Stunning Males and Powerful Females

Stunning Males and Powerful Females : Gender and Tradition in East Javanese Dance

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In east Javanese dance traditions like Beskalan and Ngremo, musicians and dancers negotiate gender through performances where males embody femininity and females embody masculinity.

Christina Sunardi ventures into the regency of Malang in east Java to study and perform with dancers. Through formal interviews and casual conversation, Sunardi learns about their lives and art. Her work shows how performers continually transform dance traditions to negotiate, and renegotiate, the boundaries of gender and sex--sometimes reinforcing lines of demarcation, sometimes transgressing them, and sometimes doing both simultaneously. But Sunardi's investigation moves beyond performance. It expands notions of the spiritual power associated with female bodies and feminine behavior, and the ways women, men, and waria (male-to-female transvestites) access the magnetic power of femaleness.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 154.94 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 408.23g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252038959
  • 9780252038952

Review quote

"Makes important contributions to gender studies and queer studies as well as to ethnomusicology and dance ethnology. In clear language and through richly textured ethnographic work, Sunardi develops a nuanced account of an ever-changing landscape of gender ideology as it is negotiated through the study, performance, and discourse of dance in east Java."
--Henry Spiller, author of Erotic Triangles: Sundanese Dance and Masculinity in West Java
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About Christina Sunardi

Christina Sunardi is an associate professor of music at the University of Washington, Seattle.
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