What happens to the writing of dance history when issues of sexuality and sexual identity are made central? What happens to queer theory, and to other theoretical constructs of gender and sexuality, when a dancing body takes center stage? Dancing Desires asks these questions, exploring the relationship between dancing bodies and sexual identity on the concert stage, in nightclubs, in film, in the courts, and on the streets. From Nijinsky’s balletic prowess to Charlie Chaplin's lightfooted "Little Tramp," from lesbian go-go dancers to the swans of Swan Lake, from the postmodern works of Bill T. Jones to the dangers of same-sex social dancing at Disneyland and the ecstatic Mardi Gras dance parties of Sydney, Australia, this book tracks the intersections of dance and human sexuality in the twentieth century as the definition of each has shifted and expanded.
The contributors come from a number of fields (literature, history, theater, dance, film studies, legal studies, critical race studies) and employ methodologies ranging from textual analysis and film theory to ethnography. By embracing dance, and bodily movement more generally, as a crucial focus for investigation, together they initiate a new agenda for tracking the historical kinesthetics of sexuality.