QUESTION: women choreographers established during the height of the US aids pandemic

question / pregunta: 

I am trying to find out if more women choreographers became established during the height of the US aids pandemic, roughly 1984-1996, then before or after. I came to ask this question because when looking for a topic to write a graduate application paper and read Judith Lynne Hanna's artice "Patterns of Dominance: Men, Women, and Homosexuality in Dance." in _Homosexuality and Homosexuals in the Arts_, Wayne Dynes, Stephen Donaldson, eds. Garland Publishing 1992 pp198-223. This paper described that while women make up the overwhelming majority of dancers, the upper levels of managers and choreographers and star dancers are generally males.

This led me to wonder, did this demographic breakdown shift during the early years of the AIDS?HIV pandemic? Unfortunately, all the works I've come across that deal with the topic of AIDS/HIV and dance are about gay men and the dance community's reaction to loosing so many of them.

I'm looking for sources where I can tease out the answer to this question, as well as if anyone else has addressed it. I'm using this for a graduate application that is due Janurary 15th.


Answer posted by:
jim miller

Proquest Genderwatch database gets 3 hits for the search: women choreographer*, including 'Women Dancers Don't Lead: Gender inequities inform world of dance' by Mayers, Dara. Women's Times. Great Barrington: Jul 31, 2001. Vol. 8, Iss. 10; p. 4 . The search: choreographer* and (hiv or aids) gets 84 hits, including that one, but no others that seem helpful.

In Women’s Studies International (Ebsco) the search: women choreographer* gets 36 hits, but nothing closer to this subject than a dissertation: "The Emerging Prominence of Women Choreographers in the American Musical Theatre: A History and Analysis", By: Graves, Kerry Lee. Dissertation Abstracts International. Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, April 2002, Vol. 62 Issue 10, p3241-3241, 231p. None of the 3 hits for: women and choreograph* and (hiv or aids) seem to relate the epidemic to trends in women as choreographers. In the Women and Contemporary Issues database, the 28 hits for: women and choreograph* and (hiv or aids) are similarly very unpromising.

Proquest Dissertations gets 3 hits for: women and choreograph* and (hiv or aids), including "Dancing up the broken ladder: The rise of the female director/choreographer in the American musical theatre"
by Lodge, Mary Jo Michelle, Ph.D., Bowling Green State University, 2001, 312 pages; AAT 3038417. The abstract mentions "...the breakdown of the Broadway "boy's club"" and "...the deaths of many male director/choreographers due to many factors, including the devastating AIDS crisis." If you are far from a university that has the full text online subscription to Proquest Dissertations, you would still have a fairly good chance of borrowing this dissertation on Interlibrary Loan. The search: women choreographer* gets 4 hits, including the dissertation found by the same search in Women’s Studies International, noted above, Emerging Prominence of Women Choreographers in the American Musical Theatre: A History and Analysis By: Graves, Kerry Lee. But its abstract doesn’t mention AIDS or HIV.

Web searches seem to suggest there is very little out there on this. Google gets 35 hits for: "women choreographers" hiv (including 2 from your question in Radical Reference!). The search: "women choreographers" aids (185 hits) looks pretty doubtful. Limiting it: "women choreographers" aids site:edu (40 hits) does not seem promising, even when using CTRL-F (find in page) to zero in on the words. Google Scholar gets 355 hits for: women choreographers hiv; but it might be wiser to first try the simple short phrase search: "women choreographers"(30 hits).

Finally, even newspapers seem to turn up very little: women choreographers and hiv gets 5 hits in the Full Text of Lexis Academic, "US Newspapers and Wires". Limiting to "headline, lead paragraph, indexing, all available dates", the broader search: women and choreographers and hiv gets 25 hits. So this does appear to be a subject that has not been explored very much. Most of what there is will need to be ordered on interlibrary loan, unless you are near a VERY big academic library. Those dissertations cost at least $29.00 if ordered from Proquest, so you would probably want to try ILL first, though they each are probably only at one library nationwide - at the university where they were done.