Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts in Dance (MFA)
Dr. Dena Levy
Graduate Program Director
Choreography influences theoretical research and theoretical research influences choreography. In the past, bodies have served as vehicles for protest and have been equipped with training, plans, and choreographic tactics used to carry out movements aimed toward revolution. It is these bodies in space at a lunch counter, at a sit-in, at a march, and on a street which possess the ability to influence a revolt just as the body on a proscenium stage can influence a visceral reaction from the audience members toward taking action. My research as a choreographer is directly influenced by my interest in demonstrations and protests, from the past to the present, and how they are in fact an extension of dance through their own use of choreography. My objective as a choreographer is to present how more traditional forms of dance choreography can be an extension of protest. In the piece of choreography Buckworld One, choreographer Carrie Mikuls, takes the dance form of krumping to the concert stage. Dr. Megan Ann Todd, Independent Scholar and adjunct professor of Dance at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona, states this about the work,
"These moments in performance are exactly how and why art and performance can and do change lives. They bring the audience into presence, into the present… These moments in performance act as a catalyst for social justice inciting visceral and emotional responses, critical thought, discussion and a deep sense of accountability that begins in the space of the theatre and reaches beyond."[i]
Dr. Todd’s words succinctly encapsulate the impetus of what motivates me to create choreography. Whether an audience member understands all of the crafted nuances or not, of the dance work being witnessed, seeing bodies dance can cause a visceral reaction to make audience members move.
[i]Todd, Megan Anne “Aesthetic Foundations & Activist Strategies of Intervention in Rickerby Hinds’ Buckworld One.” The Journal of Pan African Studies 4.06 (2011): 164. Web.
Mahon, Caitlin E., "Peaceful Embodiment: Not Merely Tranquil In Nature" (2017). Dance Master’s Theses. 21.