Soviet Bodies in Canadian Dancesport: Cultural Identities, Embodied Politics, and Performances of Resistance in Three Canadian Ballroom Dance Studios
MetadataShow full item record
This research examines the effect of Soviet Union era indoctrination on dance pedagogy and performance at DanceSport studios run by Soviet migrants in Canada. I investigate the processes of cultural cross-pollination within this population through an analysis of first and second generation Soviet-Canadian ballroom dancers experiences with cultural identity within the dance milieu. My study is guided by questions such as: What are the differences in the relationship between national politics and dance in the Soviet Union and Canada? How have Soviet migrant dancers adapted to the Canadian socio-economic context? And, how did these cultural shifts affect the teaching and performances of these dancers? My positionality as a former Soviet citizen and a ballroom dancer facilitates my understanding of the intricacies of this community and affords me unique entry into their world. To contextualize this study, I conducted an extensive literature review dealing with Soviet physical education, diasporic identities, and embodied politics. I then carried out qualitative interviews and class observation of Soviet- Canadian competitive ballroom dancers at three studios in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. The research conducted for this dissertation revealed various cultural adaptation strategies applied by these dancers, resulting in the development of dual identities combining characteristics from both Soviet and Canadian cultures. My analysis of the data contributes original information to the fields of dance studies and pedagogy, migration studies, and cultural studies. The results of this study can act as a guide in the development of arts management, education, and cultural integration policies in Canada, fostering a creative dialogue between dancers, academics, and policy makers.