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January 4, 2018
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v2.1 Reference

The Evolving Feminine Ballet Body

Dance has become increasingly visible within contemporary culture: just think of reality TV shows featuring this art form. This shift brings the ballet body into renewed focus. Historically both celebrated and critiqued for its thin, flexible, and highly feminized aesthetic, the ballet body now takes on new and complex meanings at the intersections of performance art, popular culture, and fitness. The Evolving Feminine Ballet Body provides a local perspective to enrich the broader cultural narratives of ballet through historical, socio-cultural, political, and artistic lenses, redefining what many consider to be "high art." Scholars in gender studies, folklore, popular culture, and cultural studies will be interested in this collection, as well as those involved in the dance world.

Contributors: Kelsie Acton, Marianne I. Clark, Kate Z. Davies, Lindsay Eales, Pirkko Markula, Carolyn Millar, Jodie Vandekerkhove

About the Authors

A dancer and instructor, Pirkko Markula is Professor of socio-cultural studies of physical activity at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.


"Editors and contributors examine perceptions of femininity through the magnifying lens of classical dance. They are not ballet critics; they number dancers, instructors and sociologists. Yet the conclusions are stark.... "The Evolving Feminine Ballet Body" is fresh and compelling." [Full article at]—Holly Doan, Blacklock's Reporter

"In this unique text, Markula and Clark have edited a collection of essays that explore the transformation of the ballet body alongside an inquiry into the history and meaning of ballet. In addition to being dancers themselves, the contributors are scholars from a range of backgrounds, including gender studies, occupational therapy, and kinesiology.... Of particular interest is the book's emphasis on the different ways ballet dancers experience their bodies.... A fascinating work." C. Hauff, CHOICE Magazine, November 2018—C. Hauff, CHOICE Magazine

" for dance research coming from outside a dance studies context, the dance expertise of these authors grounds the work, giving it additional credence. Here, 'evolving' refers to certain specific and contextual mediatizations and negotiations of this oft-celebrated and sometimes vilified 'feminine ballet body' in decidedly contemporary contexts."—P. Megan Andrews, University of Toronto Quarterly, Summer 2020

9781772123340 : the-evolving-feminine-ballet-body-markula-clark-acton
Paperback / softback
228 Pages
$27.99 USD

Other Titles by Pirkko Markula

The Creation of iGiselle

edited by Nora Stovel, with contributions by Vadim Bulitko, Wayne DeFehr, Christina Gier, Pirkko Markula, Mark Morris, Sergio Poo Hernandez, Emilie St. Hilaire, Laura Sydora
Jan 2019 - University of Alberta Press
$38.99 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles in PERFORMING ARTS / Dance / Classical & Ballet

The Art of Ballet Accompaniment

Gerald R. Lishka, foreword by Kyra Nichols
Nov 2022 - Indiana University Press
$35.00 USD - Hardback

The Rite of Spring at 100

edited by Severine Neff, Maureen Carr, Gretchen Horlacher, foreword by Stephen Walsh, with John Reef, with contributions by Stephanie Jordan, Gabriele Brandstetter, Millicent Hodson, Annegret Fauser, Mary E. Davis, Brigid Cohen, William...
May 2017 - Indiana University Press
$50.00 USD - Hardback