Dance Narratives and Fantasies of Achievement

  • Angela McRobbie
Part of the Youth Questions book series (YQ)


It is surprising how negligent sociology and cultural studies have been of dance. As a leisure practice, a performance art and as a textual and representational form, dance continues to evade analysis on anything like the scale on which other expressive forms have been considered. And while dance theory and dance criticism are well-developed fields in their own right they do not offer the kind of broader social and cultural analysis which is still so much needed. Dance history tends to be either empirical (and anecdotal) or else collapsed into the biographical details of great dancers. Some of this work is, of course, a useful resource for the sociologist of dance. It is here that we come across the many accounts of the impact of Isadora Duncan’s techniques, and the descriptions of the network of artists, painters and dancers, mostly Russian exiles who came to live in Paris in the early years of the century. The immensely interesting biography of Nijinsky, written by his widow in 1933 (with a postscript in the 1958 edition) provides a fascinating glimpse of dance culture and its links with the other high arts in the early years of the century.1


Ballet Dancer Youth Culture Young Black Male Dance Style Family Romance 
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  1. Streatfield, Noel, Ballet Shoes, Harmondsworth, Puffin, 1984.Google Scholar

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© Angela McRobbie 1991

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  • Angela McRobbie

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