- Copyright Page
- Introduction: Competition Culture: Winning and Losing at Dance
- Taking the Cake: Black Dance, Competition, and Value
- You’ve Got to Sell It!: Performing on the Dance Competition Stage
- Competitive Capers: Gender, Gentility, and Dancing in Early Modern England
- Endangered Strangers: Tracking Competition in US Federal Dance Funding
- Marking Your Territory: The Struggle to Work in Flamenco
- Reappropriating Choreographies of Authenticity in Mexico: Competitions and the Dance of the Old Men
- Above and Beyond the Battle: Virtuosity and Collectivity within Televised Street Dance Crew Competitions
- Shifting Dynamics: <i>Sean Nós</i> Dancing, Vernacular Expression, and the Competitive Arena of the <i>Oireachtas</i>
- Visible Rhythms: Competition in English Tap Practice
- The International Dancehall Queen Competition: A Discursive Space for Competing Images of Femininity
- Congratulations, We Wish You Success: Competition and Community Participation in Romanian Dance Festivals
- Non-Competitive Body States: Corporeal Freedom and Innovation in Contemporary Dance
- Reclaiming Competitive Tango: The Rise of Argentina’s <i>Campeonato Mundial</i>
- Dance-Off, or a Battle for the Future: Dance Reality Shows in India
- Miss Exotic World: Judging the Neo-Burlesque Movement
- Rapper Dance Adjudication: Aesthetics, Discourse, and Decision-Making
- Dismantling the Genre: Reality Dance Competitions and Layers of Affective Intensification
- Why Are Breaking Battles Judged?: The Rise of International Competitions
- Not Another Don Quixote!: Negotiating China’s Position on the International Ballet Stage
- Dancing with the Asian American Stars: Margaret Cho and the Failure to Win
- Loss of Face: Intimidation, Derision, and Failure in the Hip-Hop Battle
- Making Play Work: Competition, Spectacle, and Intersubjectivity in Hybrid Martial Arts
- You Can’t Outdo Black People: <i>Soul Train</i>, Queer Witnessing, and Pleasurable Competition
- Freedom to Compete: Neoliberal Contradictions in Gaga Intensives
- “We’ll Rumble ’em Right”: Aggression and Play in the Dance-Offs of <i>West Side Story</i>
- Dancing like a Man: Competition and Gender in the New Orleans Second Line
- Man and Money Ready: Challenge Dancing in Antebellum America
- Afterword: Who Is Competing?
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines the divergent functions of the live martial arts practice of sparring, as combative activity, as competition, as play, and as intersubjective exchange. In this process, the chapter examines the multiple connotations of competition within the overlapping spheres of game and sport. Central to this inquiry are the differences between competitive pleasure and competitive spectacle. In line with sports sociologists and historians, this chapter maintains that sport emphasizes competitive spectacle and hinges on outcome—winning or losing—rather than highlighting the pleasure of competition, suggesting that attention to physical, contestatory, and exploratory interactions between people may offset a societal overemphasis on winning. An intentional reclaiming of amateurism, with its attention to experimentation, can also play a role, as can a reconsideration of the significance of failure.
Janet O’Shea is Professor of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at University of California, Los Angeles. She is author of At Home in the World: Bharata Natyam on the Global Stage (2007) and co-editor of the Routledge Dance Studies Reader (second edition, 2010). She is currently completing a manuscript entitled Risk, Failure, Play: What Martial Arts Training Reveals about Proficiency, Competition, and Cooperation.
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