Drume Mi Negrita : A Choreographic Spiritual Journey of the Goddess Yemaya

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

Christian von Howard

Committee Member

Neil Baldwin

Committee Member

Martha Eddy


This thesis project investigates the importance of how Yemaya, one of the Goddesses of the Yoruba religion, exists in the paradigms of music, dance, religion and everyday life. In the Yoruba religion, the Orisha/ Goddesses stories coincide with human existence. These stories, known as Patakinis, parallel people’s lives. In my life, family members always told me that my personality reminded them of Yemaya’s characteristics. At a young age I watched my grandmother pray to Yemaya and honor the Yoruba religion. My grandmother’s beliefs inspired my current exploration. Spirituality through time and space in the Yoruba religion is the impetus behind my thesis performance. My movements are inspired by prehistoric memories and experiences that have been passed down through generations and that live in my blood. The sun that shines represents the smiles of the deity Oshun; the thunder that strikes represents the deity Chango; and the water that flows in our bodies is Yemaya. These deities are part of the mythological pantheon that exist in the Yoruba religion. The written portion of this thesis project details my perspective on Afro-Cuban folkloric traditions that supported and provided context for my thesis performance.


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


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