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Becoming BeautifulBallroom Dance in the American Heartland$
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Joanna Bosse

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039010

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039010.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 05 June 2020

Introduction

Introduction

Becoming Beautiful

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Becoming Beautiful
Author(s):

Joanna Bosse

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252039010.003.0001

This book examines the transformative potential of ballroom dance, and especially how it can make anyone become beautiful. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with a local community of amateur ballroom dancers from the Regent Ballroom and Banquet Center in Savoy, Illinois, the book explores the intersection of notions of beauty and experience—the act of becoming beautiful through performance. It considers the ethnographic trope of becoming beautiful as an “expression” in the sense suggested by Victor Turner and Edward Bruner in their anthropological work on experience. It demonstrates how the contemporary performance of ballroom dance among amateurs generates feelings of positive personal transformation, of becoming beautiful. The book also discusses the dance hall as a social space where disparate groups come together to move in synchrony, along with the ways in which race, class, and gender converge in ballroom dancing. Finally, it provides detailed ethnographic data on the formation of affinity groups.

Keywords:   ballroom dance, ballroom dancers, Regent Ballroom and Banquet Center, Illinois, beauty, experience, becoming beautiful, performance, dance hall, affinity groups

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