The Effects of Masculinity in Professional Ballet

Sabrina Sellers : Sociology

Mentor: Jill Bakehorn, Sociology

Ballet has largely been recognized not only as a women-dominated profession but one that is coded as feminine in which both men and women navigate. Men in ballet, however, occupy a unique position, one studied by researchers eager to understand how men negotiate and perform their masculinity. These men perform a unique juggling act, going the extra mile to assert their masculinity due to the overwhelmingly feminine ways ballet is perceived by society. Despite this being the case, little work has been done on how the construction of masculinity in ballet affects gender dynamics between men and women in a field dictated by bodies, athleticism, and the ascription of femininity. Using in-depth interviews, Sabrina will explore how masculinity performed by professional, men ballet dancers affects interpersonal and professional peer relationships.