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Abandoning Belly Dance: Leaving Female-Dominated Serious Leisure

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Although much scholarly attention has been devoted to examining the benefits and costs of leisure, few studies have investigated people who leave their leisure activities. Rather, leisure scholars typically conclude that benefits outweigh challenges, and people continue their leisure participation. Using qualitative interviews conducted in both 2006 and 2011 with ten former belly dancers, I explore why people leave a physically based, female-dominated artistic form of serious leisure. I show that women leave belly dance for a variety of social and psychological reasons, including having different goals, redefining the meaning of the dance, prioritizing other interests, financial challenges, and having familial responsibilities. Women also leave belly dance for physical reasons, such as aging and declining health. Beyond typical explanations of time and money, this study expands our understanding of why people may abandon leisure pursuits.

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Correspondence to Rachel Kraus.

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All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Ball State University Institutional Review Board (reference number 244943–3) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Kraus, R. Abandoning Belly Dance: Leaving Female-Dominated Serious Leisure. Int J Sociol Leis (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41978-020-00052-5

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  • Leisure
  • Leisure abandonment
  • Dance
  • Gender