© 2014

The Dangerous Lives of Public Performers

Dancing, Sex, and Entertainment in the Islamic World

  • Authors

About this book


Examining performers from the ancient Mediterranean world to the modern Islamic Middle East, including India and Pakistan, Shay explores the careers, artistic performances, and legacies of these individuals who were forced to produce entertainment and art for, and have sex with, any and all patrons.


Performing arts sexuality and homosexuality masculinity dance ancient Greece ancient Rome Mughal Empire Ottoman Empire Iran Egypt India Central Asia art colonialism dancing empire Greece individual Islam Medieval Literature mediterranean Middle Ages Middle East patrons performance

About the authors

Anthony Shay is Associate Professor of Dance at Pomona College, USA.

Bibliographic information


"The Dangerous Lives of Public Performers provides valuable insights into the complex history of what we think of as the Islamic/Middle Eastern world. It shows, for instance, that there was a great deal of continuity between ancient Greece and Rome with the values and practices that developed in this part of the world. Shay presents a fascinating foil to what we know in the field of dance studies about the history of dance in the West from the same Greek and Roman roots through Western Europe to contemporary dance in Europe and North America. He also illuminates intriguing differences with Western ideas regarding masculinity by examining such things as the role of hospitality, expression of emotion, and practice of bisexuality in certain time periods and places." - Naomi Jackson, Associate Professor, Arizona State University, USA