Sex, Learning, and Dance Images

From Overture in: Hanna 1988: Dance, Sex and Gender :

“With the medium as part of the message, dance evokes, reinforces, and clarifies desires and fantasies, some of which would otherwise be incoherent. Holding up a mirror, dance says to us: Look at yourself or at how you might be. The image we see may be very pleasing, awkward, or even terrifying.


From the quotidian and special occasion, dance takes the lived agenda of needs, habits, and other actions and transforms the material into spotlighted kinetic illusions and realities.


This study, ambitious in scope, is only a beginning; it shows that dance images and their production should be taken seriously and questioned.” (p.xiii–xvi)

From Sex, Learning, and Dance Images in: Hanna 1988: Dance, Sex and Gender :

“[A] means of human adaptation to the environment is communication, the process of an individual or group intentionally sending a message to someone who infers a shared meaning and responds. As part of a human cultural communication system, dance may purposefully convey information or provide an open channel. Shared knowledge about the form, experience in its use, and information sufficiently lucid to be perceived through surrounding distractions or impediments are conditions for effectiveness. The dancer (encoder) makes ideas and feelings known to another (decoder) by means of a code held in common.

Kinetic patterns evince visualizations of social relations and sexual behavior. Even when a dancer intends only to explicate movement forms, the dancer’s body is said to disappear into the movement; even when the shape of the body is obscured by costume, signs and symbols of sexuality may be read into the dance and erotic or lustful feeling aroused. Critic Alan M. Kriegsman (1979) remarked that the sex appeal of ballet and modern dancers, their long slender legs, seductive torsos, bulging crotches, swooning dips, ecstatic leg splits, and so on, may win over those for whom ballet holds no other fascination.” (p.5)


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