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The Bodies of Others: Drag Dances and Their Afterlives
Selby Wynn Schwartz2019
The Bodies of Others explores the politics of gender in motion. From drag ballerinas to faux queens, and from butoh divas to the club mothers of modern dance, the book delves into four decades of drag dances on American stages. Drag dances take us beyond glittery one-liners and into the spaces between gender norms. In these backstage histories, dancers give their bodies over to other selves, opening up the category of realness. The book maps out a drag politics of embodiment, connecting drag dances to queer hope, memory, and mourning. There are aging étoiles, midnight shows, mystical séances, and all of the dust and velvet of divas in their dressing-rooms. But these forty years of drag dances are also a cultural history, including Mark Morris dancing the death of Dido in the shadow of AIDS, and the swans of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo sketching an antiracist vision for ballet. Drawing on queer theory, dance history, and the embodied practices of dancers themselves, The Bodies of Others examines the ways in which drag dances undertake the work of a shared queer and trans politics.