Two years has passed since our last list of recommendations for Christmas gifts for the dance lovers in your life (check it out here); time for another round-up of fascinating and enjoyable reads featured by Oxford Dance Writers, to ease your Christmas shopping travails or request for your own Christmas stocking… Special thanks to Maggie Watson whose many informative and insightful reviews will help you choose the ideal gift…

First up a couple of recent books to enthuse and inform aspiring dancers and balletomanes – perfect Christmas presents:

The Ballet Lover’s Companion, by Zoë Anderson. Yale University Press, 2015

Zoë Anderson has compiled 140 ballets in a comprehensive survey of the repertoire, organised historically and geographically.  A sumptuous and enjoyable gift; read Maggie Watson’s review here. You can buy this book here (more…)

Gender:  my initial thoughts were:  are we still talking about this? Isn’t it a bit overdone? I think it’s fair to say that it is a bit passé in academic circles. I for one, definitely overdosed on feminist texts at University, indulging in the likes of Simone De Beauvoir and Judith Butler, who talk about gender as fluid – a social construction which shifts with cultural change. It’s hard to know where to go from there… That said, it is true that there has not been anywhere near as much written about men and masculinity as there has about women and feminism.

Dance is a good place to start when addressing gender. It is a body-based art form which can flirt with boundaries and has an ability to transform bodies in space and time. In dance academia, it was Ramsay Burt’s seminal text The Male Dancer (1995) which really brought questions of masculinity to light, challenging representations of men in twentieth century dance.  With Burt’s text in mind, When Men Dance takes the conversation further, around the world in fact, looking not only at the West but the Middle East and Asia in particular. (more…)