1st Edition

Reworking the Ballet
Counter Narratives and Alternative Bodies

ISBN 9780415976039
Published December 19, 2007 by Routledge
240 Pages

USD $44.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Challenging and unsettling their predecessors, modern choreographers such as Matthew Bourne, Mark Morris and Masaki Iwana have courted controversy and notoriety by reimagining the most canonical of Classical and Romantic ballets.

In this book, Vida L. Midgelow illustrates the ways in which these contemporary reworkings destroy and recreate their source material, turning ballet from a classical performance to a vital exploration of gender, sexuality and cultural difference.

Reworking the Ballet: Counter Narratives and Alternative Bodies articulates the ways that audiences and critics can experience these new versions, viewing them from both practical and theoretical perspectives, including:

  • eroticism and the politics of touch
  • performing gender
  • cross-casting and cross-dressing
  • reworkings and intertextuality
  • cultural exchange and hybridity.

Table of Contents

Introduction  Part 1: Approaching Reworkings of the Ballet in Theory and Practice  1. Reworking the Ballet: (En)countering the Canon  1.1 Reworking the Ballet  1.2 Defining the Terms of the Discourse  1.3 Reviewing Five Giselles  1.4 Counter Discourses and the Canon  1.5 Reconsidering the Past: Reworkings as Postmodern Historiography  1.6 Reworkings as Intertextual Practices  1.7 Towards a Definition of Reworkings  2. Canonical Crossings: Narratives and Forms Revisioned  2.1 Strategies of Dissonance: Moments of Sameness  2.2 Inverting Bodies: Reformulating the Dance Vocabulary  2.3 Re-Telling Tales: New Contexts, New Narratives  2.4 Gender Bending: Cross-Casting and Cross-Dressing  2.5 Feathered Pantaloons and Homoeroticism  2.6 Hyperbole and Eccentricity  2.7 The Heterosexual Matrix and Beyond  2.8 Strategies of Dispersal: Intertextuality and the Carnivalesque  Part 2: Re-Figuring the Body and the Politics of Identity  3. Female Bodies and the Erotic: Performativity, Becoming and the Phallus  3.1 Encounters Between Reworkings and Feminism  3.2 Lac de Signes (1983) and The Ballerina’s Phallic Pointe (1994) by Susan Leigh Foster  3.3 Looking-at-to-be-Looked-at-Ness: Performance and Spectacle  3.4 Trans-Contextualizing Bodies: Postmodern Parody and Hybridity  3.5 Parodic Comedy and the Performativity of Gender  3.6 The Phallus, the Penis, the Dildo and the Ballerina  3.7 O (a Set of Footnotes to Swan Lake) (2002) by Vida L Midgelow  3.8 Open Texts – Enacting Becomings  3.9 Hybrid Body – Plural Bodies – My Body  3.10 Breaking the Gaze – Inscribing a Haptic Presence  3.11 Eroticism and the Politics of Touch  4. Princely Revisions: Stillness, Excess and Queerness  4.1 Masculinities, the Male Dancer and Reworkings  4.2 The Hypochondriac Bird (1998) by Javier de Frutos  4.3 Swan Lake, 4 Acts (2005) by Raimund Hoghe  4.4 In the Gaps and Absences  4.5 Excess: De Frutos and Homoeroticism  4.6 Stillness and (Dis)ability: Hoghe and the Ontology of Dance  4.7 (Auto)corpography and (Beyond) Queer Theory  5. Intercultural Encounters: Flesh, Hybridity and the Exotic  5.1 Reworkings as Intercultural Discourse  5.2 Shakti and Swan Lake (1998)  5.3 Masaki Iwana and The Legend of Giselle (Jizeru-den) (1994)  5.4 Cultural (Ex)change and Hybridity  5.5 Orientalism and the Exotic  5.6 Enter the Silver Swan: Excess and the Erotic  5.7 Fleshly Metamorphosis and Becomings in Butoh  5.8 Commodification, Appropriation and the Global Market  6. Conclusion: Transgressive Desires  6.1 Reworkings as Canonical Counter-Discourse  6.2 The Double Gesture: Beyond the Binary of Otherness  6.3 Diversity and Difference: (Re)inscribing the Body  6.4 Pleasure and Power: The (Re)eroticised Body

View More



Dr. Vida L Midgelow is a Reader in Performance Studies and Dance at The University of Northampton, UK and Director of The Choreographic Lab. Her research activities cross between practice-as-research and traditional written modes. She has presented papers and toured her movement based works in the UK and internationally. She has particular expertise in current European dance practices, the radical reworking of the classics, gender and sexuality in performance, choreographic methodologies and improvisation. Her essay ‘Decentred Bodies: Postfeminist Corporealities Dance’ (in The Postfeminist Handbook, 2006) brings together several of these concerns. In recent years she has also made a number of choreographic installation pieces, these include; O (a set of footnotes to Swan Lake) and Threshold : Fleshfold.