Examine the role of dancing as a part of the agency embodied by the female characters in  Saturday Night Fever and Flashdance?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The original question had to be edited down.  I think that the notion of agency for the women main characters is shown differently in both films.  This might be due to the time.  Stephanie is a woman emerging to the notion of embracing her own sense of agency, while  Alex is a bit more advanced in terms of socially understanding her own autonomy and sense of identity.  Dancing is shown to be different in both characters' pursuit of agency.  For Stephanie, dancing is a hobby, something to do on Saturday night away from her job in Manhattan during the week.  For Alex, dancing is her identity.  Her jobs are temporary respite from her love of dancing.  It is here in which dancing occupies a different role in each character's embrace of autonomy.  What might also help to indicate this is that dancing is seen differently in terms of the need of male companionship.  For Stephanie, her pursuit of dancing is always with the male "other."  Associates or men from work that can help her career or in the form of  Tony, himself are her dance partners.  Even when she dances alone, it is only temporary as the presence of the male other is always present.  For Alex, dancing is solitary, reflecting a difference in how dancing is used to achieve her sense of agency.  Alex dances alone and get angry when Nick tries to help her get the audition.  Dancing is solitary for Alex, helping to enhance the idea that dancing is something more strongly associated with a sense of agency for her than it is for Stephanie.