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Albion's DanceBritish Ballet during the Second World War$
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Karen Eliot

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199347629

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199347629.001.0001

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The Dancers’ Experience

The Dancers’ Experience

Chapter:
(p.59) 3 The Dancers’ Experience
Source:
Albion's Dance
Author(s):

Karen Eliot

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199347629.003.0004

Ballet companies were created to cater to the public need for morale-boosting entertainment. The expanded performing opportunities allowed women to continue dancing and to avoid being called up for military duties or national service, a waiver most appreciated. For male ballet dancers, though, the war was sometimes a more debilitating experience, and in many cases it highlighted their estrangement from the lives of their compatriots. For men, their historically marginalized status, their elite training, and, for some, their homosexuality made fitting in with their fellow Britons in the military a reminder of the exclusive world they had left behind. The years of lost training and experience took their toll. Ballet was the war work of women. While women dancing during the war found their capacities expanded, for men, the negative effects of the war would reverberate for decades.

Keywords:   female ballet dancers, male ballet dancers, war work, national service, homosexuality

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