Pioneers of Modern Dance for Men

by Georgina Gregory
(Preston Lancashire UK)

I am currently researching the relationship between popular music and dance and want to discover the roots of more masculine dance styles for men. So far I keep seeing references to Ted Shawn and his Men Dancers but are there other choreographers and theorists who have devoted their time to developing a specifically masculine style of dance? I am also trying to establish how and where street styles began to overlap with modern and contemporary dance. I would appreciate your answers.

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Apr 11, 2012
Answer from Maria
by: Maria

Dear Georgina,

I've read a good amount of dance history books and I've never heard of another choreographer (other than Ted Shawn) that has devoted specifically to find a masculine way of moving.
The Gay trend of the 1970s in the U.S. created life styles (which included dancing) that exaggerated what was then considered as masculine features. However, as far as I know, there was not an express purpose of generating masculinity.

If you are interested in a gender related issue, you might want to consider searching among the production of the cultural studies. The Spanish philosopher Beatriz Preciado, for example, works over gender and sex topics and teaches a course about the history of performance that touches that perspective. You might find articles or related written material by her somewhere in the web or at your net of libraries.

The fusion between street dances and modern or contemporary dance is a completely different topic. I've never done specific research on this but it is very probably that it could have happened from the very beginnings of street dances, in the New York Bronx of the 1970s.

If you want to find an answer about the very first time that happened, you might need to focus on New York and do a deep historical research there.

Another possibility is to choose a geographical region and find when and how the process happened there, without worrying about the original process in New York.

This sounds to me like a research project that is still in the moment of topic definition. If this is the case, I would recommend you to reduce the context for your subject as much as possible.
That will facilitate the process and will help you reach concrete answers.

I hope this helps,

Warm regards,

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