ABSTRACT

I hope to contribute with this chapter to our understanding of how dance can propose a theory concerning gendered identity – how it offers to participants and viewers a conception of what gender might be and how it works. Moving alongside the many dance scholars, including myself, who have argued for consideration of the gendered significance of dancing, this chapter functions, in particular, to evaluate gender’s workings and effects in globalized culture, in a moment where popular images of femininity from Hollywood to Bollywood circulate rapidly through diverse mediatized formats. 1 The focus of my inquiry is two recent works, one by British choreographer Lea Anderson, and the other by the Japanese performance collective KATHY, that each draw upon images from Hollywood films to mount powerful critiques of contemporary femininity. 2 As a way to situate their arguments concerning gender, I detour through two canonical works by US choreographers Martha Graham and Trisha Brown. Emblematic of key moments in the history of dance modernism, their theorizations of gender provide historical perspective on the contemporary choreographic practices of Anderson and KATHY.