Pointes, Politics and Meanings: Re-Reading Ballerinas as Embodied Translations of Modernity-Inspired Nationalisms

  • Katherine Mazurok
Keywords: classical ballet, nationalism, embodied translations, gender, embodiment


Classical ballet makes meaning with its audience through an aesthetic that is produced through intersections of discourses of race, gender and sexuality. The particular modes of interaction of these discourses lie within modernity-inspired nationalisms. As such, the ballet bodies that produce, sustain and perpetuate such an aesthetic remain inscribed with these discourses. This article argues that ballet bodies are just this: embodied translations of modernity-inspired nationalisms. Using Lefevre’s idea of rewriting, I demonstrate how classical ballets manifest as rewritings of external discursive forces onto classical ballet bodies, and that the aesthetics within which these bodies are identified are made possible through discursive understandings of race, gender and sexuality inherent to modernity.