism in my youth as a Black ballerina offer modes for thriving in the face of exclusionary practices around aging in dance.

Link to publisher 

Citation: Akinleye A. (2022) Dancing Un-Visible Bodies. In: Musil P., Risner D., Schupp K. (eds) Dancing Across the Lifespan. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. pp 113 -128 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82866-0_8

About the book:

This book critically examines matters of age and aging in relation to dance. As a novel collection of diverse authors’ voices, this edited book traverses the human lifespan from early childhood to death as it negotiates a breadth of dance experiences and contexts. The conversations ignited within each chapter invite readers to interrogate current disciplinary attitudes and dominant assumptions and serve as catalysts for changing and evolving long entrenched views among dancers regarding matters of age and aging.

The text is organized in three sections, each representing a specific context within which dance exists. Section titles include educational contexts, social and cultural contexts, and artistic contexts. Within these broad categories, each contributor’s milieu of lived experiences illuminate age-related factors and their many intersections. While several contributing authors address and problematize the phenomenon of aging in mid-life and beyond, other authors tackle important issues that impact young dancers and dance professionals. 

Pam Musil, MA, is a professor emeritus of Dance, Brigham Young University, USA, and a former associate chair of the Department of Dance. As a post-retirement, she works as an independent researcher with interests that include human issues related to dance and literacy, education, gender, and age within populations that span grades 7-12, postsecondary dance education and beyond.

Doug Risner, Ph.D., MFA, professor of dance, distinguished faculty fellow, and director, MA in Dance and Theater Teaching Artistry at Wayne State University, USA, conducts research on the sociology of dance training and education. His book, Masculinity, Intersectionality and Identity: Why Boys (Don’t) Dance [2022], is published by Palgrave MacMillan.

Karen Schupp, MFA, is an associate professor of dance and an associate director of the Herberger Institute School of Music, Dance, and Theater at Arizona State University, USA. Her research interests include dance competition culture, dance curriculum and pedagogy in tertiary education, and equity across the spectrum of dance education.