What a Difference...Differences Make

By A. W. Brian De Silva.

Published by The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

We are born into our gender. As we grow through childhood, our gender is constantly reinforced by all that we see, all of whom we see and meet, and the society we grow up in and into. By ages six or seven our gender is firmly in place. From then on we grow into our gender identity and begin to conform to prevailing gender constructs. Social Cognitive Theory identifies the variables that interact throughout our lives to render us gender resonant (to be male). This paper presents the experiences of seven such men who have chosen careers as dancer/choreographers, a career deemed by many in society to be gender dissonant, as men do not dance; only women do. This paper finds that ultimately it is the strength and intensity of the relationship between their passion for dance (borne out of their strong sense of self and self-identity) and the variables that assist in maintaining this passion for dance, that helps them overcome the constraining variables that interact to compel them to be gender resonant, as against being gender dissonant (to be male dancers).

Keywords: Male Dancers and Choreographers, Gender, Identity, Cultural Identity

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies, Volume 10, Issue 3, 2012, pp.77-89. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 377.325KB).

Dr. A. W. Brian De Silva

Teaching Assistant, Department Of Accounting and Finance, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Dr. De Silva just graduated with a Ph.D. in education (arts administration), and is interested in researching the social and sexual implications of adult identity formation within individuals choosing careers in the performing arts. Dr. De Silva's main area of research focus is the genre of classical and contemporary dance, and key areas of interest are identifying the difference(s) in the development of heterosexual and non-heterosexual male dancers in their careers as dancer / choreographers. The major aim is to determine, identify, and manage the key variables to assist these dancers in their training and eventual transition into professional dancing and choreographing careers.