Erotic Movement On Stage In Contemporary Ballet


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Erotic Movement On Stage In Contemporary Ballet

  1. 1. Erotic Movement on Stage in Contemporary Ballet<br />Diondria Dixon<br />Contemporary Repertory<br />Final Research Project<br />1<br />
  2. 2. Thesis<br />I want to research choreography that uses erotic sexual movements and themes in contemporary ballet as a way to be artistically creative.<br />2<br />Photo: Michael Shannon's “Sarabande Pas De Duex” <br />
  3. 3. Erotic?<br />Definition: of, devoted to, or tending to arouse sexual love or desire (from<br />Erotic dance is the act or the attempt to move in a way that resembles or portrays sex and/or sexuality.<br />Photo: Larry Keigwin’s Mattress Suite<br />3<br />
  4. 4. History of Contemporary Ballet<br />The history of contemporary ballet starts with George Balanchine and Twyla Tharp, because he was the creator and she was a big part of the growth of this “style” of dance. <br />Contemporary ballet is a mixture of classical ballet technique, post-modern dance and lyrical. <br />The traditional use of relating to the music and pointe shoes is still used but more floor work is incorporated. <br />4<br />
  5. 5. History of the erotic movement…<br />5<br />Erotic movement in dance in not a new trend but a growing one.<br />“Non-Western” or “exotic” dance forms are being looked at to innovate and change classical forms to relate more to “real life” situations and social roles. <br />Erotic movement in dance tends to be highly commercialize in music videos, movies, and TV shows (ex. Chicago, Take the Lead, etc.)<br />Photo: (Top) From Michael Shannon's website and (bottom) from Alberta Ballet’s Shakespeare's Othello (2007).<br />
  6. 6. History cont…<br />This exotic way of dancing has lead to the exploration of homosexuality, asexuality, androgyny, and trans-sexuality, especially in the 90s.<br />“More frequently, dancing stimulates sexual fantasy acted out beyond the performer – audience exchange.” (Hanna)<br />John Rockwell (1976) says that “sex clearly functions as a motor force for the arts…a dancer…projects a sexual aura.”<br />6<br />
  7. 7. History cont…<br />Natalie Abrahami said it best in her article titled “Sex on stage is best done through dance.”:<br />“As soon as we see a man and a woman on stage, any dynamic between them, even if they never speak a word, will invariably be interpreted as a relationship.”<br />This can explain why anytime there is physical contact on stage, audiences sometimes assume a sexual relationship, but the what is interesting to see is how a choreography uses this to his/her advantage and creates an sensual, sometimes uncomfortable, atmosphere for the audience.<br />7<br />
  8. 8. Michael Shannon’s “Sarabande Pas De Duex”<br />The reason I selected this video is because it is very sensual and the dancers are very skilled in staying connected to each other.<br />There are constant pauses in several positions that are viewed as sexual. In my opinion, it looks like an artistic play with positions of the Karma Sutra. <br />The lighting in the beginning resembles light coming in through a bedroom window and the couple is woken by the light.<br />8<br />
  9. 9. Michael Shannon’s “Sarabande Pas De Duex”<br />There are very few moments that the couple are parted from each other, they are one entity.<br />The woman actually has more control, because all the focus is on her as she starts and ends sitting on top and she “uses” him throughout the piece. <br />9<br />
  10. 10. Michael Shannon’s “Sarabande Pas De Duex”<br />10<br />Click For Video<br />
  11. 11. Yesid Lopez’s “Amor Porteño ”<br />This video not only supports my thesis and supports the theme of this presentation, but it also supports the idea that the movement of the dancer and the energy can read sexual besides being half naked on stage.<br />The music sounds like a tango, which is a very “exotic” dance, and the lighting makes the mood of the piece very sensual before any dance movement is made by either the lead male or female dancer.<br />11<br />
