n this article, two contrasting dance cultures, available to girls between the ages of 2 and 6 years old who are developing an interest in dance, will be described and analysed using an ethnographic approach. Case study material, based on observation and interviews, will form the basis of the paper. Analysis will be in the context of previous feminist research on gender and dance, usually conducted with adolescents. Firstly, the traditional dancing school route will be focussed on, with its competitive ethos and predominant emphasis on ballet. In contrast, the alternative culture of creative dance classes, encouraging spontaneity and free expression will be explored. Interviews will be carried out with young girls who have recently started one of these types of dancing, as well as with their parents, to explore attitudes, feelings, and aspirations. Observations of classes and dance performances will also be used to supplement the interview material
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