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The aim in this article is to write an evocative ethnography of the embodiment of ballet as a cultural practice. The authors draw on their fieldwork at the Royal Ballet (London), where they conducted 20 in-depth interviews with ballet staff (and watched "the company at work" in class, rehearsal, and performance). They explored dancers' (n = 9) and ex-dancers' (who are now teachers, administrators, and character dancers; n = 11) perceptions of their bodies, dancing careers, and the major changes that have occurred in the world of ballet over their professional lives. They focus on their accounts of the homogenizing effects of globalization on the culture of the Royal Ballet. Although this research is set within the elite and narrow cultural field of dance, the authors hope that it is an interesting addition to broader debates on the interrelationships between individuals and institutions, the body and society, and globalization and culture.


Institute for Religion, Politics, and Society

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Journal Article

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