  12. 12. Yesid Lopez’s “Amor Porteño ”<br />The contact between the two dancers in the beginning is not at all sensual despite the constant partnering between them.<br />Soon, however, as if they were taking their time to get to know one another, the movements takes a turn for something more adult. <br />The male dancer makes occasional gestures of caressing the woman's face and even seems almost kiss her on the neck. <br />Then they get to a position where he is hovering above the woman, gyrating his hips and she lays on the floor. <br />12<br />
  13. 13. Yesid Lopez’s “Amor Porteño ”<br />The feel of this piece is more romantic and not as carnal or graphic as Michael Shannon’s work.<br />It is interesting to see how as a viewer, I can feel the sexual tension as much as I did with Shannon’s piece, yet the dancers where fully clothed this time.<br />13<br />
  14. 14. Yesid Lopez’s “Amor Porteño ”<br />14<br />Click For Video<br />
  15. 15. Larry Keigwin’s Mattress Suite, “Straight Duet”<br />This video is the reason why I chose to research this topic even though it is more contemporary modern than ballet in my opinion.<br />I did not focus on this piece because of it being so obvious.<br />When parents explain sex to children, they say when a man and a woman having relations and almost all of the time, on a bed. In one sentence, I just described the scene of Larry Keigwin’s“Straight Duet”.<br />15<br />
  16. 16. Larry Keigwin’s Mattress Suite, “Straight Duet”<br />The scene is of a man and a woman on a plan mattress.<br />He is in boxers and she is in a bra and some type of lingerie bottom.<br />The movement type is very aggressive and athletic and not at all graceful, sensual, or creating a feeling of eroticism. <br />The sexuality of this piece is because of the animalistic, almost like wrestling, movements that is done on the top of this bed.<br />16<br />
  17. 17. Larry Keigwin’s Mattress Suite<br />*Library Video<br />17<br />
  18. 18. Conclusion<br />Erotic movement in contemporary ballet is not a trend but an innovation of classical forms blended with “exotic” dance forms. <br />Refer to Videos<br />Summarize<br />18<br />Photo: Eifman Ballet in rehearsal.<br />
  19. 19. Bibliography<br />Abrahami, Natalie. "Sex on Stage Is Best Done through Dance." Rev. of "Unbroken at the Gate" by Alexandra Wood. Web log post. Natalie Abrahami, 4 Feb. 2009. Web. 1 May 2010. <>.<br />Alderson, Evan. "Sexuality and Dance." Dance Chronicle. 2nd ed. Vol. 12. Taylor & Francis, 1989. 268-76. Print.<br />Amor Porteño., 18 Dec. 2007. Web. 18 Apr. 2010. <>.<br />Configuration Dance Theatre, 2008. MICHAEL SHANNON Contemporary Ballet Choreography "Pas De Deux to Bach" CONFIGURATION DANCE THEATRE., 06 June 2009. Web. 17 Apr. 2010. <>.<br />19<br />
  20. 20. Bibliography<br />Hanna, Judith Lynne. "Sex, Learning, and Dance Images." Dance, Sex and Gender: Signs of Identity, Dominance, Defiance, and Desire. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1988. 3-7. Print.<br />"Introduction." Asia Pacific Studies: The Body In Asia. Ed. Bryan S. Turner and Zheng Yangwen. Vol. 3. Berghahn, 2009. 11-12. Print.<br />"Michael Shannon Official Website." Michael Shannon Choreographer Filmmaker. Web. 17 Apr. 2010. <>.<br />RTÉ and An Chomhairle Ealaíon, 2008. Match., 18 Jan. 2008. Web. 17 Apr. 2010. <>.<br />20<br />
  21. 21. Images<br />Alberta Ballet's "Othello" Digital image. Calgary. City Guide. CA. 26 Sept. 2007. Web. 1 May 2010. <>.<br />Been There Done That...Act 1, Scene 1, Welcome to Life. Digital image. Michael Shannon Choreography. 3 May 2009. Web. 1 May 2010. <>.<br />Been There Done That. Digital image. Michael Shannon Choreography. 3 May 2009. Web. 1 May 2010. <>.<br />Eifman Ballet in Rehearsal. Digital image. Eifman Ballet Review from Eric Taub, Apr. 2007. Web. 1 May 2010. <>.<br />21<br />
  22. 22. Images<br />Larry Keigwin's "Straight Duet" Digital image. OFFOFFOFFDance. Quinn Batson, 4 Mar. 2003. Web. 1 May 2010. <>.<br />What’s the Pointe? Digital image. The New York Times. Julieta Cervantes, 14 May 2008. Web. 1 May 2010. <>.<br />Yesid Lopez. Digital image. Scene Interactive: Yesid Lopez. Web. 1 May 2010. <>.<br />22<br />