What a Beard Can Do: Performative Frames and Public Tastes


  • Magali Sizorn University of Rouen


Drawing on data gathered through a survey conducted with the audiences of the pluridisciplinary performing arts festival Automne en Normandie, this article describes how the experiences of the festival’s audiences were linked to their perceptions about fellow audience members. I analyze the programming practices of the festival through the perceptions of its audiences, specifically through the oppositions and comparisons used by the participants in the survey. In the data collected, Angelin Preljocaj’s contemporary dance performance Snow White emerges in opposition to the circus performance L’Éloge du poil by Jeanne Mordoj and Pierre Meunier. In the latter, Jeanne Mordoj, a bearded woman, revives a nineteenth-century fairground aesthetic and its universe of freaks to trouble ideas about the exhibition of difference and womanhood. The show excavates a history of the spectacularization of the other, and of devices that prompt a reflexive engagement on the part of the spectator. The representation of identities and bodies in my selected performances and the comments made by the spectators surveyed will serve as my primary analytical tools in this sociological study of taste.  

Author Biography

Magali Sizorn, University of Rouen

Ethno-sociologist and lecturer at the University of Rouen, Magali Sizorn researches the circus, dance, and street arts. She is particularly interested in the transformations of artistic activities over time, and in popular cultural practices, which she analyzes by studying audience reception.






Location, Locatedness, and Mobility (Section Editor: L. Patrick Leroux, Concordia University)