“If I Stop Dancing, I Lose Everything”

Thinking Social Mobility in Relation to the Vocation of Choreographic Artist
By Pierre-Emmanuel Sorignet


This paper draws on a long-term ethnographical survey with contemporary dancers, focusing particularly on repeat interviews with respondents, in some cases over about fifteen years; in other cases, various members of the dancers’ circle of acquaintances (parents, spouses, siblings, close friends) were interviewed. The paper considers the social conditions of possibility in the artistic calling of contemporary dancers of working-class origin. We examine the resources which underlie atypical social trajectories of mobility—all the more fragile for being reversible. We look in detail at the effects of ascending mobility on the evolution of relationships with the immediate family and close friends. We extend the analysis by considering the forms of politicization engendered by taking a job to which cultural capital is so central.
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