A Queer History of the Ballet: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

A Queer History of the Ballet

1st Edition

By Peter Stoneley


224 pages

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Paperback: 9780415972802
pub: 2006-10-06
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pub: 2006-10-19
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Designed for students, scholars and general readers with an interest in dance and queer history, A Queer History of the Ballet focuses on how, as makers and as audiences, queer men and women have helped to develop many of the texts, images, and legends of ballet.

Presenting a series of historical case studies, the book explores the ways in which, from the nineteenth century into the twentieth, ballet has been a means of conjuring homosexuality – of enabling some degree of expression and visibility for people who were otherwise declared illegal and obscene.

Studies include:

  • the perverse sororities of the Romantic ballet
  • the fairy in folklore, literature, and ballet
  • Tchaikovsky and the making of Swan Lake
  • Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and the emergence of queer modernity
  • the formation of ballet in America
  • the queer uses of the prima ballerina
  • Genet’s writings for and about ballet.

Also including a consideration of how ballet’s queer tradition has been memorialized by such contemporary dance-makers as Neumeier, Bausch, Bourne, and Preljocaj, this is an essential book in the study of ballet and queer history.


'An interesting and thought provoking read for anyone interested in an alternative version of ballet history.' - Dancing Times

'A wealth of biographical knowledge and creative thought… [a] precise study of ballet's origins.' - The Gay and Lesbian Review

'Including fantastic photographs and an extensive list of references, this book is valuable as a reference work as well as a critical study… Highly recommended.' - CHOICE

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Components: Spaces, Bodies, Movement 2. Nuns and Fairies 3. Swans 4. Queer Modernity 5. New York and the "Closed Shop" 6. The Prima and Her Fans 7. Dance of the Sailors. Conclusion

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Dance / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General