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

Description

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

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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Orange is my Favorite Color: An Autoethnographic Account of a Volunteer Educator in the American Prison System

Description

The United States of America incarcerates more people than any other country in the world, with the rate of growth for the imprisonment for women being currently twice that of men. Despite these alarming numbers women are often deemed the

The United States of America incarcerates more people than any other country in the world, with the rate of growth for the imprisonment for women being currently twice that of men. Despite these alarming numbers women are often deemed the forgotten population within the carceral system. Using feminist inquiry within an interpretivist framework, I employ an autoethnographic account to examine my experience as a volunteer educator within the American Prison system. The 'data' within the autoethnography include my thoughts, eventualities, and reflections that are analyzed through an iterative cycle. Due to the creative nature of this thesis, 'data' are represented through a series of concepts, including art, photographs, and shifting narratives that mediate the language between theory and the lived experiences of incarcerated women. The data within this thesis however are not mine alone, they are cogenerated with the women of the Perryville Correctional Facility. Using feminist-based practices the representations of incarcerated women come from the women themselves , thus serving as a method of survival, as a form of activism, and as a tool of healing and justice that is not linked to reform. This thesis serves to simultaneously challenge and contribute to the traditional scholarship surrounding female incarceration by centering the voices of incarcerated women, and in turn serving as a form of liberatory action.

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Date Created
2020