Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

Faculty

Faculty of Education & Arts

First Advisor

Maggi Phillips

Abstract

Evidence suggests that males receive more opportunities, awards and dominate the dance scene in terms of artistic directorship of high visibility, large budget contemporary dance companies within Australia. This research investigates why and how males have come to be the architects of the identity of dance and the factors which may inhibit a counterpart female's likelihood of assuming the same role. Much of this paper deals with constructing hypotheses for how gender disparities in contemporary dance may have come about. In order to devise informed hypotheses, I have gathered data on government funding and national dance awards. In addition interviews were carried out with various dance artists to provide further insight. This information appears throughout this paper combined with findings from previous studies and articles from organisations such as The Gender Project. My research reveals that various factors can contribute to a male/female dance artist's career progression. Factors such as the attention and opportunities given to male dancers during their training, socialisation processes, the pressure and/or desire to fill traditional roles and the different ways males and females can be portrayed and perceived. In response to these findings a series of 'suggested solutions' have been explored in order to achieve greater gender balance. These 'solutions' involve recommendations for dance educators, choreographers, training and supporting organisations, presenters and the dance community which, in tum, reflect on the greater society. Although these 'solutions' are beneficial guidance points, in my opinion, it will still take some time before equality is achieved as change involves shifting society's overall attitudes towards dance and gender.

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