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Gender and Sexuality in the Polska: Swedish Couple Dancing and the Challenge of Egalitarian Flirtation


In the world of Swedish polska dancing, the move toward gender-neutral pedagogy has challenged the established gender hierarchies of the social dance scene. The best dancers are now trained in all possible couple configurations, and serve as models for the rest of the floor. Traditional gender relations tend to reassert themselves, however, when people use the dance to flirt. Men remain the overt agents of seduction, and women accept or reject their advances. I argue that for an egalitarian vision of the dance to become reality, everyone must have equal access to all techniques of flirtation and rejection. Gender-neutral pedagogy has given people the necessary tools, but progress has been slowed by broader social taboos on female sexual desire.

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