Coming Out : An Exploration of Fassinger’s Model of Sexual Identity Through Jazz Dance

Date of Award


Document Type

MSU-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


College of the Arts


Theatre and Dance

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Elizabeth McPherson

Committee Member

Allen Maniker

Committee Member

Claire Porter


Members of the LGBTQ+ community go through an internal process by which they come to terms with their sexual identity. Ruth Fassinger presents a model comprised of four stages by which queer individuals experience this revelation. My thesis aims to document this journey through jazz dance and based on my own personal experiences as a queer person. In creating this project, I employed my knowledge of jazz dance, its history and evolution, music and color theories, and I took inspiration from the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. In this written thesis, I document the steps of the creative process that includes not only the methodology and research behind the project, but my personal perspective and how those ties contributed to the overall outcome of the presentation.


The performance video is restricted to the Montclair State University community but the PDF file of the thesis, which is located at the bottom of the screen, is available to anyone interested in reading it.

File Format


McCarthy, Michael_Redacted.pdf (555 kB)
PDF file of written thesis

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