Danny Lyon

Lyon1983_125_13.jpg

Clearing land, Ellis Unit, Texas, 1967/69, from the portfolio Conversations with the Dead (1983)…. By Danny Lyon

Field Work

General Survey

Disclaimer:  This questionnaire is designed for research purposes only. It aids in supporting data collected in the field of Visual Sociology.  All responses are confidential and anonymous. If there is any question you are uncomfortable answering, please feel free to skip it.

Sex: (Please check one)

  • MALE
  • FEMALE
  • OTHER _________

Age: _______

Race/ Ethnicity:  _________________

Religion: _________________

Have you ever seen a male performer? (Please Check One)

  • YES
  • NO

If yes, how would you describe male performers?

 

In a few words, please describe the ideal male performer’s body.

 

 

What do you feel male performers contribute to the dance community?

In a few words, please describe the ideal female performer’s body.

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR DANCERS-Female Dancers

Disclaimer:  Your responses contribute to data collected in the field of Visual Sociology.  All responses are confidential and anonymous at the participant’s request.  If there are any questions you are uncomfortable answering, please let us know and it will be negated.

If you don’t mind, please tell us your age.

How long have you been involved with the dance community?

Have male performers been a big contributor to performances? If so, how do you feel about that?

From your experience, how are male dancers portrayed in society?

Do you believe there is an “ideal” body type for male dancers? If so, please elaborate as to what body type is ideal.

Do you believe there is an “ideal” body type for female dancers? If so, please elaborate as to what body type is ideal.

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR DANCERS-Male Dancers

If you don’t mind, please tell us your age.

How long have you been involved with the dance community?

As a male performer, how do you feel you are perceived by society?

As a male performer, how do you perceive yourself? You can even draw on how you perceived male performers before you became one.

Do you believe there is an “ideal” body type for male performers? If so, please elaborate as to what body type is ideal.

Do you believe there is an “ideal” body type for female performers? If so, please elaborate as to what body type is ideal.

Photo Elicitation:

Disclaimer:  Your responses contribute to data collected in the field of Visual Sociology.  All responses are confidential and anonymous at the participant’s request.  If there are any questions you are uncomfortable answering, please let us know and it will be negated.

What is your age?

What is your race/nationality?

How does this video make you feel?

Body Type
My QC Qayamat Girlsz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXYJ1yA8CVQ

In your opinion, which one of these dancers have the “ideal” body type?

Why did you choose that girl and not one of the others? What seems to be “wrong” with the others?

Male
Male Belly Dancer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGkZFSUZWro

What are your thoughts on male performers when watching this video?

As opposed to male performers when watching this video,
Natraj Seniors "Battle Song"

http://www.youtube.com/user/artee88#p/u/3/3qNFlhjTNX4

My QC Qayamat Girls is credited to Bianca Erriah

Male Belly Dancer was posted on YouTube by Trinijo19

Natraj Seniors- Battle Song on Youtube by Artee88

The Yes Men

The main goal of the Yes Men is to publicly expose major corporations and organizations whose main interest is solely personal gain.  The ways in which the Yes Men strive to accomplish their goals are by posing as corporate officials, leaders, and spokespersons. In order to gain recognition, they make up phony websites about issues that grasp the public’s attention and interest. The public is not aware of their “scams” and welcome them to various conferences and meetings where their intentions are to embarrass corporations.  The Yes Men consist of Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno. We are not sure as to who can join, but we assume that anyone and everyone in opposition to the power of large corporations are eligible for membership. These candidates have to be willing to go through the often “illegal” motions of the act. In order to be effective, the stunts must be completed thoroughly and efficiently. Their organization stems from their passion for what they do. We are sure that the decisions to act are team based efforts in which they consent on how far they are willing to go with the activity.  They are men who “can’t take no for an answer”.  The Yes Men are political activists who stir up debates about current issues through their humiliating actions.  We think that it is great that there are people brave enough in the world to stand up to major corporations and speak their mind using a non-violent approach.  Through their skits and scams, they give voices to millions of Americans and speak for those who do not have the courage to offer their opinions.

