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

Kyle deCamp

Committee Member

Laurie Abramson


A ‘dansical’ is defined as a “musical theatre form which is entirely or mostly danced” (Steihl 1). This term was first introduced into the artistic vernacular by Clive Barnes in a 2004 Dance Magazine article referring to theatrical creations that blur the lines between concert dance and traditional story-based musicals. Dansicals place the choreographer’s expression at the forefront of the creative product. As a musical theatre dance professional who has straddled the worlds of concert dance and show dance, I am fascinated by the storytelling capabilities of the dansical. My thesis work is inspired by Contact, the musical directed, choreographed, and created by Susan Stroman and aims to take the dansical to the digital stage culminating in a ‘dansical film.’

Exploring the concept of isolation and its impact, Isolation, a dansical film, is a trilogy of dance films exploring different aspects of feeling alone and alienated. Each of the three dance films can stand independently but tells a more complete autobiographical journey when viewed in series. The three films utilize different structures, collaborations, and components commonly found in musical theatre composition. In Part One, I collaborated with Rob Watson on script writing and character development. Michelle Chin and I collaborated on Part Two on the creation of a soundscape using tap dance and found sounds. For Part Three, Hunter Hazelton and I collaborated to write the poetry/spoken word that serves as the inner monologue and narration of the student dancers.

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