Dressing the dancer: identity and belly dance students.

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Dressing the dancer: identity and belly dance students.

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Dressing the Dancer: Identity and Belly Dance Students Dress is a primary tool in the public presentation of the self (Stone, 1962). Clothing, grooming, and the physical appearance of the dressed body contribute to self image in both professional and recreational settings. Attending belly dance classes is a popular leisure activity among American women, and for many, dress accouterments are a significant part of the class experience. Dressing of the self for recreational events gives individuals the opportunity to express alternate aspects of the self not typically evident in other social settings and provides an opportunity for female socialization. The appearance of vendors selling specialized dancewear for classes, seminars, and workshops suggests that dress plays a significant role for students at all levels of belly dance activity, not just among those who perform professionally. This study examines the types of dress worn for belly dance classes and the motivations for dress choices made by students learning to belly dance from professional instructors in dance classes, seminars, and workshops. The study will further investigate how dress contributes to the expression of identity in the belly dance class context. The methods used for this study are participant observation at locations and events where belly dance classes, workshops, and seminars are held as well as half-hour interviews with students attending those events. The procedure and interview schedule have been approved by the Institutional Review Board, study #0804P29690


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2010. Major: Design. Advisors: Joanne Eicher, Elizabeth Bye. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 144 pages, appendices A-C.

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Deppe, Margaret Anne. (2010). Dressing the dancer: identity and belly dance students.. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/91983.

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