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'The Politics of Embodied Freedom in Early Modern Dance and Suffragette Protest'

Professor Ramsay Burt, Professor of Dance History at De Montfort University gives his inaugural lecture.

Professor Ramsay Burt's work is concerned with understanding twentieth and twenty-first century dance within its social, historical and political contexts, particularly focusing on gender issues. Questions about the expression of freedom and individuality, that are popularly associated with modern dance, began to take their current form around the beginning of the twentieth century. This was a time when exponents of 'natural dancing' were arguing for a return to nature, while British suffragists were campaigning for the freedom to participate fully in national political life, the militants almost literally throwing their bodies into the fight. In this lecture Professor Burt applies ideas about corporeality, developed by dance scholars, to analyse the treatment of suffragette hunger-strikers. What this reveals about the embodiment of freedom at that time is then used to analyse two contrasting examples: the sometimes conservative values underpinning the development of 'natural dance'; and the radical innovations introduced in Nijinsky's controversial 1913 ballet The Rite of Spring.

Ramsay Burt initially studied Fine Art at Leeds University. While teaching Art History at art colleges, he began writing dance criticism for The Yorkshire Post and for specialist dance magazines. His first book The Male Dancer (1995), based on his PhD thesis, became the standard work on the subject and is still in print. In 1999 he was visiting Professor at New York University, and in 2002, with Professor Susan Foster, he founded the journal Discourses in Dance. In 2005 he became Professor of Dance History in the Faculty of Humanities.


Professor Ramsay Burt | talks


Date and Time:

27 May 2010 at 6:00 pm


1 hour



Professorial Lecture Series
De Montfort University
The Gateway

More at Professorial Lecture Series...




Available from:

To book a place or for more information please email Daniel Jones at djones@dmu.ac.uk or telephone 0116 257 7452

Additional Information:

Places must be booked in advance as there are limited places. There will be a free drinks reception afterwards for guests to be able to further discuss the event.

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