Ballroom and Latin American Dancing, Gender and Emotions

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: F206
Oral Presentation
Vicki HARMAN , Centre for Criminology and Sociology, Royal Holloway University of London, Surrey, United Kingdom
Ballroom and Latin American dancing has a long history and is practised across generations. It also has distinctive roles for men and women, traditionally with the man leading (setting the timing and deciding the figures to be danced) and the woman following (performing the figures indicated by her partner). Drawing on ethnographic research at dancing competitions in England, this paper considers the manifestation of emotions in Ballroom and Latin American dancing. It argues that competitive Ballroom dancing can be regarded as a form of serious leisure where a complex mix of emotions are experienced, including excitement, anticipation, disappointment and reconciliation. Significantly, for its participants Ballroom dancing offers both ‘thrills’ (sharply exciting, memorable events) and ‘flow’ (see Stebbins, 2008). At the same time, the management of emotions can be seen as key to success. The paper considers emotions at Ballroom dancing competitions and the extent to which their manifestation is linked with gender.