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Breaking, Ballet, and the Representation of Race and Gender

(p.164) 4 Flashdance
Hip Hop on Film
Kimberley Monteyne
University Press of Mississippi

The last chapter focuses on breakdance—an inner-city dance practice originating in the 1970s that was an integral part of hip hop culture—in both film and print. It offers a history of the dynamic relation between ballet and breakdance, drawing on popular magazines, academic and professional journals, newspapers, and film of the 1980s. Contrary to popular opinion, this research shows that breakdancing in the early 1980s was practiced by women and girls. Moreover,the female breaker used the dance form in a critical manner, which negated the marginalization of women in certain avenues of hip hop culture. Female dancers flirted with breakdance on screen as well, and the chapter explains how institutional dance figured prominently inhip hop musical films of the era, as well as in the sleeper-hit Flashdance.

Keywords:   Breakdance, ballet, gender, Flashdance, institutional dance

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