Exploring Diverse Perspectives on How Sexualization Impacts Youth in Competitive Dance (78564)

Session Information: Sexuality and Gender in the Arts
Session Chair: Lisa Sandlos

Saturday, 25 May 2024 12:15
Session: Session 2
Room: Room 708
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

Over the past three decades, there has been a marked increase in sexualized dancing performed at competition performances and recitals across Canada and the United States. Sexualization of girl dancers is a widely recognized and debated issue in competitive dance, but more research is needed to determine how dance studio communities understand the impacts of sexualization on girls, as well as on boys and non-binary youth in dance. Drawing on data from feminist ethnographic interviews and focus groups, this paper investigates the meanings young dancers (ages 12-18), parents of dancers, instructors and choreographers assign to sexualized dance movements and whether they connect sexualization to issues of identity development, body image, self-confidence, and relationships within the social world of competitive dance.

The paper also explores diverse perspectives within dance communities about related topics including: a) current thinking about training and performance practices within competitive dance schools in response to greater recognition of the need for greater equity, diversity, and inclusion, b) how the #MeToo movement has influenced issues of consent, self-confidence, and bodily autonomy in dance for youth, and c) the role social and digital media play in constructing young dancers as sexualized bodies. Findings from the ethnographic research will be used to ascertain whether changes to existing practices of training, performance, choreography or competition are desirable or needed, and will contribute to the development of resource materials to support dance studios and schools in having productive discussions about sexualization within their communities.

Lisa Sandlos, York University, Canada

About the Presenter(s)
Lisa Sandlos teaches and researches gender, sexuality, women's studies and dance at York University and the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education in Toronto. She is also a research associate at Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00