The cultural production of 19th and early 20th century Spain is obsessed with dancers, singers, and other female performers. In Spanish fiction, poems, (auto)biographical writings, and plays produced between 1845 and 1936 by both male and female authors, numerous often very talented women sing, dance, and act. In her presentation, Versteeg will discuss some of the interconnected discourses that are projected on the bodies of these female performers, such as gender ideology and ideas about feminine self-realization and women’s participation in celebrity culture.
Female performance is also a crucible for a whole range of larger questions raised by the processes of social and cultural change that we associate with modernity. These concerns are related to art and commerce, body, and nation, to mention only a few. And that’s not surprising: female performers catered to an emerging mass culture market, developed marketing strategies, and they used their bodies to negotiate ethnic, racial, and national identities as they participated in modernity’s mobility and circulated in transnational networks.