Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts in Dance (MFA)




Maura Keefe

Graduate Program Director

Karl Rogers


This research analyzes the standardized regimens of bodily training characteristic of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union and dance in general. Not only were the movements of daily life such as gesture choreographed within these contexts, but also the dance scene at large was highly designed to represent the political ideals of the government. Through analysis of gesture, marching parades and mass movement choirs in Nazi Germany combined with discussion of censorship and artistic repossession in Soviet ballet, themes of conformity and individuality are extrapolated to trends in movement culture in the United States today.

This is a study of bodies, not much different than our own—these bodies once moved through contexts we never will fully get to embody ourselves, but through looking at what physical movements defined their experiences, we can begin to grasp a better understanding of the history they moved through. Looking at history from the lens of movement and dance opens up a wider knowledge of the world we live in today. Dance inherently puts meaning into motion, and this written research puts physical motion into meaning. Your body is a sponge, absorbing the geopolitical climate you move through, and as you dance through life, consider the context and how it is leaving its inevitable mark on you.