Dance Music Spaces examines the production of physical and digital spaces in dance music, and how the players—clubs, clubbers, and DJs—use authenticity, branding, and commercialism to navigate them. An in-depth study into three women DJs—The Blessed Madonna, Honey Dijon, and Peggy Gou—reveals a new concept, “authenticity maneuvering.” In it Danielle Hidalgo exposes how the strategic use of a rave ethos both bolsters acceptance in dance music spaces and hides often problematic commercial practices. This timely, thoughtful, and deeply personal book presents a compelling analysis of the complicated interplay between dancing bodies, digital practices, and spatial offerings in contemporary dance music.
Danielle Antoinette Hidalgo is associate professor of sociology at California State University, Chico.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
Introduction “This Must Be the Place”: Making Sense of Dance Music Today
Chapter 1: Experiencing Bliss: Spaces of Respite, Release and Transcendence in Dance Music
Chapter 2: The Blessed Madonna, Honey Dijon, and Peggy Gou: Different Kinds of DJs
Chapter 3: Contemporary Dance Music Spaces and Their Dance Floors: A Snapshot
Chapter 4: “We Still Believe. Do You?”: Navigating and Challenging the Business of Contemporary Dance Music
Conclusion: Future Possibilities for Dance Music: “Never for Money, Always for Love” and Other Challenges
About the Author
Methodologically innovative and theoretically nuanced, this ethnographic project illustrates the ways in which notions of authenticity are undermined by commodifying tendencies. As Hidalgo shows us, authenticity and commodification are dialectical processes enmeshed in the lived experiences and practices of those studied. While most studies of electronic dance music focus on the celebratory aspects, this book examines both the structure and the lived experience of those who participate in this youth phenomenon turned into commodified culture industry. More importantly, this piece adds a refreshingly feminist perspective within a field of study dominated by male writers and subjects.
Hidalgo’s book takes us on a journey through house music that seamlessly weaves together her own experiences and academic theorizing. She builds on earlier work about club cultures, femininities, and masculinities and develops a contemporary take on house music cultures. While her own love of music and dancing is evident in Dance Music Spaces, she unflinchingly engages with critiques of house music culture and commercialization, critically exploring the ‘authenticity maneuvering’ practices of the three women DJs that feature most heavily in her account. Hidalgo’s critical exploration of the effects of technology and commercialization on the spaces and places of house music and the meticulous (re)construction of the lives, philosophies, and branding of her central characters makes for a fascinating and compelling read.
This is a marvelous, rich autoethnography of dance and club culture across a range of cities with a focus on the working lives of three prominent women DJs. The research conjures the importance of atmosphere and the pleasures of togetherness in music. The book also makes the case for the political and social value of dance culture while attending to changes in the landscape with a focus on safety and anti-harassment measures.