Marianne Clark is a member of the Body, Movement and Culture Research Group in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation. She is a doctoral student in the area of socio-cultural studies of sport and exercise at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on young girls’ experiences of dance. Her project is focused in the Place, Belonging, and Otherness Research Theme.

The dance studio as a site of self construction: Understanding how girls who dance in commercial dance studios construct the self through the dancing body.

Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation

This research project examines a unique socio-cultural space: the dance studio. The commercial dance studio is an important space in which young girls come to know and understand themselves in relation to the world around them. The dance studio is embedded in a complex socio-historical and cultural context, which shapes young dancers' meaning making experiences. Within this space I am looking at the intersections of pedagogy, art, and the moving body to understand how girls who dance in these spaces understand and know themselves in relation to the broader social context in which they live. I am interested in how the moving body is shaped by and also shapes the discourses of femininity and aesthetics that circulate in a dance studio. As Merleau-Ponty believes, our body is the medium through which we understand the work. Therefore, I wonder, how through particular practices of dance, in a particular setting, do young girls who dance understand who they are? The theoretical framework of Michel Foucault will guide this study, particularly his concepts of self, body, and knowledge.