Re-Thinking Ballet Pedagogy: Approaching a Historiography of Fifth Position

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ideal body, fifth position, ballet, pedagogy

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This article addresses the use of the fifth position in historical and current dance training practices with particular emphasis upon examining the 180° aesthetic and its hegemonic, idealized persistence in dancing bodies, as a marker of perfection and “beauty”. Historical research is interwoven with practice-based experience and dance medicine research to reveal the conflicted issues within the pedagogy, its rationale, ideology and continued practice in dance classrooms. The author argues for a more thorough the examination of how traditional dance practices and their dominant aesthetics exert power and control in the psyches of today’s dancing bodies, urging pedagogical re-evaluation and evolution.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Research in Dance Education, v. 16, issue 3, p. 245-258