UNIT ONE: Why Do We Dance? Assignment #4

1. UNIT ONE: Why Do We Dance?
Assignment #4 – Men in Dance – Due Monday 2/23/2015


Objective: To learn about the experience of men in Western concert dance through reading an article written by a male dance professional. To
consider the difficulties and benefits of being a male in concert dance and to examine these in light of prevalent gender roles in our society today. To articulate these ideas in written form.

READ textbook Chapter 5: “When Boys Dance” by Doug Risner

WRITE A SHORT ESSAY (200 words or more)
responding to the following questions regarding the article. For full credit, make specific references to your readings, rather than expressing onlyyour opinion.

-According to the article, what are the challenges for men in dance?

-According to the article, what kind of special treatment do men in dance often receive?

-Explain Risner’s comment that “men are at the center of a marginalized field”.

-Risner discusses the often-heard assertion that “dance is as hard as sports” and the effort to make concert dance more athletic to attract male participants. What are the pros and cons of this approach? Do you think this is
a good approach?

-Are certain dance styles more acceptable for men to perform than others? Explain.

(Be sure to credit the text for any direct quote. (Use standard MLA or APA writing style.)

Part B:

Objective: To view professional male dancers performing two different styles of dance. To discover one’s own preferences and biases regarding men in dance, while considering the context of our society’s
definitions of masculinity. To articulate these discoveries in written form.

WATCH the following two YouTube videos of men performing professional concert dance:

Rudolf Nureyev in Swan Lake:


Black Grace Dance Company:


WRITE A SHORT ESSAY (200 words or more): Compare and contrast the two dance styles. Describe the movement with clarity and specificity to support your argument. Consider the predominant perceptions of masculinity in our contemporary society. In what ways do either or both of these dance styles display these aspects of masculinity? In what ways do they conflict with the prevailing ideas of masculinity?

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