We have decided that we would not join The Yes Men because we represent the people they speak for.  We would not be able to humiliate giant corporations and give them a piece of our mind.  We would not be able to successfully follow through with the demands and daunting tasks of The Yes Men.  If we were more daring and bold, this would be an amazing group to join, but seeing that we are timid individuals, we do not fit the job description.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyopwQXGu24

Associated Press is credited with posting this video on YouTube

Getting Serious

Shay, Anthony. “The Male Dancer in the Middle East and Central Asia.” Dance Research Journal 38.1/2 (2006): 137-162. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 12 April 12, 2010

I found this article quite interesting because it touched upon all the points that Christine and I would like to touch upon on our presentations. Prior to this class, I had found a video on Youtube of Trinidadian Dance Contestant. He was auditioning with a belly-dancing piece, something we do not see on a regular basis. In this journal, Shay wants to challenge the stereotypes that male belly dancers are homosexual. “Rather, I attempt to recuperate solo improvised dance as a genre that is danced by everyone in a variety of performances, amateur and professional, by boys and girls, women and men.” (Shay 138).  This article also touches on the body image aspect of our research project. Shay writes, “The presence of male dancers, professional and nonprofessional, in public and private space requires a (re)evaluation of the meaning of these male bodies: who they were, what they did, how they presented themselves, what they wore, who their audiences were, and what the prevailing attitudes toward them were.” All of these criteria is important information that is needed when making a decision about these men. One of the problems that we encounter in the Western world has to do with the way civilizations determine masculine and feminine behavior.

Macel, Emily. “the New Athletic Aesthetic.” Dance Magazine 82.7 (2008): 30-34. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 12 Apr. 2010.

This article discusses how dancers bodies are becoming more athletic rather than being stick skinny. The reason for this change in physique is because of a change in choreography and dance techniques. They have become more vigorous and require more training and practice. Dancing used to primarily focus on the legs and lower portion of the body, however, as times changes there are more and more women who are chiseled in their upper body as well. Li Chiao-Ping, a Professor of Dance at the Universiy of Wisconsin – Madison states, “Athleticism was prevailing in dance classes. A dancer as an athlete is something that’s becoming more of the norm.” A New York student of The Alley School expresses her feelings about her size by saying, “It’s not really about my size. I don’t have to be as thin as a rail. I just need to feel good about myself. I think that’s more of an inner connecting thing.”(Macel 2). This relates to our project because we would also like to see the shift of the “ideal” body types in the dance society. Has it changed? Or does it remain the same as it has been for centuries. We can see that times are changing because shows like Dancing With the Stars, America’s Best Dance Crew, and Dance Your A** Off have emerged and became very popular. For our project we would  like to get more into detail about these shows and the dance community in which we are involved with.

Methodology

We will go about our research via photo elicitation, participant observation (we will go to different dance shows and observe the audience’s reaction), as well as short questionnaires to get a general idea of how people feel about gender and body image in the dance community. We choose to use photo elicitation in order to provoke honest opinions about the dancers in specific video segments.  For example, we will show a clip of a male belly dancer performing in a Trinidadian dance competition.  We will then ask the participant what he or she honestly thinks about the dancer. Therefore, the participant provides responses that may be shared amongst a community or society as a whole. Our targeted participants consist of males, females, adolescents, elders, and people of all races/nationalities. This method contributes to overall perceptions of male dancers. We will also show photos of dancers of different sizes (body type) in order to obtain conclusions about what body type is acceptable in society. Being that Bianca and I are involved in a dance group of our own, we will successfully be participant observers.  We will try and step out of our comfort zone, in order to critically analyze the dance population. It would not be difficult for us to become one with the group and live like they do, but problems may occur in the biases that we may create.  We are also thinking of eliminating that problem by “joining” another dance group that we have access to. Participant observation is our method of choice in order to support our research. Lastly, we opt to use short questionnaires.  These questionnaires will ask various questions about acceptability in dance culture and will advance our researcher to a stronger level.

Ethical Considerations

Our project involves the extended Indian dance community. Being that we are familiar with several dance teams, we will inform them of our study.  Given their permission, we will record pictures and videos of them in action.  We will obtain verbal permission as well get permission on video. We will then ask them if it is possible to republish their work for class purposes and research purposes as well.  By research purposes, we mean that we will ask them if we can use their photos or film to stimulate conversations and information among participants in our study. The surveys will be strictly anonymous and we will add disclaimers to the survey informing them of our research purposes.  At the dance shows we will be attending, we hope to ask some of the audience about their personal opinion on what they feel the ideal dancer looks like. We will then ask verbal permission to publish their opinion in our report.

Response to Readings

One of the concerns I had when reading Schwartz readings was the complications he had with the participants. I spent a lot of time on this because I tried to relate it to our class project. He came across participants that wanted to participate , some that were skeptical about his research, and also some that didn’t want to participate at all. We also see that body image plays an important role in this. When he walked in with his camera bag and everything he must have looked intimidating to the other people in the room. The degrees of trust that varied was important too

Ethical Considerations For Final Project

Our project involves specifically the Indian dance community. Being that we are familiar with several dance teams, we will inform them of our study.  Given their permission, we will record pictures and videos of them in action. We will ask them if it is possible to republish their work for class purposes and research purposes as well.  By research purposes, we mean that we will ask them if we can use their photos or film to stimulate conversations and information among participants in our study. We are still considering whether we will use surveys to obtain information, but if we do, they will be strictly anonymous and we will add disclaimers to the survey informing them of our research purposes.  At the dance shows we will be attending, we hope to ask some of the audience about their personal opinion on what they feel the ideal dancer looks like. We will then ask permission to publish their opinion in our report.

