Dance with Me

Dance with Me

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Rumba music starts and a floor full of dancers alternate clinging to one another and turning away. Rumba is an erotic dance, and the mood is hot and heavy; the women bend and hyperextend their legs as they twist and turn around their partners. They slide their feet along the floor toes first, transferring their weight from leg to leg, and settling their hips after each move to produce the rolling hip action, which is particularly visible in this slow-paced dance. Amateur and professional ballroom dancers alike compete in a highly gendered display of intimacy, romance and sexual passion. In Dance With Me, Julia Ericksen, a competitive ballroom dancer herself, takes the reader onto the competition floor and into the lights and the glamour of a world of tanned bodies and glittering attire, exploring the allure of this hyper-competitive, difficult, and often expensive activity.In this vivid exploration of the world of ballroom dance, accompanied by beautiful photographs of all levels of dancers, from the world's top competitors to social dancers, Ericksen examines the ways emotional labour is used to create intimacy between professional partners and between professionals and their students, illustrating how dancers purchase intimacy. She shows that, while at first glance, ballroom dancing presents a highly gendered face with men leading and women following, dancing also transgresses gender. Dancers press their bodies against those of strangers in ways that would be outrageous in the outside world, and while masculinity and dancing are thought to be incompatible and men who dance find their gender and sexuality suspect, dancers tell a story of heterosexual intimacy and desire; they aim for a moment when they dance as one.Tanned faces and bodies make dancers stand out better on the floor, because the bright lights can otherwise make a person look ... Dresses are embellished with hundreds and even thousands of contrastingcolored Swarovski crystals, glued by hand. Earrings, bracelets, and necklaces in matching stones add to the look.

Title:Dance with Me
Author:Julia A. Ericksen
Publisher:NYU Press - 2011


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