Dancing Boys: High School Males in Dance

Dancing Boys: High School Males in Dance

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By Zihao Li
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2016
World Rights
192 Pages 30 Images
ISBN 9781442626324
Published Oct 2016
Online discount: 25%
 $27.95    $20.96
ISBN 9781442648678
Published Oct 2016
Online discount: 25%
 $65.00    $48.75
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442617469
Published Nov 2016
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $27.95

The challenges that young women go through in order to be successful in the world of dance are well known. However, little is known about the experiences of young men who choose to take dance classes in non-professional settings.

Dancing Boys is one of the first scholarly works to demystify the largely unknown challenges of adolescent males in dance. Through an ethnographic study of sixty-two adolescent male students, Zihao Li captures the authentic stories and experiences of boys participating in dance classes in a public high school in Toronto. Accompanied by the boys’ artwork and photographs and supported by a documentary-style video, the study explores their motivations for dancing, their reflections on masculinity and gender, and the internal and external factors that impact their decisions to continue to dance professionally or in informal settings. With the author’s reflections on his own journey as a professional dancer woven throughout, Dancing Boys will spark discussion on how and why educators can engage adolescent males in dance.

Zihao Li is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Macau. He has performed with the Guangdong Modern Dance Company, the Hong Kong Dance Company, the City Contemporary Dance Company, and the German Hamburg Ballet.

List of Figures

List of Tables



Chapter one: I am a Dancer

Chapter two: Boys in Dance

Chapter three: Where Are the Dancing Boys?

Chapter four: The Voices of the Dancing Boys

Chapter five: Transformation

Chapter six: Invisible Barriers

Chapter seven: Dance Experience & Class

Chapter eight: Show Time

Chapter nine: Dancing Through Our Lives

Chapter ten: Video Documentary on Adolescent Male Dance Students



“The case studies and analysis provided by Zihao Li in Dancing Boys will be the catalyst for future publications that directly address dance education both in and outside the mainstream training schools and performing arts conservatories.”

Henry Daniel, School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University

“Zihao Li has written a highly readable book with real insights and stories that need to be read by teachers and students alike.”

Ralph Buck, Dance Studies, National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries, University of Auckland