Award Name

Sophomore Award Winner

Author Information

Calder HollondFollow

Award Date



As a representation of nation and culture, traditional dances provide a uniquely rehearsed performance of ideal values in a certain society. Using a framework of gender performativity theory, this paper analyzes how the Argentinian tango and Soviet state-sponsored traditional dance companies perform gender in a highly intentional, highly visible manner that is reflective of how gender is perceived in those societies. A historical analysis of both nations, touching on the Bolshevik government’s relation to women and Latin American machismo, provides a background for understanding how gender is constructed in each society, while a formal analysis of dance elements such as music, movement, and costuming explores how those gender constructions are reiterated and reinforced in performance. Using Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity, this paper analyzes how both Bolshevism in the Soviet Union and Latin American machismo, or hegemonic masculinity, played a role in how these dances were performed, what the possibilities are for subverting these normative performances, and how themes of heteropatriarchy look different but are ultimately still present in two very different dance forms, halfway across the globe from each other, created for different purposes and in different time periods.

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