Power, Principles and Processes
Edited by James K. Beggan and Scott T. Allison
Chapter 11: Does the “zipless dance” exist? Leadership, followership, and sexuality in social dancing
Partnered social dancing (such as swing, salsa, and waltz) represents a form of serious leisure that has a close connection to issues at the intersection of leadership and sexuality. Within the tradition of social dance, roles as lead or follow are assigned purely on the basis of biological sex, with men leading and women following. Conformity to these roles represents an at least tacit acceptance of gender stereotypes, with men perceived as agentic and decisive and women perceived as perceptive and accommodating. Despite the close contact inherent in social dancing, many dancers adhere to the belief that dancing, while intimate, does not possess a covert, let alone an overt, sexual component. In this analysis we explore the plausibility of this belief and examine its implications with regard to the romantic and social lives of dancers.
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