Curtain Up

July 26, 2007

We usually try not to notice how sexy dancing can be.  We concentrate on the artistry, the virtuosity, the theatrical impact. But dance is about human bodies, and that inevitably includes sexuality.


As dancers spending time slipping and sliding around each other in the studio, sexuality can enter our lives at any point—deliciously so, or painfully so. It can be confusing to sort out what kind of affectionate interaction can blossom into an affair and what kind holds steady as camaraderie. A sexual entanglement within a dance company can quickly become an emotional mess. In “About Last Night,” Nancy Alfaro interviews dancers and artistic directors who have been around the block and can talk about this touchy topic quite sensibly.

It’s not a secret that many men in dance are gay. Perhaps the dance field welcomes gay people more than other professions. Perhaps there is something in the aesthetics and freedom of dance that attracts them. For whatever reason, it’s one of the interesting things about our community. In  “Gay Men and Dance: What’s the Connection?” Joseph Carman asks several thoughtful dancers to reflect on why they think that is.

In the last few years of visiting downtown haunts, I’ve had the thought, “Why can’t anyone keep their clothes on?” It has become almost de rigueur for the young and edgy to dance nude. So we asked one downtown choreographer, David Parker (who usually managed to keep his clothes on while performing), to write about this trend from his own delightfully eccentric and highly imaginative point of view.

Like all trends, this one has roots in dance history. So we thought it would be fun to look back on some of the sexy moments in the last century—not nudity per se— that brought on a buzz. Take a look at “They Did What?! Outrageous Moments in Dance History,” written by our new assistant editor, Emily Macel.

When choosing “Sex and Dance” as our theme this month, we thought we were really stepping out, flashing a bit of editorial skin, as it were. But recently, while browsing through our archives, I discovered a cover line in the October 1946 issue that said, “Sex and the Dance.” So perhaps we can say about journalism what Twyla Tharp once said about choreography: There is nothing new under the sun.
Wendy Perron
Editor in Chief