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Reclamation: A movement-based exploration of the individual and collective narrative of apology in women

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Personal experiences with body image dysmorphia and an eating disorder necessitated that I do a thorough investigation into why they happened and why I felt this way about my body.

Personal experiences with body image dysmorphia and an eating disorder necessitated that I do a thorough investigation into why they happened and why I felt this way about my body. For this project, not only was I motivated by my own struggles, but I noticed that these experiences were shared among my family, my friends, and my fellow peers in the dance community. We had been struggling since childhood. I began to realize that these behaviors and thought patterns were manifestations of apology, an apology that women have been learning, living, and spreading since our beginnings. Why do women apologize? How does this apology affect how we view, treat, and navigate our bodies in space? In what ways can dance be the mechanism by which we remove apology and individually and collectively find joy, freedom, and liberation? Not only was I interested in understanding the ‘why’, but I was deeply interested in finding a solution. Research for this thesis came from written materials, stories that the dancers and I shared, and choreographic research in the body. The final goal was to create a community-based performance of dance, spoken word, and storytelling that demonstrated the findings from each of those questions and catalyzed a conversation about how we can liberate ourselves. We used rehearsals to explore our own experiences within apology and shame, while also exploring how the ways in which we practice being unapologetic in the dance space can translate to how we move through the world on a daily basis.

Through a deep analysis and application of Sonya Renee Taylor’s book The Body Is Not An Apology, I discovered that apology is learned. We learn how to apologize through body shame, the media, family/generational trauma, and government/law/policy. This apology is embodied through gestures, movement patterns, and postures, such as bowing the head, hunching the shoulders, and walking around others. Apology causes us to view our bodies as things to be manipulated, discarded, and embarrassed by. After recognizing why we apologize and how it affects our bodies, we can then begin to think of how to remove it. Because the body the site of the problem, it is also the site of the solution. Dance gives us an opportunity to deeply learn our bodies, to cultivate their power, and to heal from their traumas. By being together in community as women, we are able to feel seen and supported as we work through uncharted territory of being free from apology in these bodies. By dancing in ways that allow us to take up space, to be free, to be unapologetic, we use dance as a practice for life. Through transforming ourselves, we begin to transform the world and rewrite the narrative of how we exist in and move through our bodies as women.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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MOVE

Description

MOVE was a choreographic project that investigated content in conjunction with the creative process. The yearlong collaborative creative process utilized improvisational and compositional experiments to research the movement potential of

MOVE was a choreographic project that investigated content in conjunction with the creative process. The yearlong collaborative creative process utilized improvisational and compositional experiments to research the movement potential of the human body, as well as movement's ability to be an emotional catalyst. Multiple showings were held to receive feedback from a variety of viewers. Production elements were designed in conjunction with the development of the evening-length dance work. As a result of discussion and research, several process-revealing sections were created to provide clear relationships between pedestrian/daily functional movement and technical movement. Each section within MOVE addressed movement as an emotional catalyst, resulting in a variety of emotional textures. The sections were placed in a non-linear structure in order for the audience to have the space to create their own connections between concepts. Community was developed in rehearsal via touch/weight sharing, and translated to the performance of MOVE via a communal, instinctive approach to the performance of the work. Community was also created between the movers and the audience via the design of the performance space. The production elements all revolved around the human body, and offered different viewpoints into various body parts. The choreographer, designers, and movers all participated in the creation of the production elements, resulting in a clear understanding of MOVE by the entire community involved. The overall creation, presentation, and reflection of MOVE was a view into the choreographer's growth as a dance artist, and her values of people and movement.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013