Chapter

Choreographing Masculinity

Anthony Shay

in When Men Dance

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780195386691
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199863600 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195386691.003.0010
Choreographing Masculinity

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Anthony Shay describes and analyzes the attempted erasure of many kinds of traditional male dance styles in Iran, Egypt, and Uzbekistan. Realizing that Western colonial powers reacted negatively to what they perceived as effeminate and indecent in male dancing, many postcolonial political and cultural leaders sought to rid their traditional dance forms of any overt sexuality or, particularly, any activity that hinted at homosexuality in the dance world. In order to achieve parity with the former colonial powers, who were both hated and valorized, choreographers from state‐supported dance companies in these three areas created new, hypermasculine movement vocabularies that replaced much of what had been traditional. Shay details shifts in perception of older dancers, as well as the movement mechanisms and choreographic strategies employed by the state‐supported choreographers to erase the past.

Keywords: Iran; Egypt; Uzbekistan; state‐supported dance; hypermasculine; homosexuality; choreographic erasure

Chapter.  11897 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Dance

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