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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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The Classification of Style

The Classification of Style

(p.21) 1 The Classification of Style
Becoming Beautiful

Joanna Bosse

University of Illinois Press

This chapter introduces the reader to to the tenets of ballroom dance by focusing on the various classificatory systems used in social dances. It begins with a discussion of the “ballroom umbrella” and the wealth of symbolic resources it encompasses, first by considering dancesport and social dancing, followed by an analysis of International and American styles of ballroom performance. It then examines four themes that emerge from classificatory systems: an emphasis on a high degree of specialization in performance; the demonstration of control over the body and its movement; the rationalization of movement and the ideas articulated by it, especially as mediated by language and other symbols; and an association with Western Europe. The chapter suggests that dance classifications also function as social classifications that serve to stratify individuals and groups according to their perception of the social order. More specifically, they articulate the betwixt-and-between-ness that characterizes the American middle class.

Keywords:   ballroom dance, classificatory systems, movement, ballroom umbrella, dancesport, social dancing, performance, Western Europe, social order, middle class

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