I am a dance historian and theorist and my work is concerned with understanding twentieth and twenty-first century dance within its social, historical and political contexts, particularly focusing on gender issues. This is my a lecture which I gave at De Montfort University on 7th February 2009.
It discusses Lea Anderson's 2004/5 revival of her 1989 piece Greetings as part of the programme Double Take. Greetings, which draws on imagery from the Marx Brothers, Morecambe and Wise and other male comedy acts, takes a humorous look at the way male bonding takes place through the way men greet one another. When initially performed in 1989 by two men, one of whom was an untrained and unskilful dancer, part of its humour depended on expansive male clumsiness. Its humour gently hints at the lenient way in which society excuses most men for failing to live up to what is in effect an unattainable masculine ideal. Its later revival by women dancers complicates what had initially been a relatively straightforward, if critical examination of the performance of masculinity. By doing so it created a humorous space in which it became temporally possible for women dancers to escape social norms and perform alternative identities.