Alone, Asian and Female: The Unspoken Challenges of Conducting Fieldwork in Dance Settings


  • Bina Bhardwa


hidden ethnography, emotions, reflexivity, lone research, bonding capital


This article explores the methodological and emotional challenges of conducting a multi-sited and multi-method ethnography in three diverse dance settings: sweaty dance clubs in the northwest of England, the muddy grounds of a festival site and the sands of Playa den Bossa, Ibiza. Despite overlapping academic and personal interests in these dance spaces, my connection to the field did not equip me for the fieldwork task. In plotting the transition from dance consumer to field researcher, I reflexively analyse how my personal anxieties about entering the field as a novice, lone female researcher have come to shape the research process. In addition to gender, the impact of less prominent facets of my identity, including my ethnicity and social class, are also considered. The article concludes by evaluating some of the retrospective advantages of entering the field as a lone researcher.