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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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Joy, Flow, and Personal Transformation

Joy, Flow, and Personal Transformation

(p.125) 5 Joy, Flow, and Personal Transformation
Becoming Beautiful

Joanna Bosse

University of Illinois Press

This chapter locates ballroom dance's transformative potential in the affective experience of synchronized performance, with particular emphasis on how it brings pleasure and feeling of well-being to the dancer. It examines the radical shift in awareness that occurs during the dance event itself, where feelings of joy and euphoria displace feelings of self-consciousness and worry over everyday life. It considers Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's concept of optimal experience and flow in order to understand the events that can lead to such states of awareness as well as appreciate the appeal of ballroom dance as play. It also discusses the notion, advanced by Csikszentmihalyi and Stith Bennett, that play is grounded in the “concept of possibility” and is action that generates action, creating a unified experience flowing from one moment to the next. The chapter argues that flow and flow states generate feelings of positive personal transformation, of becoming beautiful.

Keywords:   ballroom dance, synchronized performance, self-consciousness, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, optimal experience, personal transformation, personal transformation, becoming beautiful

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