Seeing futures in ballet: the storylines of four student ballet dancers

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Discourse, 2015, 36 (1), pp. 53 - 68
Issue Date:
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© 2013 Taylor & Francis. This paper explores the storylines of four student ballet dancers who attend a specialist performing arts secondary school and who, in differing ways, envisage futures which ‘look straight at ballet’. When decisions about schooling intermingle with long-held imaginings of futures in ballet, thought is provoked about ways the young adolescents embody and express notions of becoming. A Deleuzian lens is employed to explore assemblages of the self through the deterritorialisation that is provoked when unforeseen images emerge and imaginings are challenged. The data discussed in this paper include interview transcripts and pictures participants have drawn of themselves. The analysis uses notions of rhizomatic becoming and positions students' decision-making in oscillation between deterritorialisation and reterritorialisation as new languages make sense of how a future in ballet is configured from different perspectives. Themes of being in love with ballet and identities of dancers/non-dancers are negotiated through the data. As talented ballet students are compelled to move away from schooling in order to move closer to their future, concepts of schooling are problematised. Understandings of rhizomatic structures offer insight into the working out of desires, particularly in the context of a specialist performing arts school.
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