Embodying precarity, pain and perfection: young dancers’ commitment to the ballet body as aesthetic project

Book chapter


Pickard, A. 2020. Embodying precarity, pain and perfection: young dancers’ commitment to the ballet body as aesthetic project. in: Pickard, A. and Risner, D. (ed.) Dance, Professional Practice, and the Workplace : Challenges and Opportunities for Dance Professionals, Students, and Educators. London Routledge, Taylor and Francis. pp. 22
AuthorsPickard, A.
EditorsPickard, A. and Risner, D.
Abstract

This chapter examines the embodied practices of young dancers and their aspirations to become professional, performing ballet dancers. It explores the social world of ballet, young dancers’ commitment to the social construction of the body as aesthetic project and some lived experiences of precarity, pain and perfection. Pierre Bourdieu’s conceptual schema of field, habitus and capital is used as a way of making greater sense of the social world of ballet, the relationship of a dancer’s body to the powerful ballet aesthetic and identity as a ballet dancer. Ten young dancers, five girls and five boys, all of whom want to be professional, performing ballet dancers, were interviewed in the context of their non-residential, elite ballet school. The findings and discussion are presented as integrated together with literature and suggest that young dancers’ perception and understandings are that the social world of ballet is about devoting yourself, your body and your mind to the art of ballet as an aesthetic project. The young dancers accepted and believed that ‘hard work’ will bring personal capital and enable success.

KeywordsBallet; Precarity; Pain; Perfection
Page range22
Year2020
Book titleDance, Professional Practice, and the Workplace : Challenges and Opportunities for Dance Professionals, Students, and Educators.
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis
Output statusIn press
Place of publicationLondon
SeriesRoutledge Theatre and Performance
ISBN 9780367421373
Publication dates
Print03 Feb 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted01 Oct 2019
Deposited04 Dec 2019
Related URLhttps://www.routledge.com/Dance-Professional-Practice-and-the-Workplace-Challenges-and-Opportunities/Pickard-Risner/p/book/9780367421373
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