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The 'Female' Dancer: a soma-scientific approach
Available for pre-order from 10 May 2024

The 'Female' Dancer aims to question dancers’ relationships with ‘female’ through the examination and understandings of biological, anatomical, scientific, and self-social identity. The volume gathers voices of dance scientists, dance scholars, somatic practitioners, and dance artist-educators, to discuss some of the complexities of identities, assumptions and perceptions of a female dancing body in an intersectional and practically focused manner.

The book weaves a journey between scientific and somatic approaches to dance and to dancing. Part I: 'Bodily Knowledge' explores body image, hormones and puberty, and discussions around somatic responses to the concept of the gaze. Part II: 'Moving through Change', continues to look at strength, musculature, and female fragility, with chapters interrogating practice around strength training, the dancer as an athlete, the role of fascia, the pelvic floor, pregnancy and post-partum experiences and eco-somatic perceptions of feminine. In 'Taking up Space', Part III, chapters focus on social-cultural and political experiences of females dancing, leadership, and longevity in dance. Part IV: 'Embodied Wisdom' looks at reflections of the Self, physiological, social and cultural perspectives of dancing through life, with life’s seasons from an embodied approach.

Drawing together lived experiences of dancers in relationship with scientific research, this book is ideal for undergraduate students of dance, dance artists, and researchers, as well as providing dancers, dance teachers, healthcare practitioners, company managers and those in dance leadership roles with valuable information on how to support female identifying dancers through training and beyond.

Claire Farmer and Helen Kindred

PART I: Bodily knowledge

1. Growing up in dance: Experiencing the pubertal transition in leotard and tights

Siobhan Mitchell

2. Female dancer hormone health

Nicky Keay

3. Female dancers: food, nutrients and body composition

Jasmine Challis

4. Ballet culture and body image in recreational dance training

Rebekah Wall

5. A somatic approach to audiencing

Carolina Bergonzoni

6. Embodied experience of bodies with breasts 

Amelia Millward and James Brouner

PART II: Moving through change

7. Strength training considerations for female dancers

Claire Farmer

8. Pelvic floor considerations for female dancers through the lifespan

Brooke Winder

9. Improvising with the pain(s) of endometriosis

Kate March

10. The pregnant dancer

Chloe Hillyar

11. Fascia illuminated

May Kesler

12. FEMALEtraces

Helen Kindred and Sandra Sok

The embodied archive of the self

Celia Shaw Morris

PART III: Taking up space

13. Sustaining a dance career as a parent

Lucy McCrudden and Angela Pickard

14. Dancer (noun)—mother, daughter, sister, colleague, partner, warrior, sorceress, friend

Erica Stanton

15. Are you a leader? The L word that women in dance fear

Avatâra Ayuso

16. Coming out is a protest: A score for ritual queer emergence

Kars Dodds

17. Geometry of gender: Analysing the anatomical specifications of a Bharatanatyam dancer

Shreya Srivastava and Shilpa Darivemula

PART IV: Embodied wisdom

18. Foregrounding (the) self in dance practice

Gemma Harman and Jayne McKee

19. There’s wisdom in them bones—Moving beyond the shape

Janine Cappello

20. The trees, my pelvis and dancing through a life

Celeste Nazeli Snowber

21. Dancing to live

Stella Eldon

22. Body scapes: Celebrating seasonality of well‑being in somatic dialoguing with the natural world

Anna Dako in collaboration with Martina Polleros


Helen Kindred and Sandra Sok

Cover image for print.jpg

20% off with code AFLY01

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