Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts in Dance (MFA)

Department

Dance

Advisor

Kevin Warner

Graduate Program Director

Mariah Maloney

Abstract

The context of this work explores black female iconography from the African Diaspora including Oshún, Xica da Silva, and the Deusa de Ebano. These representations of black female dancing bodies are integrated into images of nationalist expressions in Brazil, Cuba and Nigeria. Oshún, the Yoruba deity from Nigeria and Benin represents ultimate femininity from the African perspective. Xica da Silva was an Afro-Brazilian slave who became the richest woman in Minas Gerais through her romantic union with João Fernandez. The Deusa de Ebano, or ebony goddess, becomes the symbol of blocos afros during the yearly celebration of Carnaval in Salvador, Brazil.