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Sorry I Don't DanceWhy Men Refuse to Move$

Maxine Leeds Craig

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199845279

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199845279.001.0001

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(p.193) Methodological Appendix

(p.193) Methodological Appendix

Source:
Sorry I Don't Dance
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

To learn about the meaning of dance in contemporary men’s lives I conducted in-depth interviews and participant observation. I interviewed fifty men aged eighteen to eighty-six. Some were recruited through announcements in university classes; others began with referrals from personal contacts. I located a couple of the men by going to a gay dance club, approaching men, introducing myself, and explaining the study to them. I asked the men I interviewed if they could refer me to other men and in some cases those referrals led to another interview. All of the interviews were recorded and transcribed. All but two of them were conducted in person. Two were conducted by telephone.

At the end of their interviews, men were given a brief questionnaire, which asked about age, current type of employment, race, ethnicity, sexuality, religious background and current religion, highest level of education, parents’ education, country of birth, and parents’ and grandparents’ country of birth. They were encouraged to use their own words in responses regarding sexual, racial, or ethnic identities and were invited to skip questions that asked about categories that were not meaningful to them.

The ages, races or ethnicities, and sexual identities of the men are listed in a table below. I followed their self-categorizations with regard to race, ethnicity, and sexuality. For example, I only identified a man as multiracial if he identified himself in that way. Within the text I refer to speakers’ class origins or class positions. Class is not listed in the table. Though I knew men’s current occupations, and individual and parental educational levels, many of their class trajectories were too complicated to characterize with (p.194) one word in a table. Occupations are listed in the table. The occupations of some interview subjects have been changed to ones of equivalent status to protect subjects’ anonymity. All names of persons quoted from interviews conducted for this book are pseudonyms.

In the interviews I asked men to talk about their lifelong experiences with popular forms of dance. Some were avid and regular dancers; others had not danced in decades. The interviews covered men’s childhood experiences dancing at home, school, and in neighborhood settings, and in adolescence and adulthood at dances, clubs, non-professional performances, and parties. Interviews were a particularly effective way to capture the place of dance in the imagination, the meaning of dance in men’s lives, the emotions dance recalls, and the fantasies it inspires. At a distance from the moment of performance, what remained were the strongest feelings associated with dancing and watching others dance.

I also attended two quarters of Dance 101, a ten-week dance survey course at an urban university in which students were introduced to modern, jazz, ballet, social dancing, and African dance. To protect the anonymity of the instructor and students I have changed the name of the class. As an “activity” rather than a lecture class, students learned the material primarily by attempting to do it. Dance 101 was a requirement for physical education majors who wished to work in educational settings. Students who aspired to be physical education teachers or high school coaches had to take it. Unlike most other university dance classes, Dance 101 regularly enrolled men. The first quarter, five of nine, and in the second quarter, five of fourteen students were men. In addition to observing these men in class, I conducted in-depth interviews with six of them.

During the two quarters in which I participated, nine of the ten men in Dance 101 were physical education majors who were in the class because it was a mandatory course. I participated with the instructor’s permission and introduced myself to the class at the first meeting. I explained that I was in the class because I was studying men and dance but that I would also participate in the class. During the first quarter I audited the course, which meant attending the classes and participating in all of the dance activities but not submitting assignments or taking exams. In the second quarter in order to fully experience the class, I enrolled for credit and like any other student, had to complete all assignments and received a letter grade. (p.195) (p.196)

Demographics of Men Interviewed

Pseudonym

Age

Race/Ethnicity

Sexual Identity

Occupation

Additional Information

Aaron

21

white/Jewish

heterosexual

student

Alberto

46

white

gay

bookkeeper

parents emigrated from Mexico

Allen

59

white/Jewish

gay

attorney

Alphonse

49

black

heterosexual

teacher’s aide

Andre

25

black

heterosexual

student

Avery

27

Black/Haitian

queer

student

parents emigrated from Haiti

Bill

47

white

heterosexual

manager

Brandon

51

Chinese

heterosexual

contractor

Brian

65

white

heterosexual

library director

Carter

33

black

heterosexual

college staff

father is white, mother black

Charles

32

multiracial

heterosexual

student

father is black, mother Filipina

Dennis

18

Chinese

bisexual

student

Douglas

23

black

heterosexual

student

Ernest

29

Caribbean/Filipino

heterosexual

teacher

father is black from St. Vincent, mother Filipina

Fred

86

white

heterosexual

scientist (ret.)

Gerald

21

Chinese

heterosexual

administrative assistant

born in Vietnam to ethnic Chinese parents

Gil

29

multiracial/Chicano

gay

teacher

Herb

56

white/Jewish

heterosexual

professor

Jamar

32

black

heterosexual

city government

Jed

63

white

heterosexual

professor

Jeremy

35

multiracial

gay

system administrator

father is white, mother Japanese

Justin

20

Mexican/white

heterosexual

student

father is Mexican, mother white

Kevin

44

white

heterosexual

business owner

Landon

43

black

gay

non-profit executive

Leo

50

Latino

heterosexual

corporate executive

Mark

59

white/Jewish

heterosexual

statistician

Marvin

58

white

heterosexual

professor

Milton

38

black

gay

researcher

Neil

54

white/Jewish

heterosexual

paralegal

Norman

55

white/Jewish

heterosexual

business owner

Ossie

27

white

gay

system administrator

Patrick

50

white

gay

college staff

Paul

50

white

heterosexual

business owner

Phil

31

white

heterosexual

warehouse worker

Quinn

26

black

queer

unemployed

Ralph

25

Latino

heterosexual

medical student

father is Mexican, mother Nicaraguan

Raymond

24

Chicano

heterosexual

student

Ren

21

Japanese

gay

student

Rick

46

white

heterosexual

therapist

Ryan

26

multi-ethnic

heterosexual

student

father is white, mother Filipina and Mexican

Stan

55

white

heterosexual

electrician

Timothy

21

white

bisexual

student

Tyler

20

multiracial

heterosexual

student

father is white, mother Chinese

Van

24

Vietnamese

gay

student

Victor

27

multiracial

heterosexual

ballroom dance instructor

father is Filipino, mother Mexican

Wallace

66

white

heterosexual

business owner

Walter

65

white

heterosexual

mathematician

Warren

60

white

heterosexual

theatre director

Will

30

Filipino

heterosexual

retail

Zachary

19

white/Jewish

heterosexual

student