Feel The Rhythm

I picked this picture because it shows the diversity of dance among the dance community. If you take a look at Christine’s blog entry you can see that there are three boys dancing with three girls and clearly have the “male” role. However this picture shows that the girls can also partake in the boys role, just as well as they can. The three girls are dressed as boys during the Hindu celebration of Holi, which is their celebration of the New Year. I had taken this picture at a fundraiser show they had performed at recently. They were “pretending” to be guys with their stance, facial expressions, and the hang gestures they were making.

http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=919097

This second picture was found on Flickr. It is named “Ramli & His Dancers”. You can clearly distinguish the male dancer from the female dancers and it looks like the male is leading and the female dancers are just following his moves. This can be taken into two ways. Which way we would like to take this project is debatable. But the first way would argue why the male is in the front and taking lead. The second debate would be the elegance of the women in the back complete the moves and make it whole; without them the dance would be incomplete. We would like to know how are men portrayed in the dance community and out. Are the more fully accepted by dance peers or less accepted? Does the outside community feel as if they “lost their masculinity”?

Updated Proposal

After careful deliberation, Christine and I decided that we will look at body image and gender among various dance groups. In researching body image, we hope to find out what society believes the ideal dancer looks like and moves like.  We also hope to discover how society views male dancers. We can then obtain a generalizable response about what is acceptable and what is not in the dance community.

We will go about this task via photo elicitation, participant observation (we will go to different dance shows and observe the audience’s reaction and listen in to side conversations), as well as short questionnaires to get a general idea of how people feel about gender and body image in the dance community. We have possible video ideas as well as photos for the elicitation portion of our project.  These videos are predominately south asian/caribbean segments.  We hope to obtain videos of other cultural dances too.

Mini Fieldwork Experience

Doing this in-class assignment was quite interesting. Interesting how you may ask…

I was the participant in the exercise of “Quality of QC dining facilities”. Picking the place to take Lorena was probably the easiest task for me because that is where I eat most the time. However I don’t always eat school food because would either bring lunch or get food from the Halal Carts around campus. School food is quite over priced and the food’s quality is not that great. So I felt we, as students, never get what we pay for. When asked the quality of the campus food I hesitated to answer but I have it a 6/7. Thinking back to it I would probably lower it to a 3/4 because I had pizza there yesterday and it wasn’t tasty AT ALL. If I’m paying $2.50, WITH TAX, for a slice of pizza I think it should have some type of taste to it. Food services also need to be improved because some of the staff are not friendly and when you ask them questions they look at you like you’re crazy when you are asking perfectly logical questions, such as, “What is this made of?” or simply “What is this?”

When I was the researcher I think the hardest thing was coming up with the questions. I started my research from a different aspect. I started by asking the participant what she felt was the nicest thing about the Queens College Campus. I found it funny because Lorena just started at QC and hasn’t become familiar with names like “The Quad” or “SU” and when I took her there for my participant part it was the first time she was in the Student Union Cafeteria. I then asked what she felt needed to be improved on campus it took a while to get an answer. So I then broke down the questions. I had asked whether she felt buildings needed to be improved. Razran had gotten the vote as “worst building” because it has no windows and the classrooms are small and the entire building is “dingy”. Then I asked whether security, bathrooms, lighting, etc should be improved. The bathrooms didn’t help in my research because the bathrooms I went in were actually clean when I went in so that didn’t help at the time.

If we had more time I would definitely try to get a better run around and try to get more picture to show things about the campus to help improve both the campus as well as the food. I guess it was somewhat difficult being that I don’t eat at school and Lorena doesn’t know school enough to know what she would like to improve. But at the same time I thought it was cool that we were both doing something we weren’t familiar with.

The high prices of school food

The garbage can in front on Powdermaker Hall

I thought this was funny. If input is put in, would they really change?

In Class Assignment

I am thinking about doing my final project on…the public’s view on body types. Shanna’s project made me want to see what people think the “ideal” body type is. In college, there’s so much diversity in cultures so does that change their perspective? Or do the people they hang out with influence them more than their own culture?

Possibly anorexia? What are the public’s view on that?

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